8 of my favourite books about the Lake District

A stack of Lake District booksI absolutely love books, and have collected quite a few about the Lake District over the years – especially while I’ve been writing the Lake District Gems blog!

There are a few titles that I return to time and time again for information, whether I’m looking for ideas, places to go, or just to seek out a curious fact. If you too like a good book, here are a few I can highly recommend:

1. The English Lakes: A History by Ian Thompson

The English Lakes by Ian Thompson
There’s lots of colour photography in the book, but I particularly love this old photo of a coach on the Windermere Ferry in days gone by

This is one of the first books I bought on starting the blog, and although it may sound a little heavy going from the title, it’s very well written and easy to dip in and out of. I’ve found myself reading whole chunks of it out in the garden when it’s been sunny (although it’s been a while since it was warm enough for that!). The author covers several periods of history, from the days when the Lake District was thought of as a scary and inhospitable landscape, to the eras of the first travellers, Lake Poets, walking and rock-climbing pioneers, and railways, and birth of the conservation movements.

2. I Never Knew That About the Lake District by Christopher Winn

I Never Knew That About the Lake District by Christopher WinnWell you do now!

Containing interesting facts and snippets listed by area, this is your perfect companion to refer to when you’ve been out for the day touring the Lakes. It particularly helps you to appreciate the history behind some of the places you’ve visited, and understand the significance of some of the area’s landmarks.

3. 50 Walks in the Lake District by the AA

50 Walks in the Lake District, AAOut of all the walking guides I own, I think this one is particularly well presented, with clear maps that make the routes contained in it easy to picture. It contains walks between 2-10 miles, so there’s something to challenge everyone.

4. Photographing the Lake District by Stuart Holmes

Photographing the Lake District by Stuart HolmesI reviewed this book last year, and I still think it’s every bit as good as I did then. I’ve become familiar with many great places that I wasn’t aware of, and constantly find inspiration for places to seek out by revisiting it. Read the review here…

5. A Literary Guide to the Lake District by Grevel Lindop

A Literary Guide to the Lake Districtc by Grevel Lindop

I’ve only come across this book in a couple of shops, but it really appealed to me as soon as I saw it. The book is split into five parts, each following a linear route through the Lake District, and discussing the historic literary ties of houses, buildings and famous sites along the way. I haven’t read it from cover to cover, but like to revisit it on exploring parts of the Lake District that are new to me, or revisiting familiar spots.

6. An Atlas of The English Lakes by John Wilson Parker

An Atlas of The English Lakes by John Wilson ParkerThis book was published in 2002 primarily with canoeists in mind, but it’s so beautifully illustrated that it will appeal to lots of readers for various reasons. The diagrams explore the shorelines of each of the Lake District’s bodies of water, and are surrounded by useful and interesting facts and statistics. The pictures are a lovely way to better piece together your understanding of the landscape, especially where you can’t reach pieces of shoreline that are privately owned.

7. The Lake District Quiz Book by David Felton

The Lake District Quiz Book by David FeltonI reviewed this popular quiz book for the blog when it was launched in 2017. It really tests your knowledge of the Lakes and is a fun way of coming across new facts about the area you might not have previously come across. Great for holding a quiz evening when you’re on holiday! Read my review of The Lake District Quiz Book…

8. Lakes and Cumbria Today by Offshore Publications

Lakes & Cumbria Today magazineLakes and Cumbria Today is a cross between a magazine and a book, and is on sale in many newsagents and book stockists. It’s updated every few months, and I think contains a really good overview of many of the places you’d want to visit around the Lake District, especially if you don’t know the area well. At £2.95 I think it’s really good value too.

Do you have a favourite Lake District book that I haven’t mentioned here? If so, let me know and leave your recommendations for other readers by posting a comment below!


  1. These are by no means the only books I would recommend about the Lake District – they just happen to be amongst those I’ve referred to repeatedly in recent months. There are so many lovingly written and illustrated books out there, so I hope to feature some more in the future.

  2. Thanks for posting this Janine. I will investigate some of these books about the Lake District which is one of my favourite places to visit. One of the most enjoyable books about the region that I have read is The Shining Levels by John Wyatt.
    It’s his account of leaving his job in the city and getting a job as a forest worker in the Lake District. Published in 1973. “Going back to nature was never more vividly described” it says on the cover of my copy.

  3. Vivian Vallance

    Hi Janine, Does you knowledge of hidden gems, extend to recommendations for good family campsite to stay at in the Lake District please as we are thinking about a visit next summer with out tent? No electrical hook-up needed, but a decent shower and clean toilet facilities on the essential list. Plus a nice tranquil location. Thanks also for the book recommendations, they look interesting. Many thanks Vivian

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