England’s Enchanting Lake District
By: Rebecca Smith
I’ve seen mountains all over the world- from the Scottish Highlands and the Welsh valleys, to the Himalayas and the Atlas Mountains, and I can tell you that there’s still something unique and special about The Lake District.
Nestled in the northern part of England, just a train ride away from London, bustling cities give way to rugged mountains, lush green valleys and sleepy little towns. Sheep roam wild along weathered mountain paths which have been glorified by artists, writers and poets for centuries. This is truly England’s green and pleasant land.
Where to Stay
The Lake District consists of a series of little towns and villages tucked into mountain sides and valleys, each with their own distinct character. Some, like Keswick, offer the vibrant experience of a traditional Yorkshire market town. Others, like Cockermouth and Windemere, look out over calm lakes and offer a more tranquil and rustic view of countryside life. For the hikers, a soak in the hotel spa after a day on a mountain works miracles.
Where to Walk
Hiking runs deep in the veins of The Lake District community. You may not be a seasoned climber and you may need to start slow. That’s OK, you’ll fall in love with the scenery anyway. A short amble amongst the alpine flowers in Borrowdale will suit. For those seeking adventure, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England and offers a challenging climb rewarded by breathtaking views across the whole of the National Park.
A host of hiking shops cater to everyone from the beginner to the most seasoned mountaineer. As your guide, use the immortal and highly celebrated works of Alphred Wainwright, a British fell-walker who produced guidebooks, including fascinatingly detailed pen and ink sketches of the entire Lakeland fells.
Pubs & Gastronomy
Operating out of a tiny 1630s stone cottage in the heart of the village, The Grassmere Gingerbread Shop is not to be missed. Victorian cook, Sarah Nelson, invented what is widely accepted as the best gingerbread in the world in 1954, and business has been booming ever since. Although the recipe is a closely guarded secret, the smell of warm gingerbread in the air is enough to entice you in.
Not to be outdone, Ye Olde Friars of Keswick provides magic to rival Harry Potter and Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory combined, with a fantastical selection of old fashioned chocolates and sweets and buttery shortbread.
Around the corner from Friars, The Dog and Gun offers their famously hearty Hungarian Goulash and the warm and bustling atmosphere of a traditional English pub. For a quaint and cozy pint, head to The Hole Int’ Wall in Bowness on Windemere for Yorkshire hospitality which has seen visitors flocking since 1612.
Head over to Hawkshead to visit the cottage of Beatrix Potter, whose charming illustrations and stories are a true reflection of Lakeland life. The same is true of the works of William Wordsworth’s, who wanted to be buried in Grassmere, within sight of the gingerbread shop. In spring, his memorial garden is full of flowers, a fitting tribute to his famous ode to daffodils.
For me, growing up in the north of England, my family trips to The Lake District were the highlight of my year. As soon as you see the flat landscape give way to rolling hills you’re on your way. Your adventure is about to begin.
By: Rebecca Smith
Rebecca’s insatiable appetite for travel lead her to adventure all over the world before joining us. Talk to her about sleeping under the stars in a hammock in the middle of the Costa Rican jungle, discovering the best spices in the souks of Marrakesh, and sublime bakeries in Paris. She will be happy to assist you with your dream adventure!