The Lake District is Britain’s most popular national park. It’s easy to see why: Lakeland’s 21 major bodies of water are fringed by England’s highest mountains, unspoiled upland fells, and pretty little towns packed lots for families and day trippers to do. With travelling overseas becoming ever more expensive, it’s no wonder the UK’s own Alpine wonderland has millions of fans.
Many visitors will be happy to explore the natural wonders of Cumbria, perhaps using the famous Wainwright walking guides that’ll take you to 214 fell summits if you complete the full set. All that water means plenty of wet and wild fun too, from canoeing or sailing to more extreme sports all available on the area’s lakes.
Here are five reasons to love the Lake District:
1 – Lakes!
Fairly obviously, the Lake District is big on lakes, and many of them are stunningly beautiful. Buttermere sits under Grasmoor Peak and is a good base to start some hill walking from. Coniston Water was once the venue for world water speed record attempts, and their story is told on board the steam boat trips from the local village. Derwentwater is your best bet for boating, with many trips leaving from or heading for Keswick. For some real solitude, try Ennerdale Water at the western extreme of the National park, another good base for local hill walks. Windermere is the biggest lake in England and the village has loads of facilities for visitors – this one is the must-see for most Lakeland visitors.
2 – Mountains
The Lake District is a brilliant walking destination, its mountains – called Pikes, Fells and Crags – the biggest in England. If you like ticking things off you’ll want to scale Scafell Pike, England’s tallest mountain, and the third highest in the UK, from which you can sometimes see the second highest, Snowdon, over in north Wales. Across the area you’ll find brilliant day walking trips, from Grasmere’s rugged crags to the incredible lake and sea views of the Old Man of Coniston.
3 – Art
The Lakes have held a fascination for writers and artists for centuries. Some made their home here and their Lakeland lives are celebrated in museums. The three names most associated with Lakeland are Beatrix Potter, of Peter Rabbit fame, the legendary poet William Wordsworth, and the 19th– century writer, John Ruskin. Beatrix Potter’s home and garden at Near Sawrey is wonderfully preserved and open to the public and there’s a World of Beatrix Potter theme park celebrating the animal characters she created. Wordsworth wondered lonely as a cloud around his home at Dove Cottage by Grasmere, also open to the public. John Ruskin’s Brantwood estate is now an important country house museum and arts centre.
4 – Attractions
Lots of visitors mean lots of things to do. There are gentle country house trips like Abbot Hall, an art gallery, or historic Muncaster Castle; museums like the Lakeland Motor Museum and the delicious Famous Chocolate House; and family attractions like the World of Beatrix Potter and Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. The little towns of Windermere, Kendall and Keswick are real tourist hotspots with lots of things to keep you busy and great eating for the whole family.
5 – Adventure
With all that wild countryside and water to explore it’s no surprise that the Lake District has become one of Britain’s most popular adventure holiday destinations. The popular Go Ape high ropes attraction chain has a branch in the trees at Grizedale Forest. Honister Slate Mine has been developed into a major attraction with some genuinely testing and extreme adrenaline challenges. And many of the lakes offer watery adventures from gentle boat trips to water skiing and Jet Skis: Windermere and Derwentwater have particularly good facilities.
Caravanning and park home holidays are a great way to experience some of Britain’s greatest outdoors without breaking the bank. The surroundings are made for this close-to-nature style of holidaying and there are parks all around Lakeland.