Barns near Borrowdale with a private bathroom

The pretty Borrowdale valley is a great base for a Lake District camping holiday.

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Barns near Borrowdale with a private bathroom guide

Overview

Borrowdale is a valley in the Lake District National Park in Cumbria, running between Derwent Water and Honister Pass, beneath Scafell Pike, England’s tallest mountain. The landscape here is typical of the region: craggy peaks, wooded valleys, clear rivers, and the remnants of industry. There are plenty of campsites across the Lake District, whether you’re looking for a place to pitch a tent or park a campervan, or fancy giving glamping a try. This valley specifically offers a few places to camp, especially in the village of Keswick at the northern end of Derwent Water. Elsewhere campers should expect mostly simple sites with limited facilities but fantastic views. 

Where to go

Lake District National Park

Borrowdale sits within the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO-listed park that’s home to deep glacial lakes and tall mountains—in fact, the deepest and highest, respectively, in England. Look for camping in the Borrowdale Valley and throughout the Lake District, where campers can choose between simple campsites, well-equipped holiday parks, log cabins, and cosy cottages. Hikers on long-distance walks should plan their routes carefully to camp at permitted sites, as wild camping isn’t generally allowed in the park.

Scafell Pike

The Borrowdale Valley sits at the bottom of England’s tallest mountain, the 3,209-foot Scafell Pike. Climbers and hikers are drawn to the peak and usually base themselves in nearby towns and valleys like Borrowdale and Eskdale. It’s also possible to wild camp on Scafell Pike, which offers great views across the rugged landscape. Be prepared with proper cold- and wet-weather gear, as conditions can be harsh at these higher altitudes.

Solway Coast AONB

Separated from Scotland by the Solway Firth and Channel of the River Esk, the expansive coastal area of the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is known for its cliffs, dunes, coastline, and wildlife. North of Borrowdale and the national park, there are several campsites and caravan parks along the coast and in the villages of the AONB, many of which offer great views of the firth and across to Scotland.

When to go

The Lake District is a year-round destination, but summer is the best time for camping. This is when the weather is warmest and driest, with very long days at this northern latitude. If visiting Borrowdale outside of summer, opt for a cabin or cottage rather than tent camping for peak comfort.

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