* Prices may differ from that shown
Buttermere is probably one of my favourite places and as I am lucky enough to live within a few hours' drive of it, somewhere I can visit often.
Buttermere is a lake situated in the north west of England's Lake District national park. I am not going to give you detailed information on getting there by car as you can simply take a look on the AA route finder site. I always arrive by car but it is possible to get to Buttermere via public transport. There is a bus service from Keswick, named the Honister rambler. If you are interested there is a timetable on their website at www.dokeswick.com.
There is a train station at Windermere and there are buses to Keswick from here but it is a bit of a mission!
If like me you arrive by car it is worth knowing that there is a car park situated just before you get into the village of Buttermere.The car park is really just a farmers field with an honesty bucket! I think I paid £2 last time I parked here. This particular park is idea if you are intending to hike up Haystacks-more about Haystacks later.
However there is a much bigger car park in the village itself just. It is well signposted and of the pay and display type.
So, whats so special about Buttermere? Well for me, it has the most perfect setting of a beautiful lake surrounding by mountains. I love the way the shadows from the surrounding hills give the lake a different appearance depending on the time of day and the weather.
Buttermere means the lake by the dairy pastures and this sums it up perfectly. Buttermere is surrounded by lush green fields, mountains and water. It is in a valley with only one road out so gives me the feeling of being somewhere beautiful and remote.
The lake itself is 1 and a 1/2 miles long, 3/4's of a mile wide and 75 feet deep. Unlike Windermere there are no boating schools here and a lot fewer people giving the lake a much more tranquil feel. When Windermere and Ambleside are overrun with tourists you can usually find peace in Buttermere!
At the end of Buttermere there is another lake, Crummock water. A fertile plain now separates the two lakes. However once these two lakes were one.
A word of warning here, I once tried to swim in Buttermere and it was the coldest water I have ever experienced! You have been warned!
What is there to do?
If simply drinking in the scenery is not enough then you can walk around the lake. I recommend you park in the village, just behind the Fish hotel. There is a clearly marked footpath. The walk starts by going between fields with sheep. In the spring you will see lots of lambs. We were lucky enough to watch twin lambs being born recently, something my children were very excited by!
The path continues around the lake, passing through a rock tunnel! The walk is easy although would be difficult if you have a pushchair or use a wheelchair. The walk around the lake will take you about 2-3 hours of easy walking. It can be boggy in places after rains so wear appropriate footwear.
If you like your walking a bit more on the wild side, then you will not be disappointed at climbing Haystacks. I mentioned earlier that there is a car park just before you get into the village. From here, cross the road and follow the path keeping the lake on your right. Haystacks will be in front of you.
Haystacks is actually a hill and was one of the famous writer, Albert Wainwrights favourite places and where his ashes were scattered. Although not high enough to be classified as a fell at 1,958 feet, the summit of Haystacks gives the most perfect views imaginable. The path can be a bit tricky in places especially with young children. However when you reach the top you will be rewarded not only with those views but also with a beautiful tarn, or small lake. The tarn is intriguingly named Innominute tarn. This is the perfect picnic stop in my book! You will need to take care on the way down, as the scree can be slippery.
My favourite lunch is of the picnic variety. However if you prefer not to carry your lunch then there are several alternatives. There is the Fish hotel at the front of the car park. I have never eaten here but they do serve lunches as well as evening meals. It can get busy, as there are often coach parties here in the summer.
For somewhere a bit less formal you could try the hall opposite the Fish hotel. Here you can buy sandwiches and homemade cakes as well as a variety of soft drinks. I have treated my children to a cake here and although not cheap the cakes were delicious!
Perhaps I should mention that there are free public loos to the side of the car park. They have always been well maintained whenever I have used them!
Staying in Buttermere.
Buttermere village is very small and has limited places to stay. There is a camp site just beyond the car park. If you prefer something a bit more up market then you could try the Fish hotel or the lovely Bridge hotel situated between Buttermere and Crummock water. There are cottages to let in the area but I strongly recommend you book early! You could try lakelovers web site.
Overall I highly recommend a visit to Buttermere,it is well worth the a day of your time!
Buttermere is a fabulous location, not too far from Keswick and gives you access to soe of lakelands fantastic hills.
Buttermere itself stands next to another lake Crummock water and if you don't fancy the high level walks, there is a nice walk in between the 2 lakes to Scale Force which is a magnificent waterfall.
Buttermere is relatively easy to get to by car and I can highly recommend the campsite here, its set in a stunning location.
The hills you can see around you here are Haystacks, Fleetwith Pike, Robison and Hindscarth, High Stile to name but a few.
Keeping on the road out of Buttermere will take you onto the Honister pass which is a great route between the mountains and from here you can get to the Honister slate mine which is worth a look around.
Buttermere has a natural beauty and charm and has been left untouched by some of the mass tourism that affects other parts of the lakes
A place of awe inspiring beauty and majesty, Buttermere is situated in an isolated corner of the Lake District. The journey into Buttermere is no less inspiring. There are two very scenic routes leading to Buttermere. From Keswick you can travel through Borrowdale up Honister pass. The pass ascends very steeply, and when you reach the top it sweeps down into a valley. You are immediately struck by the very steep sides of the valley and the littering of rocks and boulders. A hint, maybe of past climactic history. The atmosphere is still and quiet, save for the trickle of water along the valley floor. This is a spectacular way to reach Buttermere. The other scenic route is along Newlands pass. As you drive down the pass, it falls away on the right into the Newlands valley which is richly carpeted with fern and heather. As you come into Buttermere you are met with the towering Red Pike across the lake. The waterfall cascading down the wooded slopes into the lake is tremendous. The view from the top of Red Pike is incredible. You can see into Scotland and across the Irish Sea. On the opposite side of the lake is Robinson. A brisk climb to the summit will present you with a phenomenal view. Lake Buttermere, Crummock Water, and Great Gable in the distance. In that quiet moment, as you stand and stare, feel the lush greenery beneath your feet, breathe the clean air, you feel at one with the land, the elements, and with God. It is a heartening experience. This part of the Lake District is virtually unspoilt in it's beauty and splendour. Tourists do come, but don't overrun the area. You can easily feel like the only person there. After a day of foot pounding in the mountains, down in the village a visit to the Fish Hotel will not go amiss. They serve a superb plate of food at reasonable charge. The Bridge Hotel is also a welcome sight for the foot sore and weary, and will fill you with good ale, food and cheer.
I have spent many good times in Buttermere, and hope to again. I cannot stress enough what an wondrous place it is. When you have been and experienced it, it will stay in your heart forever.