Go outside of school holidays. Eat like a horse and walk it off schlepping up, up and down brooding Wastwater. It feels remote and a touch bleak with shale cascading down off the steep screes into the country’s deepest lake. This is far from any twee Beatrix Potter-ville.
The Drunken Duck Inn, cupped in a mini valley is an oasis of calm and tranquility with great food and service. Ambleside does make a good base for exploring the Lakes (and has a great cinema with three screeens squirelled across the town in different spaces), so you could check into one of the Duck’s own rooms. L’Enclume is a sublime restaurant at the south of the region – you’ll be teleported to some far flung corner of France upon entering the pared back stone interior. The food is nudging experimental so there’s plenty of scope to play with your food. You could combine a visit with a trip to Cartmel’s famous races but you don’t want to get so trashed you can’t remember dinner. Levens Hall is also located at the south end of the national park – live out all your Alice in Wonderland fantasies in their spectacular topiary garden. But no flamingoes sadly.