By Rachael Parkin
Whatever the weather - be it big, blue skies and glorious sunshine, a sparkling white winter-wonderland, or (and this is the most likely), a leaden sky, heavy with dark, brooding rain-filled clouds - the Lake District has some of the most photogenic locations any enthusiastic Instagrammer could ever wish for.
With fabulous photo opportunities at every turn it’s virtually impossible to narrow them down to just a few but here we have compiled a list of several of the most Instagrammable locations the area has to offer.
1. Scafell Pike Summit
What better place to Instagram from than the roof-top of England. A 2-3 hour hike from Wasdale will earn you the right to, quite literally, look down on everyone else as you stand proudly on England’s highest peak, surrounded by breath-taking views in every direction and with the rest of the Lake District sprawled out beneath you - on a clear day you can even see as far as the Isle of Man and Scotland. Just remember to stay safe, wear the correct footwear and always check, and dress for, the weather.
2. Wasdale/Wast Water
If you don’t fancy ascending over 3,200 feet on foot for a photo opportunity then fear not for an arguably even better vista can be found without the need to even get out of your car – just park up and admire the simply incredible view which has been voted the best in England! The single track road which winds its way up the Wasdale Valley towards Wast Water does little to prepare you for what you are about to see – turn a corner and then suddenly there it is: Great Gable, Scafell and all their lofty neighbours standing majestically above England’s deepest lake. You won’t be able to stop looking – or taking pictures.
3. Orrest Head Viewpoint
Orrest Head is a small fell but the short, 20-minute climb reaps big rewards. The first fell climbed by Alfred Wainwright as a child and his reason for his life-long devotion to the Lakes, Orrest Head, climbed from nearby Windermere train station, delivers a panoramic view of Windermere and its surrounding fells with superb photo opportunities to be had in every direction. There’s also a helpful information plaque which maps fells to show you just what it is you are looking at.
4. Cathedral Cavern, Little Langdale
Cathedral Quarries are a series of caves and tunnels created by hundreds of years of mining activity in the Coniston area. The centre-piece is the spectacular Cathedral Cavern with its distinctive slate pillar, rich in photographic opportunities. The cave was used for the filming of Snow White and the Huntsman and, whilst sadly you are unlikely to stumble across Chris Hemsworth during your particular visit, you can still marvel at the dramatic surroundings of this truly unique location.
5. Blea Tarn
Fancy recreating the opening sequence to BBC1’s Countryfile? Then pack your swimmers (or at the very least a towel) and head off to Blea Tarn. With the Langdale Pikes forming the backdrop, this serene mountain lake with movie-star good looks is a haven for wildlife and a photographer’s dream. Bring a picnic and spend the day soaking up the atmosphere of this stunning spot.
6. Castlerigg Stone Circle
The stone circle at Castlerigg near Keswick is among the earliest British circles, dating from around 3000 BC. It is also one of the most atmospheric, with a mountainous backdrop just made for photographing. (Note: also worth a visit is the much less frequented but no less impressive Swinside Stone Circle near Broughton-in-Furness towards the south of the county – just as picturesque but the only thing guaranteed to photo-bomb your pictures will be grazing locals of the woolly variety.)
7. Striding Edge
Not one for the faint-hearted Striding Edge is one of the most iconic locations in the Lakes. Set off early to beat the crowds and have the best chance of getting this popular ridge route to Helvellyn summit to yourself. Famous and infamous in equal measure for good reason; scenery unbeatable in its drama and beauty paired with a challenging scramble not without its dangers. (Note: it’s also worth bearing in mind that Helvellyn can also be climbed up the grassy slopes of the western, Thirlmere side, avoiding Striding Edge but still providing a stunning view of both Striding and Swirral Edges from the summit – it’s not even cheating!)
8. Aira Force Waterfall
Aira Force is a thundering, 65-metre waterfall, accessed via wooded trails which weave their way up from the shores of Ullswater to this powerful awe-inspiring natural spectacle. Stand back and snap-away – this photo opportunity is too good to miss. (Note: Aira Force is just one of many waterfalls within the Lake District – other impressive falls worthy of a visit, and a photograph, include Stock Ghyll Force at Ambleside and Stanley Ghyll Force in Eskdale)
9. Tarn Hows
Tarn Howes is one of the most scenically beautiful, and yet accessible locations in the Lakes. Once owned by Beatrix Potter it was created in the 19th Century by the construction of a damn which merged 3 smaller tarns together. This formed the Tarn Hows that is now known and enjoyed by its many visitors each year. And, as the meandering 1.5-mile path around the tarn is both push-chair and wheelchair friendly, this stunning landscape which really does have it all; glistening water, hazy mountains and shaded woodland can be enjoyed, and photographed, by everybody.
10. Friar’s Crag, Keswick
Framed by perfectly shaped trees and a conveniently located bench perfect for posing on, this view of Derwentwater from Keswick is simply spectacular. A short walk from the centre of Keswick along the shoreline brings you to this picture perfect spot; a viewing platform with an unbeatable view of Derwentwater, Catbells and the surrounding Northern Fells. Energetic types can also carry on from here to complete the 10-mile circular walk around Derwentwater, which offers even more in the way of stunning scenery. You won’t want to leave – but at least you can re-live the moment forever in your photos.