The Lake District, in Cumbria, is Britain’s largest (all 885 square miles of it!) and most visited national park. The natural grandeur of the region’s lakes, mountains and waterfalls inspired some of Britain’s most famous thinkers and poets of the past, and continues to work its magic on modern day visitors. The Lake District boasts some of England’s largest lakes and highest mountains, with four mountains over 3,000 feet high.
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Nature lovers, cyclists, walkers and holidaymakers, from far and wide, descend upon the Lake District in their droves, during summertime.
The most popular areas are around Grasmere, Ambleside, Coniston and Windermere, all of which are geared up to catering for tourists with many excellent B&Bs and guesthouses, as well as numerous visitor attractions, throughout the region.
One of the major attractions of the Lake District is its vast network of over 1,800 miles of footpaths that covers some of Britain's most spectacular scenery. This is the great British outdoors, at its rugged best: mountains and rolling fells, awe-inspiring lakes and waterfalls - and a unique sense of calm even at the height of the summer season.
Apart from its natural beauty, however, The Lake District has much more to offer visitors. The whole region provides the perfect setting for recharging the batteries, amidst tranquil and inspirational landscapes. But, Cumbria is also famous for its welcome, for its bustling, market towns, delightful stone-built hamlets, elegant country houses and gardens, as well as its numerous and varied tourist attractions.
So where do you start exploring the wonders of the Lake District? Here are just a few suggestions .
The Lake District's literary heritage: Poetic giants, famous philosophers, artists and writers, throughout the ages, have all drawn on the area's natural beauty for their inspiration. Wordsworth, for instance, the 'Poet of the Lakes' still lives on through his verse depicting the beauty of the Lake District. Visit Grasmere, the centre of the Lake District's literary world, where Wordsworth wrote some of his best poems, between the years of 1799 and 1808; and where Coleridge, in his hypnotic poetry captured the enduring charm of the area's unique landscape. Then there's the nineteenth century social philosopher, John Ruskin; visit Brantwood, near Coniston, where he lived. His letters and paintings capture the distinct character and glory of the Lake District. Or, pop into the Ruskin Museum, Coniston for an insight into Ruskin's critical mind and artistic talents. On a lighter note, the famous children's author, Beatrix Potter was also besotted with the beauty of the Lake District, as is evident at the Beatrix Potter Gallery, (Main Street, Hawkshead).
Derwentwater: Famous Derwentwater Lake is three miles long, one mile wide and around seventy-two feet deep. The waters of the River Derwent flow into the lake from the high fells, at Borrowdale. Derwentwater boasts four islands, and is set amidst dramatic fell scenery. Enjoy a walk around the lake's shores or take a boat trip across its waters, in order to fully appreciate the lake's magnificent natural setting.
Rheged Discovery Centre (The Village on the Hill, Redhills, Penrith, Cumbria): This popular Lake District visitor centre is Europe's largest grass covered building. Rheged's attractions include a large, giant cinema, where visitors can experience a simulated 'flight' over the lakes and mountains of Cumbria; a national mountaineering exhibition; craft and gift shops; local artists' exhibitions; the Reivers café, as well as an indoor play area that will please younger visitors.
Carlisle Castle (Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8UR): A commanding medieval fortress overlooking the City of Carlisle, Carlisle Castle is over nine centuries old. Visitors can get a real feel for the past, by entering the castle's ancient chambers, stairways and dungeons with their notorious 'licking stones', which allegedly contained just enough moisture to keep dehydrated prisoners alive, before their execution on Gallows Hill.
Popular Lake District Towns –