Great Langdale The National Trust

UK England North West England Cumbria Grasmere

  • Laundry
  • Dogs welcome
  • Groups welcome
  • Short walk to pub
  • Good walks nearby
A truly tranquil treasure in the heart of classic Lake District scenery

In this most spectacular of areas, where grand views lurk around every corner, it’s possible to become blasé and complacent, to grow almost immune to the beauty of these great pyramids of rock and the vast, flat pools of water shimmering with the reflection of blue skies.

If you’re feeling all ‘laked-out’, the perfect tonic has to be an excursion into the serene valley of Great Langdale, where the attraction isn’t lake-based, but a countryside dominated by two modest but distinctive peaks: the Langdale Pikes.

Pike O’Stickle (709 metres) and its loftier neighbour Harrison Stickle (736 metres) are Lake District landmarks. Although by no means the tallest in these parts, they’re an attractive pair, joined at the shoulder like giant Siamese twins. For many people, their first glimpse of the ‘Langdales’ comes when approaching Lake Windermere from the east – the peaks rise up majestically in the distance behind the lake, creating a distinctive backdrop and forming part of a classic, picture-perfect Lakeland scene.

To get closer to the Pikes, leave the town of Ambleside to the west and instead of following the traffic on the main road towards Coniston Water, take a right at Skelwith Bridge village to head straight down the Langdale Valley. There are noticeably fewer tourists in this valley as it isn’t on the A-list of Lakeland destinations. Just as the twists and turns finish and the road looks as if it might taper off into a narrow footpath, you’ll find Great Langdale Campsite. This glorious National Trust site is set in a wooded glen at the head of the valley and consists of several small, grassy camping areas around an undergrowth-shielded beck. Impressive peaks and slopes surround the site on all sides: you really feel like you’re in the true heart of the Lake District here.

Great Langdale is a typical National Trust campsite: well-organised, efficiently run, with just the right facilities and set in some of England’s finest scenery. Cars aren’t allowed in the camping areas, but none of the pitches are far enough for that to be a problem. The wood-fronted shower blocks contain plenty of facilities in school-style rows of cubicles. There’s also a drying room to stash rain-damp walking clothes and boots overnight, a very handy extra.

As you would expect, the walking from here is first-class. A map is available from reception, outlining four easy walks around the valley, each between three and seven miles in length. But despite being tempted by these steady rambles across meadows, woodlands and river banks, many visitors are keen to go for glory and conquer the Langdale Pikes. The start and end point for the ascent is at the New Dungeon Ghyll pub off the main valley road, just a few minutes’ walk from the campsite. It’s named after Dungeon Ghyll, a deep cleft that dissects the pikes on the slopes above, creating a 100 foot waterfall and a protected area for alpine flowers to flourish in. You’ll pass it as you shin up the path on the nine-mile round-trip to the peaks.

It’s also possible to walk to Scafell Pike from here and on to another Cool Camping site at Wasdale Head. Scafell may be the tallest and most brag-worthy peak to conquer in these fells, but the Langdales are just as rewarding. You also get double the fun: two peaks for the price of one. Not a bad day’s work, and definitely worth a pint – or two – at the Dungeon.

Details

Facilities

2 large shower-and-toilet blocks. Well-stocked shop; laundry facilities. Off-the-ground BBQs fine, but no campfires. Bread oven for freshly baked bread in the mornings.

Suitable For

Tents, trailer-tents, campervans, organised groups, dogs – yes. Caravans, large parties – no.

Nearby

Easy walks around the valley shown on a map available from reception, while many visitors conquer the Langdale Pikes – the starting-point for which is just a few minutes’ walk from the campsite.

Food & Drink

There are three good pubs within 10 minutes’ walk of the campsite: Sticklebarn (01539 437356), The Old Dungeon Ghyll (015394 37272) and The New Dungeon Ghyll (015394 37213). Our favourite is the ‘ODG’, a legendary Lakeland pub famous for its Walker’s Bar, where a roaring fire and a fine selection of ales are perfect for walk-weary hikers. The landlord is quite handy on the violin, so rowdy, impromptu nights of music are common. Sticklebarn is also well worth a pit stop. Like the campsite it is owned by the national trust who provide tasty local food and ales and make sure every penny goes back into looking after this incredible valley.

Opening Times

All year.

The Owner Says

Located at the head of Great Langdale valley, nestled below the towering Langdale Pikes, Great Langdale Campsite is surrounded by some of the best walking and climbing routes in the Lake District. It’s an ideal base for those looking for outdoor adventure and is open all year round.

In addition to the standard amenities you’d expect to find such as a shop, shower blocks, laundry and drying facilities, we also have a bouldering wall, bike hire, a children’s adventure play area and an orienteering course on site.

As well as a range of tent pitches, the campsite also has nine camping pods for those looking for a little extra comfort, especially on a cold night. Remember you can book ahead online, so there’s no need to worry about rushing up after work hoping there’s a pitch still available. Pre-booking is essential for the pods.

When you arrive on site, you’ll find our staff are keen to help you make the most of your stay with us. Please feel free to ask for advice about what there is to see and do in the local area.

As a National Trust campsite, your fees contribute to our conservation projects in the valley, so your stay directly helps to look after the stunning countryside you’ll enjoy whilst you’re here.

Don't forget to pop into our pub - the Sticklebarn, a few minutes' walk away.

Location

Contact Great Langdale, Great Langdale, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9JU

Show Map

Getting There

Take the A593 from Ambleside. At Skelwith Bridge, turn right onto the B5343. The campsite is six miles down this road; look out for the sign on the left after the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel.

Using public transport, take the train to Windermere, then the 599 bus to Ambleside, where you can pick up the Langdale Rambler. The 516 bus from Ambleside stops a 5-minute walk from the site, for times call 0871 200 2233.

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