When you think of England, the vibrant and diverse city of London comes to mind, and whilst the bright lights of the big city are a sight-seeing dream, there is so much more of England to explore. Situated in the heart of the English countryside is the Lake District, named as such as the 200 square kilometers of stunning landscape are home to a combined sixteen beautiful lakes. Known best for its glacial ribbon lakes, exuberant forests and rugged mountainous terrain, the Lake District is one of the top travel destinations, as well as being the most visited national park within the UK.
Great for activity holidays, particularly if you’re a keen water sports lover, or you enjoy a challenging walk, the tranquil and relaxing atmosphere of the lakes offers a fantastic range of places to explore. The mountains and lakes are home to some of the most picturesque towns and villages across the UK, and you’ll no doubt be enveloped in the welcoming and friendly community feel, whether that’s through joining in a local fair or event, heading to a country pub for lunch, or simply stopping to chat to the locals.
If you’re an animal lover, the area is known for its wondrous display of wildlife, with regular sightings of the endangered red squirrel, countless intriguing and unique birds, red deer, ponies and even otters. By simply enjoying an afternoon out in the wilderness, or pondering over a lakeside walk, you’ll have the opportunity to spot such creatures venturing out.
Here are our top tips on absolutely everything you need to know for a trip to the Lake District.
How to get there
If you’re traveling from the states, getting to the Lake District is actually pretty easy. Look for direct flights to Manchester in the south or Glasgow in the north of the United Kingdom where possible, as your connecting travel plans will be both much easier and much shorter in the long run. Alternatively, you can fly into London Heathrow or London Gatwick, but a longer train or car journey will be required once you arrive in England.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination airport, there’s an option to either hire a car, and travel in comfort for the remainder of your journey or look to public transport. The UK has an extremely connected and comprehensive network of trains and buses, which are available to utilize to get to your destination of choice. There are direct trains from Manchester airport to a vast range of locations, and you should be able to get to the Lakes with just one or two changes, depending on your town of choice.
Where to rest your head
The Lake District resides in the beautiful county of Cumbria, and there are hundreds of towns, villages and hamlets dotted around the many miles of land, the area truly is spoiled for choice when it comes to destinations. Narrowing the search ever so slightly, there are a handful of towns that make for fantastic accommodation choices, and the luxury Lake District cottages from Lakelovers are a great place to start. For the ultimate Lake District experience, Windermere has it all. With the option to cruise the Lakes, meander down the quaint country streets, take in the beautiful views and enough activities to shake a stick at, you’d be hard pushed to not have a fulfilling time in Windermere. For something a little more off the beaten track, consider Ullswater, a beautiful hotspot for fell walking and relaxation.
Must see attractions
As well as the more obvious activities, like the water sports and cruises offered on the lakes themselves, and the many walks available around the area, the Lakes is host to a vast array of fantastic attractions. One of more than three hundred stone circles within England, Castlerigg is one of the oldest and most atmospheric, thanks to its beautiful surrounding scenery and views as far as the eyes can see. For a unique, literary experience, the Lake District is also the original home of Peter Rabbit author Beatrix Potter, and many of her famous books are set within the very area. Follow the footsteps of Potter herself by taking a trip to Brockhole – The Lake District Visitor Centre or head to the World of Beatrix Potter attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere for a great day out with the kids.
Where to indulge
If fine dining is to your taste, Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume is a holder of two Michelin stars, and has been awarded the accolade of “Best restaurant in Britain” for four years in a row. The tasting menus, either a 10-course lunch menu or a 20-course evening menu is a culinary experience to behold. For a more traditional meal, The Kirkstile Inn in Loweswater offers quality, local produce and fantastic beer and ale on tap. It’s worth noting that no trip to the Lake District would be complete without a traditional English afternoon tea, and there’s offerings aplenty. Head to the Croft House Farm Café in Buttermere to indulge in jam and cream scones, millionaire shortbread and homemade ice cream.
When to go
The lakes are a fantastic destination all year round, and as the seasons change, so does the beauty of the ever-changing landscape. In Spring, the golden daffodils and swathes of bluebells cover the rolling hills, whereas in Summer, the towns and villages become livelier with fairs and activities, you might even find the sunshine on a day or two. Come Autumn, the leaves will begin to crisp, and the landscape shifts to a stunning shade of crimson and Winter is home to crisp air and snow-capped hills.