The Rannerdale Bluebells

by | Destinations, England | 9 comments

Wondering where the best place to see bluebells is? Look no further than Rannerdale Knotts! Rannerdale is the best place to see bluebells in the Lake District – and possibly within England.

This area is one of my favourite places to hike at any time of year and there are some fabulous trails around Buttermere and Crummock Water. However, when the bluebells are out, it is simply breathtaking. The valley is just covered with a vibrant bluey-purple carpet! My photos do not do it justice.

View over Rannerdale bluebells with gorse in foreground

Where is Rannerdale Knotts?

Rannerdale Knotts is one of the smaller fells in the Lake District. It is located above Buttermere and Crummock Water. The narrow road (the B5289) runs alongside both lakes and Rannerdale Knotts is on the other side of the road from the water. It can be approached either from the Buttermere end or the Crummock Water end.

When is the best time to see the bluebells at Rannerdale?

The bluebells usually start flowering late in April and continue through May. It can vary of course from year to year depending on what the weather has been like.

How best to see the bluebells at Rannerdale

We usually choose to park along by Crummock Water and there are a few small carparks, as well as some on-road parking (although the road is narrow so these spots have to be carefully selected). There is National Trust Parking in Buttermere village.

Parking near Crummock Water has the advantage that the trail from there leads directly to the bluebell valley. The trail is well marked and the lower part of it, where the bluebells are prolific, is roped to deter people from going into the flowers and trampling them. The trail at this lower part of Rannerdale is quite easy and the bluebells are spectacular.

Bluebells with trees in the background in Rannerdale

Bluebells with trees in the background

Bluebells on rocky landscape in Rannerdale

Bluebells with mountain in background

Rannerdale bluebells with hill in background

If one continues further up the trail, climbing a stile and heading uphill, there are more bluebell fields, but the track becomes steeper and a little more challenging. It is nothing that a reasonably fit person cannot manage, however.

Rannerdale Bluebells in the distance covering large area

Bluebells with fell behind

Rannerdale Bluebells in field with sheep

Hiking over Rannerdale Knotts

The bluebells are fairly low on the fell, but leaving them behind, there is the option of a fabulous hiking trail here. Carry on up the trail and on to the ridge, high over Crummock Water. This forms a loop back to the bluebell valley and is well worth doing as the views are magnificent. One can see right down Buttermere to Haystacks and the whole of Crummock Water. Lowes Water is also visible in the distance. Even on the fairly cloudy bluebell day I took these photos, the views are wonderful. On a sunny day, they are superb.

View over lake to mountains

View over Buttermere to Haystacks on a cloudy May day

Reflection in lake of mountains

View over Buttermere to Haystacks on a gorgeous November day. This is one of my favourite photographs!

View over two lakes and mountains

View over Crummock (foreground) and Buttermere from Rannerdale Knotts

Stone cairn with lake in background

Same view from the summit of Rannerdale Knotts

View over lake with smaller lake in background

View from Rannerdale Knotts over Crummock Water in the other direction. Lowes Water in the distance.

The trail is relatively straightforward with some up and down and several false summits, but eventually, it heads back down to the road. This is the most challenging part of the trail as it is very steep downhill with rough-hewn steps.

Steep rocky steps with border collie

I would not like to slip on this rocky downhill slope. It would, of course, be possible to tackle this route in the other direction (anti-clockwise), going up this steep part rather than down. At another time in the year I might prefer to do this, but when the bluebells are out, it is difficult not to go to see them first!

Final thoughts on visiting the Rannerdale Bluebells

Because the bluebells only bloom for a few weeks each year, the area can become quite busy at this time. Who would not want to see this fantastic display? For this reason, a week day is preferable to a weekend or bank holiday and getting there early is best for parking.

And it goes without saying: don’t trample the flowers or be tempted to pick them. Everyone wants to enjoy them!

National Trust signpost explaining rules

Other places to see bluebells in England?

Tell me your favourite places in the comments! I would love to know.

There are lots of other posts about the Lake District on the website. Here are some of them you may like to check out:






Ennerdale Water views

Ennerdale Water and the Cumbrian Coast



If you enjoyed this post, please share!

Pin image




  1. It’s so fascinating to learn about these beautiful flowers and the breathtaking scenery they create. I can’t wait to visit and witness the magic in person.

  2. I would love to see these fields of Bluebells for myself! So beautiful and this is right up my alley! This is the kind of stuff I love…. nature is everything 😉

  3. This is the kind of post that makes me homesick! Such a lovely time of year in England 😍

    • It is indeed!

  4. Such a pretty sight! And I can see why you love that photo of the reflection…pure perfection! The Lake District certainly looks like a beautiful place to visit 🙂

    • Thanks, Linda. Yes, we are so lucky to live here.

  5. I must admit that I have never seen bluebells in bloom. It would be lovely to hike at Rannerdale Knotts when they are in season. It certainly would be breathtaking! Good to know the path is well marked for wandering. And such a beautiful setting for this colourful display.

  6. We have always wanted to visit Lake District since I hear about it in school on English classes. And this article is helped me decide when to visit it. It is absolutely fantastic site with bluebells!

    • Well worth the trip! It is one of the best times of the year to visit the English Lake District.


Please leave a comment. Your email address will not be published. Comments are held in moderation before being published in the blog.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jane profile pic


Hello!  I’m Jane. I live in the Lake District in the north of England with my husband, Peter. We love to travel, but this is a great place to call home.

We gave up work in order to travel and do all the things we were not able to do in our careers. We know we are incredibly lucky to be able to do this.

We are quite active and love skiing, hiking, biking, exploring etc, but we also enjoy history, art, music, science…..and good food and wine! In this blog, you will find articles on all of these subjects as we discover them on our travels.

Please subscribe to the blog. You will only receive an email letting you know when there is a new post. I would love to have your feedback and hear about your experiences.

Thank you!


Meet Jasper, our border collie!

Jane and Peter with black and white dog on rocky landscape


All photos & content are © Jane Frith and may not be used without permission. (Sharing this blog post on social media is appreciated though!)

Follow us on Social Media