Oct 25

3 places for autumn colour in south Lakeland

by in Accommodation, Cumbria, Outdoors

Autumn trees beside Tarn Hows Lake District - image zoedawes

Beside Tarn Hows

What’s your favourite time of year? Some love the tantalizing flirtatiousness of spring, others the voluptuousness of summer days and for some it’s the crisp, frosty cold of winter. For me it’s always been autumn, with its vibrant colour, abundant produce, luminous light and the surprise of warm sunshine in between the rain and mist. With the Lake District on my doorstep, I take every opportunity to go LEAF-PEEPING (yes, that’s what it’s called in North America). On a recent stay at Knipefold Barn, near Hawkshead, I had the chance to experience early autumn colour in the Lake District.

Lake District view from Knipefold Barn, Cumbria - - zoedawes

Lake District view from Knipefold Barn

For a couple of days I drove, walked and sailed (if you can call the Windermere Car Ferry sailing!) around some of the loveliest scenery in the south of Cumbria. Here are 3 of my favourite beauty spots within a relatively short distance of Knipefold, where you can easily find plenty of vivacious autumn colour

1.  Waterhead at Ambleside

Waterhead at Ambleside - autumn in the Lake District - image zoedawes

Waterhead at Ambleside

The view from the top of Windermere at Waterhead, near Ambleside is sublime any time of year, but in autumn those huge trees that line the road, turn every shade of the rainbow. Across the lake, towards Brathay, you can see more trees, pushing each other out of the way to show off their coats of many colours. It’s a very popular place to stop to enjoy the view. I was there over half-term and there were plenty of children paddling in the water plus a group of students learning how to canoe.

Windermere from Waterhead, Ambleside lake district - photo zoedawes

Windermere from Waterhead

Pop into one of the hotels on the shore for a meal or grab a hot drink from one of the cafes nearby. Walk along the road past the lake to find the rather uninspiring, but very important ruins of Galava Roman Fort.

2.  Tarn Hows 

Tarn Hows in early autumn, lake district - photo zoedawes

Tarn Hows in early autumn

One of the most popular autumn walks in the Lake District is round pretty Tarn Hows, between Hawkshead and Ambleside. Tarn Hows, originally 3 smaller tarns, is planted with a combination of fir trees and a wide variety of native English deciduous trees, giving it some of the best autumn colour in October and November. You can walk either clockwise past Tom Gill Waterfalls or anti-clockwise, which is the way I always go. A herd of Belted Galloways was grazing quietly beside the water, their munching adding a quiet counterpoint to the bird-song and rustling of leaves. When the sun came out it seemed to set the trees on fire …

Autumn colour at Tarn Hows in autumn Lake District - image zoedawes

Tarn Hows in autumn sun

The circular route is suitable for all access with relatively small inclines. You can borrow a Tramper from the National Trust office in the car park if they are open.

3.  Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station Windermere west shore Lake District - image zoedawes

Claife Viewing Station

This new addition the Lake District attractions, is a brilliant place to view autumn colour all around Windermere. Claife Viewing Station, built in the 1790s, was designed to showcase the glorious views of the lake from its west shore and the surrounding countryside, using tinted windows to ‘enhance’ the experience. ‘Yellow created a summer landscape, orange an autumn one, light green for spring, dark blue for moonlight …’ The National Trust has restored the ruins and visitors can now experience this unique place for free all year round. It was a real pleasure to gaze out across the lake, admire the the trees turning colour and feel a part of local history.

Claife Viewing Station windows over Windermere - image zoedawes

Claife Viewing Station windows over Windermere

I had a tasty Cumberland Sausage and Appleby Cheese toasted brioche at the Cafe in the Courtyard and walked down the path to the little bay near the quaint car ferry. Leaves twirled down to carpet the ground in gold, yachts slooped gently on the lake and a pair of swans drifted by …

Knipefold Barn

Knipefold Barn from the garden

Knipefold Barn from the garden

There are barn conversions, and then there is Knipefold Barn, one of The Good Life Cottage Company’s many charming properties in the Lake District. This 3-bedroom self-catering accommodation is built to the highest specification. From the Lakeland slate floor in the entrance hall, to the top-of-the range kitchen and bathroom fittings and elegant wooden staircase, this place has got luxury written into its ancient walls. Set in a tiny hamlet, a short distance from Outgate and only 5 minutes’ drive from popular Hawkshead, Knipefold Barn has all the comforts of home, and then some. I loved the enormous oak-beamed living area, situated on the top floor, to make the most of the view. It sleeps 5 and would be the perfect place for a family holiday, celebration or friends get-together. You can see more in this Quirky Travel Guide to Knipefold Barn.

Many thanks to Natalie, manager of The Good Life Cottage Company, for her warm welcome and providing the ideal place from which to explore the delightful autumn colours of this part of Lakeland.

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10 Responses to “3 places for autumn colour in south Lakeland”

  1. From Zoe Dawes:

    Autumn is a very popular time to visit the Lake District so if you want to ensure you get a particular property, hotel or B&B book as early as you can. However, there are always last minute bargains to be had ????

    Posted on October 26, 2016 at 9:55 am #
  2. From Carol Jennings:

    The Lake District is so beautiful at this time of year. We’ve been up a couple of times and must go back again. Never heard of Claife Viewing Station – will add that to our list of places to see. Knipefold Barn looks really nice place to stay 🙂

    Posted on October 28, 2016 at 11:14 am #
  3. From Zoe Dawes:

    Think Claife only opened fairly recently Carol. It’s a charming little place with splendid views across the lake towards Bowness. Hope you come back to the Lakes – any time of year. Check out http://www.thegoodlifecottageco.co.uk for a great variety of places to stay in south Lakeland 🙂

    Posted on October 28, 2016 at 11:21 am #
  4. From John MacBeath:

    You do get to stay in some nice places! Hope this weather keeps up a bit longer – good for the garden work 🙂

    Posted on October 30, 2016 at 1:23 pm #
  5. From Zoe Dawes:

    We’ve certainly had a really good October John. Hope it continues into November – and you can carry on working outdoors!

    Posted on October 30, 2016 at 1:29 pm #
  6. From Natalie Barker:

    We love the video, photos and account of your stay with us this Autumn! Knipefold Barn is a beautiful self catering holiday cottage. We have lots more lovely properties to choose from too!

    Posted on October 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm #
  7. From Marianne Turner:

    what fabulous colours and scenery, love your photography Zoe. Tarn Hows is one of my favourite places to visit, especially this time of year

    Posted on November 9, 2016 at 6:01 pm #
  8. From Becky Hindley:

    I’ve not been in to the Lakes for a while and considering it’s on my doorstep that’s really bad. October was a fantastic month, full of sunshine to show off those colours, it really is spectacular. Next time I go I should stay over so I shall check out Knipefold Barn and similar places, thanks for the tip.

    Posted on November 9, 2016 at 8:47 pm #
  9. From Zoe Dawes:

    Thanks Marianne – as you say, a lovely time of year and Tarn Hows is one of the very best places to see all that autumn vibrancy.

    Posted on November 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm #
  10. From Zoe Dawes:

    Oh Becky – get back there right away! Still time to catch the last of the autumn colour 🙂 Knipefold would be a fab place to stay with a group of mates – great venue for relaxing with friends and family.

    Posted on November 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

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