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Planning your visit to the Lake District

Walkers setting out from Seatoller car park in Borrowdale, Lake District
Plan your visit to the Lakes | © National Trust / Steven Barber

Get the best out of your visit by planning ahead. From finding a car park and checking capacity, to following the countryside code and preparing for your outdoor adventure safely, we've pulled together the tools, tips and guidance to help you make the most of your trip and help us look after the Lake District.

Car parking in the Lake District

Whether you’re venturing on to the high fells, exploring the area by boat, going for an amble by a lakeshore, or mountain biking on off-road trails, here’s a handy guide to our car parks in the Lake District to help you plan your day.

Plan ahead

Some of our car parks regularly fill up, especially at peak times, and with very limited informal parking available elsewhere, it's important to plan ahead and be prepared to find somewhere else to go if you can't park safely. We ask everyone to consider the access needs of the emergency services, farmers and local residents when parking up for the day.

Check car parking availability

We're working with our partners in the Lake District to safely manage our car parks. You can find the most up to date information and a guide to how busy car parks are today using the Safer Lakes car park tool.

National Trust members park for free

Members park for free at our car parks in the Lake District - simply scan your membership card to ensure a contribution is given to the place you're visiting. This will ensure our local rangers have much needed funds to support important ongoing conservation projects.

Not a member? You can join on our website or pay for your parking on the day.

Parking your campervan or motorhome

Campervans that are used for travel are welcome in our car parks but aren't allowed to stay overnight. Unfortunately, we’re unable to welcome caravans and coaches. Please be aware that many of our car parks are located on very narrow and sometimes steep roads. Find out more about overnight parking for campervans from the Lake District National Park Authority.

Walkers at Wasdale, Cumbria, with the vast expanse of Wastwater in the distance
Walkers at Wasdale, with Wastwater in the distance | © National Trust Images/Joe Cornish

Enjoy the outdoors safely

Enjoy a great experience in the Lake District by being properly prepared. Checking the weather, carrying the right kit and being confident you have the skills for your planned adventure are just three ways you can enjoy the outdoors safely. Visit Adventure Smart for more tips on how to keep yourself and others safe in the Lakes.

Wild camping in the Lake District

We don't allow camping by lake shores, in valleys, on verges or in lowland areas of the Lake District at any time, unless it's on an official campsite. It's important to know the difference between acceptable wild camping and illegal fly camping. Read our guide to wild camping before you set off.

Swimming in the Lake District

Swimming in lakes, rivers and tarns is a popular activity in the Lake District, but it's important to be aware of the risks involved before entering the water. Lakes and tarns can be deep and the water will still be cold, even on warm days. If you do decide to go for a dip, read the Lake District National Park's guide to swimming to make sure you have the right skills and equipment to stay safe in the water.

Help us look after the Lake District

Follow the Countryside Code

Please follow the Countryside Code when you visit the Lake District. By taking your litter home with you, keeping your dog under control, keeping gates, driveways and roads clear and sticking to designated footpaths, you can help us care for the Lake District and the wildlife and people who call it home.

Find out more about the Countryside Code.

Visiting with your dog?

There are some great days out for you and your pooch in the Lake District. But it's also home to around 3 million sheep, as well as some important wildlife. Help us look after the places you and your dog enjoy by following these simple guidelines.

Two Herdwick sheep sitting in the grass with Wastwater and the surrounding mountains in the background on a spring day

Discover more in the Lake District

Home of Beatrix Potter, dramatic landscapes and fascinating history.

View of Derwent Island on Derwent Water with fells in the background

Countryside in the Lake District 

Explore the Lake District's majestic mountains – among them Scafell Pike, the tallest in England – ancient woodland, hidden waterfalls, rugged coastline and, of course, its many lakes. You might even spot a red squirrel, roe deer or bird of prey.

Visitors enjoying the view from Claife Viewing Station overlooking Windermere, Lake Disitrict

Dog-friendly places in the Lake District 

The Lake District has plenty of opportunities for you and your dog to explore some wonderful countryside – from the shores of Windermere to the fell tops in Langdale.

View over Derwent Water looking towards Skiddaw in the Lake District in spring

Walking in the Lake District 

From gentle ambles to more challenging hikes, these are some of the best walks to explore the heart of the Lake District.

Two children in wetsuits playing with a paddle board in the lake

Outdoor activities in the Lake District 

Discover what the Lake District has to offer if you love getting outside – from walking and cycling trails for all abilities, canoeing and sailing, to relaxing pleasure boat rides.