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Van Life In The Lake District

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The concept of van life has always been around, it’s not something new. Even if you’ve only just started hearing about it over the last few years. The idea has become a lot more mainstream and van life is an ambition for many of us who seek something a little more adventurous out in the wild world. So why not go on an adventure and try van life in the Lake District.

Before deciding if van life could be for you, part time or full time, why not test run the experience first. Find out how you get on with living in a smaller, more compacted space. Quirky Campers, the Airbnb of converted vans, is the ideal company to hire a van from and start your adventure here in the UK.

Why The Lakes

A truly idyllic location for anyone who loves an outdoor adventure. From gazing into the endless horizon of mountains, dipping your toes into the cool lake waters. Hiking up to snow capped peaks and scrambling across ridges, searching for hidden waterfalls. I could go on… but basically, to be in awe that somewhere like this exists in our beautiful country of England. What better way to see this stunning part of the world than by getting up close and out in the wild with a van life experience in the Lake District.

Van life in the lake district, a sunset behind it in the mountains

Pro’s of Van Life

Okay, so where do I start…the idea of an adventure should excite you before even picking up your van! 


  • No ties to one/two locations therefor having the ability to roam freely and respectfully.
  • Visit a different location everyday without having to return back to a hotel. 
  • Park up, explore and return to some home comforts, a change of clothes, a hot drink and a bed.
  • Embrace being outside and amongst nature, being in the middle of nowhere with only a couple of other people around…if you’re lucky.


  • The fact that sometimes you don’t need a lot of material things or fancy additions to have an amazing experience. 


  • Stay at campsites with other like minded people, take advantage of filling up on water or taking a hot shower. 

Potential Con’s of Van Life


  • Finding places to park (this just needs a little prior research).
  • Driving a big van (practice, practice and soon it’ll be like riding a bike!).
  • The Lakes particularly are full of single roads and beautiful passes meaning driving can involve a lot of pulling over, waiting for cars to pass – but the journey isn’t always easy to the most beautiful spots. 


  • Living in a much smaller, confined space, so make sure you go with someone you are comfortable living within close quarters.


  • Toilet and shower situation, yes okay so this can be a huge con for some but pick a van to suit you. Maybe an outdoor tap shower will suffice you or perhaps a full built in shower and toilet is for you. Regardless, a few well planned stops in pubs or campsites is how most overcome this potential barrier. 

Where To Park

Finding that perfect parking spot for the night can sometimes take some research, use apps like Park4Night or WikiCamps. Although more often than not hidden gems can be found too, if you keep your eyes peeled – maybe that waterfall you visited earlier looked like an ideal spot for the night.

A few things to remember though, you’re in a large van, park somewhere out of the way. Consider how close you want to be to a road, passing traffic, safety. A lot of car parks in England will not allow overnight parking, and a lot are run by the National Trust in The Lakes. Be respectful, consider some factors when deciding where to stay:

  • Is the car park already filled with other vans and campers – look for somewhere off the beaten track, don’t crowd an already crowded space!
  • Pay your National Trust parking fee to help support the area.
  • If you do stay somewhere you’re not sure you should, then leave no trace of your stay. That means take home all your rubbish!!! I saw countless rubbish bags left by parking meters – its disgusting!
  • Move on after one/two nights to avoid leaving a ‘footprint’.
Camper van parked up in the mountains

Campsites or Stealth Camping

Just because you have a fully kitted out van doesn’t mean you can’t stay at campsites too. With the security, social aspect, facilities and connivence, sometimes a campsite will be the best option. The hike to Helvellyn began with us staying the night at Gillside Campsite because the start of the walk began just outside the campsite. With the campsite having hot showers too this was a no brainer.

For a wilder side, opt for a bit of stealth camping in quiet, off the beaten track locations. In the height of summer you may struggle to find a place to park for just yourself. So enjoy exploring out of season and the lack of people which is all part of the fun of a little van life in the Lake District, those moments to be away from everything.