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Bucket list experience:

view down a trail in a forest

Last updated: 10 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Oliver Berry

Situated between Windermere and Coniston Water, this pine and broadleaf forest is a great place to explore on foot or two wheels. Ten marked walking trails and nine mountain-bike trails wind around the forest, ranging from easy to advanced.

On your way round the forest, look out for sculptures hidden away amongst the trees – there are more than sixty works, commissioned by international artists.

There’s also the Go Ape treetop assault course, involving swings, canopy boardwalks, climbing ladders and other dastardly challenges – great fun for all the family.

Price: Free
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around

Getting there & doing it

The nearest train station is Windermere (ten miles away), and there is plenty of parking for cars. The largest car-park is next to the Grizedale Visitor Centre, with several other small car-parks dotted around the forest.

Bikes can be hired from the Bike Treks Grizedale, next to the visitor centre, who also offer maps of the various trails.

When to do it

Forest facilities are open daily all year, though some trails close in poor weather conditions. The on-site bike shop is open 9am-5pm.

Our writer’s picks of the best places to stay near this experience, closest first

Linthwaite House Hotel

Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[6.8 miles]

Cool, elegant country house, with superb food and views, in an almost unbeatable location close to Lake Windermere and Ambleside.

Official star rating:

Gilpin Hotel & Lake House

Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[8.9 miles]

Classic Lakeland luxury with a contemporary twist – along with a Michelin-starred restaurant – make the Gilpin one of the region’s top hotels.

Official star rating:

The Samling

Windermere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[9.4 miles]

A charming, cosy boutique hotel, perched on a private hillside on a 67-acre estate, with an excellent restaurant and grandstand views across Lake Windermere.

Official star rating:

Brimstone Hotel & Spa

Great Langdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[11.1 miles]

The Lakeland version of a deluxe ski lodge, offering supremely plush rooms, a lavish spa and a very private location on a Langdale estate. It’s also adults-only – making this an ideal place for couples looking for a place to pamper themselves.

Official star rating:

Destination guides including or relevant to this experience

Lake District

Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)

Imposing mountains, wild landscapes, tranquil lakes and picturesque towns combine to make the Lake District uniquely beautiful, and one of the best places in Britain for walking, climbing, boating and biking.

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Overview >

Our writer’s recommendations of other bucket list experiences our writer says you must do in this destination, closest first

Hill Top

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[3.3 miles]

Beatrix Potter’s cottage is every bit as pretty (and popular) as you’d expect – and, for fans of her books, offers the chance to see some of the places that inspired her illustrations.

Best for ages: 13+ | £15

Rydal Mount

Rydal, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[12.5 miles]

Wordsworth’s grand family home between Ambleside and Grasmere is an essential stop: it’s full of memorabilia, and offers an intriguing glimpse of the Wordsworth family’s daily life in the Lakes.

Best for ages: 18+ | £5

Dove Cottage (& Wordsworth Museum)

Grasmere, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[12.9 miles]

Take a guided tour around Wordsworth’s charming cottage near Grasmere to get a fascinatingly personal insight into the poet’s life and times – and don’t miss the brilliant museum next door.

Best for ages: 180+ | £12

Walk up Scafell Pike

Wasdale, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[18.1 miles]

Climb up to the highest point in England for a memorable view of the Wasdale fells – and a special sense of achievement. But don’t expect to be on your own if the weather’s fine

Best for ages: 13+ | Free | Full day

Other worthwhile experiences near this experience if you have time or interest..

Lady staring at a painting by Beatrix Potter, at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Cumbria. Beatrix Potter's original artwork on display in a 17th-century house.

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Hawkshead, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[4.2 miles]

This small gallery in Hawkshead is located in the old office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, solicitor William Heelis. It holds regular exhibitions of her work, including her beautiful botanical paintings.

Best for ages: 10+ | £7 | 3 hours

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Overview >
Exterior of a large white house


Troutbeck, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[10.5 miles]

This traditional stone and slate farmhouse was home to local famers the Browne family for over 400 years. The house and family’s possessions have been preserved, showcasing rural life in the Lakes over the past centuries.

Best for ages: 18+ | £9 | 3 hours

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Overview >
Exterior fo the small shop in Grasmere

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

Ambleside, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13.3 miles]

Sarah Nelson’s gingerbread is an institution in Grasmere: it’s been made to the same recipe since 1854. It’s wonderfully quaint – the frilly outfits worn by the shop staff are something from a bygone age.

Best for ages: 4+ | Free | 3 hours

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Overview >
Exterior of the brewery

Hawkshead Brewery

Kendal, Cumbria, United Kingdom (UK)[13.7 miles]

The best-known of some fantastic craft breweries in the region. It has a brilliant beer hall at its main site in Staveley, where you can also take a guided tour to learn more about the brewing process

Best for ages: 18+ | Free | 3 hours

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Overview >