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5 Quirky Lake District Icons

Looking for unusual attractions in the Lake District that are free to visit and open all year round?

From 13th century stone-walls built by monks to a Victorian tourist attraction featuring a live hermit, when visiting the Lake District you are only a stones-throw away from the some of the world’s most iconic rocky landmarks.

1. Little Langdale - Slaters Bridge

The spot where this delightful 16th century bridge passes over the shallow River Brathay is the one to head to with kids in the warm May – August months. It is a fab paddling and picnicking spot. There’s a great walk into Cathedral Cavern from here too that is sure to impress holidaymakers of all ages with good mobility and a nose for adventure.

For walkers, enjoy the route to Slater’s Bridge from Coniston or a low-level route from Elterwater, where there’s parking and a great pub, The Britannia Inn. The Three Shires in Little Langdale has a good beer garden too.
Slaters Bridge

2. Keswick – Castlerigg Stone Circle

In dry weather, this is an accessible Lake District heritage site with roadside parking, but we’d highly recommend the approximately 30-minute walk from Keswick centre, to make more of a trip of it. The circle is small, 38 stones, but in a large field so kids and dogs can run about quite safely, whilst parents take in the spectacular 360 views.

It is one of the best Stone Circle locations in Britain. There are no toilet or food facilities, but an ice-cream van does visit regularly. This is a great opportunity to touch one of Britain’s earliest stone circles dating back to the Neolithic period, about 4000 to 5000 years ago. Photographers, visit pre-dawn or post-sunset to capture beautiful long shadows from the stones with Skiddaw backdrop.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

3. Wasdale Head – drystone walls

As well as laying claim to being home to England’s highest mountain, deepest lake, smallest church and biggest liar, the Lake District valley of Wasdale Head is also home to some of the oldest drystone walling in the region. The Inn here offers a superb base for walkers to gain a birds-eye vantage of the iconic ancient dry stone walls of the Lake District.

Head to the Ruskin Museum in Coniston for a thought-provoking celebration of drystone walling.

 Image: Andrew-Locking.
Image: Andrew-Locking.

4. Borrowdale Valley – the Bowder Stone

Anyone with an interest in rock climbing or geology will know about this stone. For tourists aboard the 78 bus from Keswick the Bowder Stone is a way to experience the “pleasurable terror” of the dramatic Lake District landscape, as described by Georgian tourists. The 200 ton lump of hardened larva arguably fell some 13,500 - 10,000 years ago from the Bowder Crag above, where it came to a stand-still with some force, leaving it teetering oddly on one corner.

Enjoy a short low level walk from a National Trust car park to take in this superb stone, over 452 million years old, which gives a window into the Lake District’s tumultuous past. The mock hermit, employed up until the 19th century for the entertainment of tourists, is no longer in residence sadly but the character of this attraction is sure to delight.
Bowder Stone

5. Grasmere – the Lion & the Lamb

‘The Lion & the Lamb’ is the nickname for the rocky outcrop at the summit of Helm Crag that is generally walked from Wordsworth’s former home village of Grasmere. To stand atop gives wonderful views down to Grasmere lake but this iconic Lake District peak doesn’t need to be viewed up close, as its iconic silhouette can be enjoyed from you’re your Grasmere cottage garden.
Helm CragFor more information on Lake District cottages visit Lakelovers.

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