Lake District Destination Guide
Lakes District Holidays
It’s easy to see why the mysterious lakes, lush forests and rolling green fells of England’s Lake District inspired many a poet and writer, from Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter to John Keats. There are many experiences to delight and entertain in this gorgeous English countryside, from outdoor adventure activities and lovely guided walks to historic architecture and home tours of some of the great names in literature. Bordering Scotland, the picture-perfect Lake District is a popular summer destination, just like it was during the reign of Queen Victoria.
Literary buffs will adore exploring the Lake District for the lingering essence of William Wordsworth, which is everywhere. Start at Wordsworth House where he was born before moving on to his quaint childhood home named Dove Cottage, and finishing your tour at the achingly beautiful Rydal Mount & Gardens where he lived until the end of his life in 1850.
If you’re a Beatrix Potter fan, a visit to the Beatrix Potter Gallery is a must. The charming original artworks will bring the world of Beatrix Potter to life and help you understand why the Lake District was such an important muse for her. Adventure lovers won’t miss out either. Explore the great outdoors at the enormous Lake District National Park, which encompasses almost all of the Lake District itself.
Take to the water on any of the magnificent lakes this region is named for, or explore the countryside on the many walking or cycling paths. If there’s one thing this part of the world does really well, it’s natural beauty.
Eat and Drink
The focus on fresh local produce in the Lake District makes this region one of the finest gastronomic destinations in Britain – the area even boasts a few Michelin-starred restaurants. If fine dining is not your thing, make your way to any of the local pubs and inns for a hearty traditional English meal.
The local specialties to sample? Tender Herdwick lamb, Borrowdale trout and, of course, Cumberland sausage. Cumbria is home to many microbreweries, so be sure to ask for a local ale when ordering at the bar.
Trendy eateries, coffee houses and bakeries can all be found in the main towns and villages including Grasmere, Keswick, Cockermouth and Ambleside.
Where to Stay
While bed and breakfasts have long dominated the villages and towns of the Lake District, gorgeous boutique hotels with their own unique style and charm are now commonplace throughout. Windermere has a number of stunning options from lakeside hotels and country manors to farm stay cottages and private lodges. The popular tourist towns of Keswick and Ambleside also have a diverse range of accommodation options, from guesthouses to up-market hotels.
Shopping around the Lake District has a lovely local feel thanks to the abundance of gourmet produce, artisan foods and locally made arts, crafts, soaps and furniture. You can’t get much fresher than buying produce straight from the farm – eggs, cheeses and meats are sold directly to the public at farm outlets. If you arrive with nary a hiking boot or windbreaker, kit yourself out at one of the quality outdoor gear stores in Ambleside and Keswick.
For high street retail stores, head to Kendal and Barrow. If you prefer market shopping you won’t be disappointed. Markets are everywhere throughout the district and offer a lovely way to mingle with the locals and sample fresh produce. The prized Kendal Mint Cake is the sweet treat you don’t want to leave town without.
Lake District Like a Local
Brush up on the local lingo before you visit the Lake District and the locals will surely be impressed when you casually slip it into your conversation. Here’s a crash course: a fell is a mountain or hill, a beck is a river or stream, a force is a waterfall and a tarn is a mountain lake or pool.