Eskdale is perhaps the prettiest of the unsung Lake District valleys, reached on a long and twisting drive from Ambleside, over the dramatic Hardknott Pass. It can also be accessed from the Cumbrian coast by the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – either route ends up in the heart of superb walking country around the dead-end hamlet of BOOT. Here, there’s an old mill to explore and several local hikes, not to mention the three-mile walk or drive back out of the valley to the superbly sited Hardknott Roman Fort (always open; free), which commands a strategic and panoramic position. There’s plenty of rustic, hideaway accommodation in Eskdale, including a great selection of old inns – if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-track stay in the rural western Lakes, with walks off the doorstep, you won’t find better.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

England features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

8 things you didn't know you could do in the UK

8 things you didn't know you could do in the UK

So you've gawked at the guards of Buckingham Palace, hiked up Snowdon and hit the beach – what next? From lethal motorcycle races to mountain towns that …

31 Jul 2015 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
This summer you can hire a sandcastle butler

This summer you can hire a sandcastle butler

You’ve dug a moat, successfully sculpted a mound higher than your knees and managed to drizzle a viscous mixture of sand and salt water over the château spir…

16 Jul 2015 • Colt St. George insert_drive_file Article
The best hostels in Europe

The best hostels in Europe

Taken from the Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget, here's our pick of the best hostels in Europe. Europe presents an irresistible challenge to the budget trav…

04 Mar 2015 • Site Editor insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month