Best time of year to hike the Lake District?
November 21, 2014 9:03 AM   Subscribe

My husband and I are thinking of taking an anniversary/delayed honeymoon trip to the UK, and going on one of the semi-packaged Lake District hikes (where you hike from inn to inn and they trundle your baggage to the next inn for you). I'm getting conflicting information about the best month to do this. Data points inside.

Anecdotal evidence on travel forums indicates that August is soggy, and October is beautiful. Rainfall charts seem to say that October is even soggier than August. September is not an option, due to scheduling conflicts. What say you? Is the beginning of October a decent time, or should we wait until we can do it in the spring instead?

Incidentally, this tour is the one we're considering.
posted by missrachael to Travel & Transportation around Manchester, England (9 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
August at least gives you a fighting chance at dry, warm, spectacular days. October will be wet. On the other hand, August will have a lot of tourists and October will not. Is the October tour much cheaper?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:09 AM on November 21, 2014

We had a fabulous visit to the Lake District in October of 2013. It is gorgeous at that time of year.
posted by bearwife at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2014

Response by poster: Nope, same price. I've seen a lot of "oh, October in the Lake District is beautiful" posts around, but maybe that's assuming you're not going to be out hiking 8-10 hours a day.
posted by missrachael at 9:11 AM on November 21, 2014

The main problem with August in the Lakes isn't that it's soggy, it's that it's heaving with people (UK school holidays, British tour groups, lots of foreign visitors). You'd be sorted for accommodation, but you'll be sharing the hiking routes with plenty of others, and ultra-popular spots like Grasmere will be chock-a-block with cars and coaches and general bustle.

Rain is always a possibility in that part of the world, no matter what time of year -- I have memories of being drenched in about 15 minutes in the summer when the clouds burst unexpectedly over me -- and a full day of being rained on is not fun, regardless of how waterproof your gear might be. Early October can be glorious 'Indian summer' weather, or it can be pissing down. That said, dressing/packing for the chance of a later downpour on a warm August day isn't fun either.
posted by holgate at 9:24 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I always tell people to visit Scotland in April & October - they are always the loveliest months for some reason. The Lake District isn't too far away so I'd presume the same goes for that. However, the possibility of rain is always present - even in August.
posted by kariebookish at 10:13 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I like the Lakes better in Autumn; the views there are splendid and you'll see them much better on a clear day in October than you will in summer when it's hazy. It's going to rain anyway. If you're in the market for good rain gear then Ambleside has a pretty comprehensive selection.
posted by emilyw at 10:14 AM on November 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I just walked the Coast to Coast from St Bees to Robin Hoods Bay from Sept 14 to 27 this year. We walked through the area that you will visit. It's beautiful. There were still flowers. We had 3 hours of rain during our entire 2-week walk ( in Yorkshire ). There were few people on the trails.

Get good maps, it's easy to get lost up there. LOTS of paths cris-crossing. Bring good rain gear. Bring shorts and tshirts too - I wore mine for 10 of the 13 days. It was very warm there this year and I returned home with a deep tan.

Grasmere has many hiking shops if you forgot something. Also has a Co-op store and other supplies. It was very very warm there. Our hotel was stuffy as a result. Rosthwaite has no shops ( but has a good pub! ). Glen ridding is in a spectacular location and has the best ice cream I have ever had. The luggage transfer was efficient and done before we would stumble to our rooms.

I say go in October. Fewer people. Weather still reasonable. Grasmere will still have the tourist buses but the other towns will be quiet.

The Helvellyn area near Patterdale is spectacular. I've only had a taste and I long to return soon. Enjoy !!
posted by seawallrunner at 10:38 AM on November 21, 2014 [4 favorites]

I agree with holgate. You can't really predict the weather but you can predict when it's going to be insanely busy. I was there for a few days last week and the weather was ... variable. But it was reasonably quiet. All the towns and roads are tiny and I imagine it will be a bit manic at the peak times - August being one of them.
posted by neilb449 at 12:13 AM on November 22, 2014

October is also a school holiday if you go during half-term week.
posted by mippy at 7:46 AM on November 26, 2014

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