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Scottlish Highlands or Lake District?

Hello everyone. We have two-three extra days to either spend in the Scottish Highlands or the Lake District. What are the main differences? Are they very similar? Thank you!

Posted by
5837 posts

Highlands are less populated, less developed (fewer tourist amenities) and wilder than the Lake District. Highlands have long horned with long haired cattle while the Lake District have a lot of sheep.

A Scottish breakfast is as filling as an English breakfast. Both are pretty hilly and both can have wild weather.

Posted by
5678 posts

The lake district is a wee bit more civilized. :) My grandmother grew up on the edge of the lake district and it is full of glorious beauty. But the highlands are a bit wilder.

What type of experience are you looking for?


Posted by
3551 posts

The previous posters are quite accurate. The only pt i can add is if u are in lake district u can visit Hadrians wall and the reconstruction and archaelogical sight of Vindolanda. A museum adjacent explains this roman settlement nicely.
I enjoy both areas but Hadrians contribution to civilization is noteworthy.

Posted by
3122 posts

What time of year? In winter the highlands will have less tourist infrastructure available, and you'll really notice how short the daylight hours are. If you'll be there any time between, say, April and October, the highlands should be fine.

All else being equal, I'd go with the highlands. The western part (Argyll & Bute, and Kintyre if you get that far in 2-3 days) is less heavily touristed and there's plenty to see & do as well as the unspoiled natural scenery. Someone mentioned Hadrian's Wall and I agree it's awesome. You could stop off there on your way north to Scotland.

Personally I found the Lake District a bit overrated, but to each his/her own. The scenery didn't interest me nearly as much as that in Scotland, and I thought Keswick was overly touristy (however, I found Penrith a very charming example of a real town with working people as well as lovely architecture). If you're a big fan of Wordsworth and related literary giants, then by all means.

Posted by
1469 posts

You should visit the Southwest of Scotland : Galloway and Dumphries. You will find plenty of historic Castles and Seaports and a National Park with hiking and camping. The Highlands have been given all the mystic because they do have more wilderness. This way you can visit both the Lake District and a charming part of Scotland. I do agree that the Lake District has too many Day Trippers.

Posted by
220 posts

That's a tough decision. Depends what you love. if you like gorgeous hikes, incredible scenery that inspired many authors, and peaceful lakes- go to the lake district. They have great food, and I'm sure you will not be disappointed. They have charming sheep on every hill, and the views are breathtaking. It looks like some bucolic paradise.

If on the other hand, you like stark hills, wind in your face, and want to retrace the steps of William Wallace- then go to the highlands. You can only find the elusive hairy-coo in its natural environment here. They also have charming accents.

I've been to both...It really depends what you like better.

Posted by
1 posts

In Thomas West's 'Guide to the Lakes' (1778) - the Lake District was presented as a miniature version of the Alps: The tourist visiting the Lakes, could hope to encounter the awe of the sublime Alpine like peaks and the Picturesque scenes of drystone walls and patchwork fields all in a much smaller area to that of Scotland. This does hold true in some respect as it is much easier and convenient to experience walking a mountain ridge in the English Lake District. You can walk a few peaks in just an afternoon, it fells like you are on top of a Scotish Mountain with all that the British weather can throw at you! Then descend through Picturesque countryside stopping for refreshment at a country pub at the end of the day. The Lake District is great for fitness if you only have a few days to spare.
I Love Scotland, but find myself touring through it looking at Mountains rather than getting out of the car. If thats the way you would like to spend a few days Scotland is an amazing scenic drive or tour that can be experienced in just a few days. A round trip taking in Glen Coe then up to the Isle of Skye would be my recommendation.

Posted by
102 posts

Depends on where you're driving from and what you like.
I loved Beatrix Potter's house and the poets houses in the Lake district...It can be very rainy ..either place.
I also loved the Isle of Skye and the castle Dunvegan. Be sure to go behind to the garden and boat tour to see the seals.