Best places for kayaking in the Lake District holiday cottages

Best places for kayaking in the Lake District

Jemima Kirkwood 10 April 2020

Within Cumbria and the Lake District there are a wealth of lakes and rivers which are waiting to be discovered, and we urge those who love getting out into the wilderness to explore them by one of the most peaceful methods out there – kayaking!

These natural landmarks become the canvas for adventure for those keen to get out on the water and it is no surprise that thousands of people flock here throughout the year to experience the beauty and wilderness that the Lake District has to offer. Whilst many people like to hike up the hills, cycle the woodland, wild swim in the waters, fish the lakes or run the fells, some opt for the calmer type of exploring and take to the water by boat.

Whilst there are many forms of water pursuits, today we are sharing with you the best spots to take your kayak for some relaxing water-based fun. The beauty of kayaking is that it can be done in a group or simply solo, each way giving a rewarding experience and some gentle exercise to your time off.

Here are some of the best places for kayaking in the Lake District…

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere is not only the longest lake in the district, it is also the longest lake in England. This offers a wonderful location for you and your family or friends to hit the water and adventure around the shoreline of this spectacular spot by kayak. Although this is one of the busiest lakes, there is plenty of opportunity to paddle off and find all the quiet spots.

Adventure recommendation: Mere Mountains - This is a great company offering canoe and kayak hire. They have a variety of different models for you to try out and different levels of activity too. The friendly staff can offer you instructed sessions, but equally if you just want to potter about that is fine too. A great local company that puts the customer first!

Coniston Water

Overlooked by the impressive fell, The Old Man of Coniston, Coniston Water is a beautiful lake sitting to the south east of the Lake District. This was the lake where the author Arthur Ransome was inspired to write his Swallows and Amazons stories, so kayaking around here can be made even more fun by quoting some of his work.

“It was like exploring a place that you have seen in a dream, where everything is just where you expect it and yet everything is a surprise.” ― Arthur Ransome, Swallows and Amazons.

Adventure recommendation: Adventure North West - This is a company built of experienced and qualified kayak and canoe instructors who help you to explore the Lakes in a different way. They offer relaxed tours of the Lakes or more invigorating canoe and kayak activity days where you can take part in fun and games out on the water – you will undoubtedly get wet doing these. Take the family out for some splash-filled fun!


This lake is one of the prettiest to explore with its many islands to kayak around, and it gets more and more atmospheric the further you travel down it. The one in the middle, St Herbert’s Island, has a little cottage hidden on it where a hermit used to live. Pull your kayak ashore and hunt it down for a bit of an adventure.

Adventure recommendation: Nichol End Marine - This company offers kayak and canoe hire by the hour, small group tuition, fun group sessions and a paddle club. Try your hand to any of these and you are in line for a fun day out!


This is the second-largest lake in the Lake District and is overlooked by the spectacular Helvellyn range of fells. Ullswater provides the ideal destination for holidaymakers and, being the setting for William Wordsworth’s famous 'Daffodils' poem, it holds a lot of sentiment for many that visit. The lake itself provides a huge range of activities and water sports including sailing, swimming, fishing and kayaking, so you are sure to get a great atmosphere here with people enjoying themselves.

Adventure recommendation: Ullswater Outdoor Adventures - Whether you are a complete beginner or a seasoned paddler, they will have something that inspires you to be out on the water surrounded by the Lake District mountains and the stunning views. They do explorer days out, coaching sessions and team building challenges!

Try out a quieter lake at Thirlmere…

Thirlmere is one of the more hidden lakes in the Lake District, best appreciated by boat, canoe or kayak. There is a little road which threads its way up the western shoreline which offers lovely views across the water, but also many laybys to pull up in and pop your kayak in for days of exploring. This is a quiet and peaceful spot to spend some hours paddling up and down the shores, taking in the nature and wildlife.

More Lake District companies you can adventure with

Adventurers kit-list

If you are hiring from a company they will most likely kit you out with everything you are going to need, but here is a list of a few items which will keep you safe and happy and exploring all day:

  • Life jacket
  • Cap and sunglasses
  • First aid kit
  • Packed lunch
  • Binoculars
  • Camera (waterproof casing)
  • Phone or GPS gadget
  • Dry bags
  • Gloves (incase you get cold hands)
  • Waterproof and breathable clothing

We hope you have enjoyed this guide on the best places to kayak in the Lake District and if you are interested to learn more, why not read our guide to the 10 largest lakes? We have many gorgeous self-catering cottages throughout the Lake District just waiting to offer you a wonderful base, whether that be a romantic retreat, quirky cabin or family lodge.

Check out our range of Lake District cottages today!

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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