London to Lake District Road Trip: The wilderness of the epic Lakes

Difficulty

550 km

Distance

6 - 9

Recom. Days

Culture, Adventure

Trip type

Hannah is a frequent traveller and road trip enthusiast from the UK that works as a freelance journalist at Indie Campers.
Hannah Hilton

Freelance travel writer and road trip enthusiast based in York, UK. When Hannah isn’t climbing mountains or hopping overseas on an adventure, you can find her at home with her crazy puppy Red.

Explore the surroundings of Windermere on your North England road trip

London to Lake District Road Trip

This road trip from London to Lake District begins travels across England, soaking up the very best of northern England’s countryside, towns, and cities.

This road trip heads north to Lake Windermere in the mountainous Lake District, east through the Pennines to the historic city of Durham, and then south along the coast to the seaside town of Whitby.

From here, wind back west to Manchester with the option to explore the Howardian Hills and call in at York on the way.

Explore the surroundings of Windermere on your North England road trip
Pick-up in
London depot
1

Craft Breweries and Museums in Manchester

The first stop on this itinerary from London to Lake District is Manchester! Home to the world’s longest-running soap - Coronation Street, a vibrant live music scene, and a number of famous museums, England’s second-biggest city have a lot to offer.

What’s more, Manchester’s bar scene is an eclectic mix of craft beer breweries and secret gin bars!

Manchester is a great cultural city worth a visit on your way from London to Lake District

To brush up on England’s history head to the Manchester Museum where you’ll find 4,500,000 relics gathered from across the country and around the world! If you’re more of a culture vulture, check out the Manchester Art Gallery, or if you’re a football fan pay a visit to Old Trafford, the famous ground of Manchester United. Take some time to appreciate some of the city's coolest bars including Dusk Til Pawn and The Fitzgerald.

Manchester is also a great starting point for exploring the north-west of England, so make sure to research the best places to explore from Manchester  before you leave.

Visiting

Manchester

1 - 2

Recom. Days

Main route

321 km

from our depot

3h50 min

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Science and Industry Museum

Science museum, historical exhibits

Heaton park

Green oasis, urban park, farm animals

Eat at

Flight Club Manchester

€€€

pizza resto, lounge bar, quirky

Blue Nile Cafe

€€

Home-cooked Ethiopian food in cosy setting

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Metrolink Radcliffe Park and Ride

€€

Catch a metro to the centre

Stay at

Giants Seat Scout Camp

€€€

Outer-city, remote camping, woodland

2

Water Sports on Windermere, Lake District

From London, you finally arrive in Lake District and the glorious Lake Windermere, the largest lake in England. On the east coast of the lake, tucked into Bowness Bay, sits the small town of Bowness-on Windermere; a destination popular with outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and adventure seekers alike.

If you’re itching for a water-based adventure or a road trip through the mountains, this is the place to be.

Lake Windermere in Lake district is the largest in England and the seond stop on your trip from London

From Bowness-on-Windermere, you can sail across Lake Windermere on a traditional steamboat, brush up on Beatrix Potter at the World of Beatrix Potter Museum, or take to the mountains on an adventure hike to Orrest Head or Brant Fell.

Other popular peaks nearby include Langdale Pikes, Pike of Blisco, and the Old Man of Coniston; all of which require a full day to tackle.

Visiting

Windermere

2 - 3

Recom. Days

Main route

130 km

from Manchester

2 hrs

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Crags Adventure

Scrambling, abseiling, and rock-climbing adventures

Windermere lake Cruises

Rowboats, self-drive, lake excursions

Eat at

The Brookside

€€€

Hearty British dishes, muddy boots welcomed

The Crafty Baa

€€

Laid back, cheese and meat platters, craft beers

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Broad Street Car Park

€€€

Multi-tariff parking, 5-min walk from centre

Stay at

Braithwaite Fold

€€

Lakeside campsite, base for exploring town

3

Medieval History in Durham

The next stop on your London to Lake District round-trip is the historic city of Durham. Both quaint and charming, Durham is packed with character, and the entire city centre is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Get ready to explore the town on foot and marvel at the famous Romanesque Durham Cathedral, 13th-century buildings, and stunning botanical gardens. While Manchester is hip and urban, Durham is full of cultural history and tradition.

Don't forget to visit the Durham riverside with a mix of old heritage and industrial history

Add a little variety to your road trip activities with a visit to Durham Castle, a 14th-century stronghold that today houses part of Durham University’s campus. From here head to the Oriental Museum to view archaeological finds from the Far East or, if you prefer to brush up on local history, add the Durham Heritage Centre and Museum to your to-do list.

The Living Museum of the North is also a must as this outdoor museum showcases Durham in the Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian eras. 

Visiting

Durham

2 - 3

Recom. Days

Main route

130 km

from Windermere

2 hrs

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

High Force Waterfall

Stroll through Durham Dales to impressive waterfall

Durham University Botanical Garden

10 hectares of green, glasshouses and outdoor art

Durham Cathedral

Romansque architecture worth contemplating

Eat at

Court Inn

€€€

Pub roast and ale near cathedral

Fat Hippo

€€€

Juicy burgers in low-lit hipster joint

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Durham City Park and Ride

€€€

Easy access, park and ride

Stay at

Durham Grange Caravan and Motorhome Club Site

€€€

Small shop, spacious pitches, great facilities

4

Fish & Chips in Whitby

The seaside town of Whitby has a rich maritime history and has been a popular holiday spot with Brits for centuries. It was here that Bram Stoker based his novel Dracula and Captain James Cook carried out his fishing apprenticeship.

History aside, this beach town is a fantastic spot for coastal walks, sea excursions, and fish and chips! Before you depart Whitby to return from your London to Lake district journey, consider calling at the market town of Helmsley or the Viking city of York.

Whitby seaside, with a boat and the beach in the background

Head straight down to Whitby Beach to dip your toes in the sea or simply take a walk on the sands (nearby Sandsend Beach is also glorious). From here head over to Whitby Harbour, home to bobbing fishing boats and a string of pubs, cafes, and fish & Chip shops.

Walk off your fish and chips by climbing the 199 steps from Church Lane up to St Mary’s Church; you’ll be rewarded with fantastic sea views at the top too.

Visiting

Whitby

1 - 2

Recom. Days

Main route

100 km

from Durham

1h30m

drive

You can find Indie Campers RV rentals in more than 40 different cities and destinations across Europe.

Visit

Whitby Abbey

Iconic landmark and views over town

Falling Foss Tea Garden

Outdoor cafe in green garden near waterfall

Eat at

The Starr Inn The Harbour

€€€€

Seasonal fish and meat, fine dining

Magpie Café

€€€

Best fish & chips, takeout and outdoor dining

Indie Campers has a fleet of 1200 camper vans and RV available for rental as well as an integrated marketplace for private and professional rental.

Parking

Marina Back Car Park

€€€

Central location, busy

Stay at

Broadings Farm Caravan Site Whitby

€€

Sheep farm, mile from centre, 70 pichtes

Drop-off in
London depot

419 km

from Whitby

4h35m

drive