Best time to visit England

Hardknott Pass in England

This scenic road is one of the steepest in England

Hardknott Pass
Hardknott Pass
Hardknott Pass
Hardknott Pass
Hardknott Pass

Hardknott Pass is a hilly single-track road between Eskdale and the Duddon Valley located in the Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England. Surfaced with tarmac, the road connects the scenic central Lake District with West Cumbria and has a maximum gradient of 33%, being one of the steepest in England. The name of the road derives from the Old Norse harthr (hard) and knutr (craggy hill). The Romans built the first road over the Hardknott Pass in 110 AD.

Despite the challenging geography of the road, it is very popular with cyclists and motorcyclists. It is included in the annual Fred Whitton Challenge, a 180-km (112-mi) bicycle ride around the Lake District. It boasts beautiful views and several landmarks like the remains of the Roman Fort. From the highest point of Hardknott Pass, the height of 393 m (1,289 ft), one can see The Isle of Man on a clear day. The eastern part of the road features the Cockley Beck farm, which dates all the way back to the 1860s.

A few hairpin bends make Hardknott Pass somewhat challenging. It's often closed during winter months due to snow and icy condition which make it extremely dangerous. It's also worth to remember that traffic ascending the pass has the right of way. There are also a few narrow sections, barely wide enough for two cars. Commercial and heavier vehicles are advised not to use this road.

Practical info

What is the maximum gradient of Hardknott Pass?

Hardknott Pass's gradient reaches 33% and it is known to be one of the steepest roads in England. Drivers are advised to navigate this challenging pass with care, and it is only recommended for advanced cyclists and motorcyclists. The route itself offers stunning views of the landscape, making the journey worthwhile for those seeking scenic routes. Show more

When was the first road built over Hardknott Pass and who built it?

The Romans constructed Hardknott Pass's first road in 110 AD. This historic road is still in use, connecting the forts of Mediobogdum and Alavna, located in the area. The road was repaired over time to accommodate the modern transportation demands. Its continued use is a testament to the Romans' construction abilities and their influence on the region's development. Show more

What is the best time to visit Hardknott Pass in England?

The period between April and October is an ideal time to visit Hardknott Pass in England, due to the mild weather conditions and the road's general availability. During winter, the pass is frequently closed due to snow and ice, making it unsafe for drivers and cyclists. Visitors are encouraged to check weather reports as other factors may also render the pass unusable outside of winter. Show more

Can all types of vehicles use Hardknott Pass?

Due to its narrow, winding, and challenging nature, Hardknott Pass is not suitable for all types of vehicles. Commercial and heavier vehicles should avoid using this road. Only experienced drivers who can navigate such steep and challenging terrain should do so. Cyclists and motorcyclists are advised to use appropriate safety gear when using the pass. Show more

What landmarks can be seen from the highest point of Hardknott Pass on a clear day?

The highest point of Hardknott Pass, which sits at 393 meters (1289 feet) above sea level, affords visitors sweeping views of the surrounding scenery. From here, one can see landmarks as far as the coast of The Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. The Roman Fort's remains are also visible along with its footpaths connecting it to Eskdale. Show more

Ask a question

Find hotels and airbnbs near Hardknott Pass (Map)

Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin