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Lake District - Crazy during May 2024 half-term?

Hi friends -

My partner and I will be in England mid to end of May 2024. We just learned that there's a bank holiday on Mon. May 27, plus a half-term (school's out) from Mon. May 27 - Fri. May 31. That was the week we were planning to visit the Lake District. Does anyone have any experience with bank holidays and/or half-terms while in the Lake District (particularly Keswick and surroundings), and is it crazy busy? Should we plan for the previous week instead?

Thanks,
Andy

Posted by
1306 posts

Yes it will be busy and accomodation hard to find.
If its in your gift to go before do would be a wise choice.
Even when busy and its only certain spots if you went over on the west coast side or Back O' Skiddaw they are very much quieter

Posted by
6762 posts

Yes it will be very busy.

But, and it's a big but, people make their own problems by a) driving here and around the district; b) all staying in the same few honeyspots like Keswick.

I am sorry but RS is one of many culprits in that regard with his you must stay in Keswick mantra. Even if you require Keswick think Threlkeld, or Braithwaite/Thornthwaite, or SJITV (other places in a 3 mile radius), or as I say Cockermouth (8 miles away).

We already had good public transit, which has been hugely improved this year. For Pete's sake in your own interests and everyone else's please use it.

Us locals get very irate when we can't get round the area on our everyday business because of the lines of tourist cars at entirely predictable pinch point locations. But then we also know the avoidance routes as well!!

All these unnecessary cars is why the central area (Windermere to Grasmere, with lines of traffic back to Ings trying to get through Windermere) gets so congested and why car parking gets so tight or almost impossible at such locations.

Locals and the police are beyond exhausted with the parking issues at places like Catbells, Buttermere and Elterwater, to name but a few.

Try staying down in the Furness area instead (most of which is all but undiscovered), or Kendal, or Penrith, or out on the West Coast here. Cockermouth would make a great base. We even have Premier Inns at Cockermouth, Workington and Whitehaven as well. Both Workington and Cockermouth work very well (Whitehaven just a bit less so), and we also have tourist attractions out on the West Coast as well, our own history to explore, our own great scenery and walks.

Back o'Skiddaw does really need a car, but if you stay up in that area having a car won't be the problem it is in the Central area.

Posted by
1319 posts

Hi Andy -

The Lakes gets busy throughout the summer months and crazy busy during the Bank and School holidays, so yes, I’d look at the week before. You’ll like as not save money as, whisper it, some have been known to hike the prices for half term (it seems a cheek to me, but supply and demand…..)

The ‘honeypots’ around the major settlements will still be busy, but manageable, although if it were me, I might be seeking to avoid the worst of them, which would be the Windermere north to Grasmere areas, and although I bow to no man in my love of Keswick, yes, there too will be really busy.

That said, if you aim to get off into the hills to go walking you should, with a bit of careful selection, be able to escape the crowds if not exactly commune with nature in solitude. I’ve recommended the Coniston area on this very forum and there are smaller less popular spots within and just outside the actual Lakes. I’m thinking here of the head of the Kent estuary and fabulous spots like Arnside and Silverdale. You’ll need a car to benefit from these. Even Cartmel might be a good shout. It depends if and where you can get your accommodation - as I said, busy at the best of times throughout, but if the weather is kind it may well capture your heart, as it did mine, more years ago than I care to recall!

Have a great trip!

Ian

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks everyone for your helpful replies. Sounds like the week before the May 27 half-term will be better. We'll look outside of Keswick too. And you can count on us for one less car - we'll be taking the train and bus. Looking forward to it!