Tarn Hows – An Icon Of The Lakes

Nestled deep within the English Lake District between the villages of Coniston and Hawkshead sits Tarn Hows, a beauty spot accessible to the masses.

Away from the big touristic lakes and towns but with car access by its side and the lack of need to trek or climb, it all adds to what has become a very popular spot in the summer.

You will find it is one of the most visited places in the Lake District and if you have ever been there you will know why.

Tarn Hows with winter mountains

BaldHiker Retreats

The walk around

I took the opportunity as ever to wander round this gorgeous escape before the big busy season and enjoy in a calm.

The path around Tarn Hows is only about 1.5 miles of well maintained unsteep path. It is very accessible for wheelcjairs. Perfect also for families, dog walks, picnics or relaxing in the fresh air.

There are of course upper paths to take if you would like a little uphill or some of the more expansive views.

winter at tarn hows
Tarn Hows reflections


Parking can be expensive if staying a day I must admit. I personally would park at many of the car parks that you see on the road leading to the place. There are many just before Coniston if coming from Ambleside.

Parking Postcode: LA22 0PP

If heading there from Hawkshead then there are laybys and small car parks on the road in. Both these options provide you with an extra couple of miles of beautiful walk to discover plus as you come over the hills overlooking the waterscape then the panoramas with mountain backdrops are a gorgeous extra.

Tarn trees and mountains

History of Tarn Hows

Once out and overlooking the tarn you sense immediately the beauty of the area and also how it is different from so many spots of the National Park.

In the 1800s this area was three separate open tarns more typical of what you see elsewhere in Cumbria.

The then owners enhanced the spot by artificially joining the tarns together forming the one bigger one and planted many varieties of conifer around. The beautiful tourist spot was created.

Tarn Hows and langdale pikes behind

In 1929, 4000 acres of the local land including Tarn Hows came up for sale. It was bought by Beatrix Potter whom sold half the land, that included Tarn Hows to the National Trust.

Beauty was thus preserved to this day.

lake district herdwick sheep

Rose Castle Cottage

Tarn Hows Rose castle cottage

Wandering just a couple of hundred metres from the track above you can find all sorts of hidden treasures like this lovely 19th Century cottage, Rose Castle Cottage.

The National Trust lets this out as a holiday cottage, miles from neighbours, a setting by Tarn Hows and modern gadgets inside. Away from it all.

reflections of trees on the tarn

Mountain Views

old man of coniston from tarn hows

It is a perfect place to relax by the calm water. A gorgeous Spring day with the remnants of winter clinging to The Old Man of Coniston and the Langdale Pikes in the background.

The backdrop here is immense. There can be fewer nicer spots to reflect in thought with reflections before you.

trees on tarn island
overview of tarn hows

Below: The iconic view overlooking Tarn Hows, one of the most photographed spots in the lake District.

I have mentioned Coniston Old man and The Langdale Pikes above but looking out the other way there are the great mountains of Helvellyn and the Eastern Fells.

Tarn Hows from above
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  1. Stephanie Burgess says:

    Breathtakingly beautiful!

  2. I have visited there couple years ago. Before I was really into photography. These photos have really captured some stunning scenery and surrounding area. Time to go back and re visit . Perfect pictures…perfect place.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      so kind Jackie, ty

  3. I was back ‘home’ recently and spent a day in the Lakes with my dad. I’d suggested Tarn Hows as I haven’t been there for years. My dad wouldn’t go, saying that he felt it was a all a bit ‘country park’ nowadays.

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Hi Alan, yes it is a lot more touristic lately.. best to go out of season to get more natural and wonderful feel

  4. Pete Hilton says:

    Paul, the photos are great and show the place off really well. It’s a great place to take a walk and the views are superb. We quite often go there on the morning we travel home. A circuit and a bacon butter from the van that’s nearly always parked there fill a morning up perfectly. I’m pretty sure that it’s free to park for National Trust members too.

  5. Wild Florida Airboats says:

    Beautiful photos Paul!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      Thx so very much

  6. A Luxury Travel Blog says:

    Lovely photos, Paul… we seem to be enjoying some beautiful cool, crisp days in Cumbria at the moment.

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