If thoughts of Great Britain conjure up romantic images of cosy cottages with roaring fires, country walks with Hunter ‘wellies’, and pub lunches with friendly locals, then a visit to The Lake District won’t be wasted on you!
“Discover, Explore, Inspire” is the strapline used by the local tourist board, which perfectly sums up a visit to this much treasured destination in England’s North West.
What you need to know?
As England’s largest national park, you can expect breath taking backdrops, lakes, mountains, fabulous outdoor scenery, great walks and even greater pubs to enjoy.
Nestled in Cumbria’s back garden, the Lake District is a national park and UNESCO world heritage site. It’s beautiful backdrop of still lakes, rolling hills and mountainous greens, make it an extremely popular destination for those seeking refuge in England’s green countryside, especially hikers, walkers and outdoorsy types.
Its opening hours can vary depending on the time of year you visit, it’s always worth checking in advance at the official site: http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk
If you’re planning to visit, give yourself a good few days to indulge in the beauty of nature and soak up the slow pace way of life. And of course, be sure to pack good walking shoes too!
Everyone comes here for The Lakes, but where to start?
Well, the obvious place is Lake Windermere – possibly the most famous of them all. Take a boat across this expansive lake, then scale Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain. For a less rigorous walk, Barrow and High Rigg are some of the lower mountains.
As well as Windermere, Coniston and Ullswater are other great lakes to enjoy, and if you’re feeling brave, the lake in Estwaite is said to be warm and clear enough for a dip!
Beauty spots are waiting to be discovered all over the district. Favourites include Holme Fell on Hodge Close in Coniston for stunning views and Crackpot Hall for scenic walks. If you happen to pass the Falcon Inn in Arncliffe, do stop in for a winter warmer.
With its fresh air and calm scenery, this is truly a haven for peace and rest – the perfect escape to recuperate from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Somewhere to practice stillness, meditation and mindfulness.
During the many walks here, there’s lots of little small charming villages to discover dotted all over the place, including Derwent water, Grassmere, Keswick, Amberside, Windermere and Burrowdale Valley.
The area is also well known for its bustling wildlife, and the Lake District Wildlife Park is a fun place for a family day out.
When to visit?
The question everyone wants to know is when is the best time to visit? Of course, this entirely depends on your preference. It can get bitterly cold in the winter months especially at the start of the year, and blissfully warm in the summer – take your pick!
For me, autumn is the perfect time to come, since the weather is perfect for gentle walks. The landscape is at its most beautiful, with phenomenal colours of fallen leaves reflecting in the still lakes, reminding us of the simple beauty of nature. With the changing of seasons, there’s a freshness about it all that is grounding.
Much like the rest of the U.K, Lake District weather is changeable, but you can keep up to date here: http://www.lakedistrictweatherline.co.uk
There’s a brilliant slogan on a shop in Keswick that simply says: “There is no such thing as bad weather. There is only wrong clothing”!
Where to stay?
If you’re looking for a hotel as picturesque as its surroundings, then stay at the Laura Ashley Hotel in Bowness for a treat. As you’d expect from Laura Ashley, bright floral prints and feminine colours ordain the hotel. Guests also come here for the six acres of luscious ground, stunning views of Lake Windermere and AA rosette winning restaurant.
It’s fair to say that the Lake District is a popular destination for a romantic break. If you’re looking for something seductive and secluded, then the Love Shack is a special place where you can get together… as the song goes!
Of course, many visitors who come here want a traditional experience, and what could be more British than a Lake District cottage!? There’s plenty of choices catering to all budgets. Lakeland Cottage Holidays offer an extensive range, including farmhouses and holiday cottages.
With its heated roof terrace and modern British menu, Porto Restaurant (3 Ash Street) offers an elegant spot for those in the Windermere area.
Rustic and ravishing, the menu at Lake Road Kitchen is perfectly suited to its country surroundings. Not to be missed, it offers some of the finest cuts of meats, including its trademark aged stakes in collaboration with Lake District farmers. For a special occasion, the five-course menu is quite something.
For all the views and Michelin star dining, the 19th century hunting lodge of Holbeck Ghyll is one of the most desirable destinations on the Lake District map. Foodies have long flocked here, more so since it was featured on the BBC hit show ‘The Trip’.
Get here now!
Since the Lake District welcomes some 18 million visitors annually, it is well connected, despite its remoteness.
By air, the nearest airports are Carlisle, Newcastle and Manchester.
By car, it’s about an hour and half drive from Newcastle and just over two hours from Leeds.
By train, the nearest station depends on which part of the lake district you plan to visit. However, Oxenholme is a central point many visitors tend to use, along with Windermere and Carlisle.
As a helpful guide, the train from Newcastle to Oxenholme requires a change in Carlisle and can take 2-3 hours. While, a direct train from Manchester can take 75 minutes.
From London, Oxenholme is served by London Euston, with direct trains taking 2-3 hours.
For more information on train times, download the free app from National Rail Enquiries.
All images in this article can be purchased as museum archival fine art prints. Multiple sizes are available. Send me an email if you have any questions.
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