The North Lakes
A longer drive : around 60 miles – which takes in 6 lakes/tarns and the spectacular Kirkstone Pass.
Leave Hazelmere and head towards Keswick following the road east along Penrith Road, at the junction take the right fork signed to Windermere. (At this point you could decide to take a detour to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, always worth a visit!). Stay on the A591 as it winds past the great Thirlmere reservoir, over the top of Dunmail Raise (with the mighty mass of Helvellyn on your left). As you drop down from Dunmail see if you can make out the “Lion and the Lamb”, this is the rocky summit of Helm Crag which, at one point in your descent looks just like a lion with a lamb in its paws.
The village of Grasmere is well worth a visit with the famous Grasmere gingerbread shop and a pretty church. There are plenty of cafés and gift shops in this popular little village. A little further along the main road there are several car parks by Rydal water. If you feel like a short walk there is little better than a stroll around Rydal, a small jewel of a lake amidst these great fells. The lower path is an easy stroll and at its best when the bluebells are out in the woods. The path along the middle terrace runs beside two large, open caves where rock was once quarried. One cave has a large pond and fish dart about in the shallow water. The Badger Bar is always a good stop for a pint of local ale and a meal.
On a little further Ambleside is a busy tourist town, famous as much these days for Hayes Garden World, a must for keen gardeners. Leave Ambleside and continue on past Waterhead and turn first left to Troutbeck. Continue through the village and take the A592 which goes over Kirkstone Pass with its amazing views and head past Brothers Water and down into Glenridding.
The road then takes you alongside Ullswater and through Pooley Bridge and back to the A66 at the Rheged Centre or you can shorten the journey and turn off near Aira Force (a super waterfall within easy walking distance of the road) and head back to Keswick via another hamlet also called Troutbeck.