How to spend 48hrs in England’s Alice In Wonderland – Lake District
Updated: Jul 17
It’s nearly impossible to experience the green depths of the breathtaking highlands of the Lake District - in just 48hrs. It is a place that embodies endless opportunity for adventure and is the very source of inspiration for some of our most legendary fairy tales, Alice In Wonderland.
In order to maximise your time within this awe-inspiring National Park, I recommend sticking to areas such as Lake Windermere, Derwent Water but if you’re really game enough - you could try to hike England’s highest mountain?
"Now you may be thinking England has mountains? Yes, you heard right and one worth climbing too."
Although it may appear modest with most Canadian’s or Swiss hikers questioning whether England’s highest mountain (Scarfell Pike) is classified as a....well a mountain – at only 978 metres. This does not mean the climb to the top should not be underestimated nor underprepared. It is a steep hike which involves some scrambling over hard terrain not to mention you need to be mindful of seasonal weather conditions such as snow or poor visibility during late Autumn and Winter. So, remember to check the mountain forecast and wear the correct clothing and equipment.
But if you plan it right, you will witness that Scarfell Pike truly embodies a captivating mix of lush and rocky jaggered character, topped off with a spectacular 360-degree panoramic view.
In fact, you can even see neighbouring Scotland.
So, if you are wanting to hit two countries with one hike, you may finally realise Scarfell Pike to be a mountain worth conquering after all.
You can begin your English summit climb at multiple starting points – Wasdale Head (the most popular & shortest), Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale, Boot in Eskdale or Seathwaite in Borrowdale. With Wasdale Head being the most popular, it offers a car park costing around £6.50 for non-members, meaning you may have to rise and shine before 9 am, during peak season. Having said this, I recommend camping nearby the night before, giving you the golden opportunity to take a refreshing morning dip in England’s deepest-crystallised Lake, Wastwater - laying at the very doorstep of Scarfell Pike.
With Wasdale Head only covering 5km up and down it is the shortest route and should only take you 4-5hrs due to the deep steepness of the rocky trail. But if you are wanting to push yourself that extra mile, Seathwaite in Borrowdale, Boot in Esdale or Dungeon Ghyll in Great Langdale are significantly longer, varying from 8.8km to 12km each way. Although they are known to be more picturesque and enduring, the most fairest of them all is Borrowdale.
To prepare yourself, I have outlined the top 5 tips before attempting to climb England’s’ highest mountain:
Wear proper hiking boots and a waterproof jacket – Gortex is a good choice!
Bring a map & compass, this is essential – we don’t want to wander over any cliff sides, do we?
There are no cafes so pack your own food and hydration - you will thank me once you are at the top!
Keep in mind no phone signal – but bring it anyway to take some stunning landscape shots!
5. Check the weather report before you ascend for extreme weather warnings – this is important as there has been a report of fatalities when there was, poor visibility conditions!
Through my quest in hiking England’s highest mountain, I was lucky enough to have a local English friend whom I met during her ski season in Australia. It was inevitable as ski bunnies for our desire to climb the highest peak, even if it meant not being able to ride back down. I will not lie; the incline was pretty persistent and our calves were most definably burning as we reached the elevated rocky trail higher up.
But with a local guide to give you the grand mountainous tour, I thought I’d share 4 fun local facts.
Scarfell Pike has formed over 450 million years ago and was donated to the National Trust in 1919 by Lord Leconfield to honour the men of first world war
The longest route is Langdale to Scarfell Pike being 22.5 km taking 8-9hrs
Scarfell Pike is home to the highest standing water in England, known as Broad Crag Tarn – 2,7000 ft south of the summit.
England is one of the very few countries that allow the right to roam with over 3,203km of rights to explore in the Lake District alone!
Now you may be wondering, how did this so-called “mountain” come to form in the nation renowned for their lush, flat and green countryside. Their high peaks with sparkling deep lakes in the Lake District was a result of a volcanic eruption that happened over nearly 400 million years ago. It produced a total of fourteen lakes and tarns, combined with its high rainfall and deep glacial valleys resulted in these large volumes of water stored higher up in altitude.
"There is no wonder it has earned itself the fitting title as Lake District."
This also transcends into the overwhelming views of bright to dark greens and hues of the blue open sky. Not to mention the thriving wildflowers that sprout through scattered patches of grass. It is an inspiring destination rich in cultural offerings, born to some of the most notable creative talents who continue to live out to be our greatest childhood stories.
With over 2292 square kilometres to discover by foot, you can explore valleys, woodlands, high peaks, and deep sparkling lakes, let alone climb England’s highest mountain rewarded by its unspoiled panoramic views.
I encourage you to feast your eyes on one of England’s most scenic gems and their prized mountain Scarfell Pike, who knows this legendary Lake District might just inspire you to write the next chapter of Alice In Wonderland! Either that or you will finally accept that England does, in fact, have a “mountain” and one that is all too tempting not to pass up.
Now, are you ready to get lost in Alice In Wonderland!
By Marika Suzuki