The Lake District
The Lake District, Cumbria
The Lake District (or ‘Lakeland’ as it’s locally known) is a region of incredible scenic beauty and is by far the UK’s most popular national park.
With its sky-piercing peaks and rugged valleys overlooking deep, glassy lakes, the Lake District, in the county of Cumbria, is a playground for those in love with the great outdoors. And whilst the stunning scenery of this northwestern part of England is its greatest draw, others come for its strong literary connections and rich historic heritage.
The Lake District provides a wealth of opportunities to enjoy healthy outdoor activities, with more than 2,000 miles (3,200 km) of walking and cycling trails to explore, and 12 of England’s largest lakes just waiting to be canoed, kayaked, swam and sailed in.
Hiking doesn’t get much more epic than on England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, which rises some 978 metres (3,208.5 feet) above sea level. With its steep crags and jaw-dropping views, it’s not one for the faint hearted, but the sense of elation when you reach the top is unlike any other experience.
Cruise on England’s largest natural lake, Lake Windermere, just 1.5 hours from Manchester International Airport. Chugging along at a leisurely pace on a traditional steam boat, you’re given plenty of time to soak up the picture perfect panoramas. Alight along the shore to weave your way through tranquil woodlands or stop to savour a picnic overlooking the lake’s shining waters.
Those happiest getting around on two wheels can take the Windermere West Shore Cycle Trail, a traffic-free cycle lane hugging the lake’s shoreline for 4 miles (6km) of gently undulating off-road trail. Adventurous cyclists should head to Grizedale Forest where they can test their mettle on any number of challenging climbs and adrenalin-pumping descents.
The Lake District’s historic heritage ranges from prehistoric and Roman through to stately homes and gardens set in stunning landscape. Discover Hadrian’s Wall, part of the northern frontier of the Roman Empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The impressive 80 mile (129km) long corridor can be followed on foot or via the AD122 Hadrian’s Wall Country Bus, which stops at forts, sites, museums and galleries along the way.
For those looking to travel a little further afield, Cumbria’s coastline in the western part of the Lake District is an area of rugged beauty where the mountains meet the sea. Take a day trip to the small coastal village of Ravenglass to check out the Roman baths before riding the Ravenglass & Eskdale heritage railway through seven miles of spectacular scenery.
Visit the former homes of the many poets, writers and artists who were inspired here. Poke around the cramped interiors of Dove Cottage in the timeless village of Grasmere, where the 19th century poet William Wordsworth wrote his famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud. And don’t miss out on a chance to visit Hill Top, the beloved holiday home owned by the children’s author Beatrix Potter.
A distinctive and high quality range of food and drink is also on offer. Taste traditional Lakeland specialities from the world famous Grasmere Gingerbread, Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding and, of course, the walker’s favourite Kendal Mint Cake.