Looking for a peaceful, less touristy spot to admire the spectacular spring bluebell display here in the Lake District? Then look no further! Many of the places we list below are considerably quieter than the more popular spots and there is a good chance that you will be able to enjoy a beautiful bluebell display all by yourself. Bluebells typically flower in May, but the topsy-turvy weather in February 2019 has led some plants to emerge early with some flowers having been spotted as early as the end of March this year.

A couple of years ago we wrote about the five best places to see bluebells in the Lake District and it’s fair to say that these places still offer wonderful displays. However, our top spot went to Rannerdale in Buttermere, and sadly, in recent years, there has been a 25% reduction in the iconic flowers as a result of visitors trampling on the delicate plants. The National Trust who own the land are monitoring the situation and are considering if any steps are needed to preserve the flowers for future generations. It may now be that fencing will be required. It goes without saying though that if you are planning to visit Rannerdale this year, then please do take great care to stick to the paths.

But if you're happy to enjoy a bluebell display in a quieter, lesser known area, then why not check out some of these wonderful alternatives? 

Great Wood

Bluebells in the Wood

Bluebells in Great Wood

Great Wood can be found on the eastern side of Derwent Water. This side of the lake is often overlooked in favour of the western side where you will find the iconic Cat Bells and the jetties at Brandelhow and Lingholm. As a result, it tends to be slightly quieter. The ancient woodland is filled with native species and there are a number of trails that meander through it. In the spring, much of the woodland is carpeted in bluebells.

There is a National Trust car park here, but if you are up for a walk, then you can walk from Keswick along the north-eastern shore of Derwent Water down to Calfclose Bay, passing the Millennium Stones on route. Re-join the road at Calfclose Bay and cross over to enter Great Wood. Alternatively, we have a delightful walking route that will take you to through the wood and to the summit of Walla Crag where you will be rewarded with fabulous views of Derwent Water.

Newclose Wood, Near Windermere

The Turning into Newclose Wood

Newclose Wood will be covered in bluebells this spring

Spring in the Lake District is a truly glorious time, but that does mean that it is a popular place for tourists to visit. It can therefore be hard to find moments of solitude. This is especially true in places where bluebells are in abundance, as they attract hundreds of visitors, enamoured by their beauty. Sometimes there is great pleasure in solitude, especially when surrounded by natural beauty. This is why we have chosen to mention Newclose Wood near Windermere. The wood can be found just off Mirk Lane, a bridleway / farm track that runs between the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole, and Holbeck Lane that takes you to the village of Troutbeck above Lake Windermere.

It’s a small piece of woodland but in the spring, it is carpeted in bluebells. It is also a fairly quiet spot, so there is a good chance you will have the woods to yourself when you visit. The woods are not too far from Skelghyll Wood near Ambleside where there are more bluebells, so you could do a walk between the two. Alternatively, we have a family friendly walking guide available here that includes a visit to Brockhole and Townend.

Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood, Staveley

Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood

Dorothy Farrer's Spring Wood (Photo thanks to cumbriawildlifetrust.org.uk)

A little known nature reserve outside of Staveley in the south-eastern Lake District provides another quiet spot to enjoy a bluebell display. Dorothy Farrer’s Spring Wood is actually comprised of three woodlands, each one given to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust at various points in the last century. The trust has carefully managed the woodland through the use of coppicing and deer exclusion in order to create a patch of land that is rich in wildlife. Along with carpets of bluebells in the spring, visitors to the woodland may find foxgloves, wild garlic, and orchids in abundance.

The woodland is also a birdwatcher’s paradise, with woodpeckers, willow warblers, and many other species choosing to make the area their home. The woodland is accessed via a path that leads from the road through a field. A Google Map link is available here. Alternatively, the OS grid reference for the woodland is SD 482 984. Entry is free but donations to the Cumbria Wildlife Trust are always welcome.

Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

Bluebells at Muncaster Castle

Bluebells at Muncaster Castle (Photo thanks to Muncaster Castle)

If you want to combine a visit to a bluebell wood with a larger day out to an attraction then consider a visit to Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass. This ancient castle sits within acres and acres of landscaped gardens and natural woodland, and it’s in these woods that you will find one of the best displays of bluebells in the county.

The woodland paths can be steep and uneven, but the spectacular display is certainly worth the effort. The gardens of the castle are brimming with other flowers in the spring, including rhododendrons and azaleas. The castle grounds also have play areas and are home to a hawk and owl centre where you can get up close to a range of birds of prey.

Hesket Newmarket

The Woodland and the River

Hesket Newmarket will be brimming with bluebells this spring!

It’s difficult to escape the crowds in the Lake District in spring but there are a few secret spots that the locals like to keep for themselves. The woodland north of Hesket Newmarket is one such space. A short walk, just under a mile from the village will take you to a delightful small woodland that is carpeted with bluebells in the spring. Almost entirely encircled by two rivers, the woodland is brimming with wildlife, with wild garlic and woodland anemones also found here in abundance.

It’s not easy to reach, especially if you are staying in the central Lake District, but if you want to enjoy a picnic in a peaceful and beautiful bluebell wood then this is the ideal spot. You can find out how to access this woodland with our family friendly walking guide available here. This guide also includes a visit to the pretty village of Caldbeck that has a number of charming gift shops.