THE LAKE DISTRICT – WHY GO?
It stirred Wordsworth and Coleridge to write poetry, and you’ll soon see why the lustrous landscape of the Lake District – nicknamed Poet’s Corner – has inspired droves of artists, writers and nature lovers. This pocketsize corner of England is a scenic jewel, with soaring fells, glittering lakes, stone-built villages and hillside meadows dotted with sheep.
MUST SEE, MUST DO
The area is home to England’s biggest lake – Windermere – and also to the country’s highest peak, Scafell Pike. There’s an abundance of walking, sailing, rowing, windsurfing and fishing hereabouts, so strap your hiking boots on or opt for a leisurely cruise on the lake to enjoy the breath-takingly beautiful scenery.
Beatrix Potter fans should make a trip to Hill Top, near Sawrey, where the author penned some of the Peter Rabbit books. Many of her drawings and other memorabilia are displayed at the Beatrix Potter Gallery in the village of Hawkshead, a few miles away. There are yet more literary associations at Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage, both of which were home to the poet William Wordsworth.
Kendal is the natural gateway to the Lake District, lying close to the wooded shores of Windermere. Graceful old steamers ply up and down the lake and it’s relatively easy to lose the summer crowds by hopping aboard a ferry to the western shore – free of any roads and villages – to take in the views.
Car and boat buffs will be in their element here – pop into the Windermere Steamboat Museum, see some of the cars driven by the stars at Keswick’s Motor Museum or visit the Ruskin motor museum at Coniston.
There’s fantastic fell walking around here, though you don’t need to be a diehard rambler to enjoy the many trails and footpaths. Footpaths radiate from the main lakeside towns (you’ll see plenty of walkers), climbing into the fells and encircling much of the dramatic shorelines.
MAKE A DATE
See what the region’s budding directors are up to at Keswick’s Film Festival.
Sample delicious local fare at Heaven’s Kitchen, Linthwaite House's annual food festival.
Get green-fingered inspiration at the Holker Garden Festival at Windermere on Water.
Hold your breath for the aerobatics at the Windermere Airshow.
The Old Laundry Theatre in nearby Bowness brings the best comedy, theatre, film and music to town.
Dance the night away at Kendal’s Lake District Summer Music festival.
Check out the Kendal Mountain Film Festival, perfect for days when the weather rules out walking.
LAKE DISTRICT ROMANCE
Share some Kendal mint cake on a lake-side walk and then warm up together in a cosy pub with a pint of local ale.