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About The Lake District
I first saw the Lake District many years ago, when for eight out of my eleven day sojourn, it rained, and rained! None-the-less, we left the comfort of our hotel, purchased stout walking shoes and weatherproofs, took to the hills and the water, and thus began a love affair that has never ended. For me, the mountains and lakes of this magical region have a splendour quite beyond compare. In glorious sunshine, mountain streams and lively waterfalls glisten like precious jewels in a golden crown. Towering peaks reflect in shimmering waters, dominating a landscape that for centuries has attracted artists and poets from Europe and beyond. The charm and sheer magnificence of the lakes has long been immortalised by the words of William Wordsworth, and the poet Gray who described The Lake District as this 'little, unsuspected paradise', and those who are prepared, no matter what the weather, to walk and explore, are rewarded with magnificent vista's of gushing, moss clad water falls, seemingly endless cliff surrounded lakes and tranquil green valley's hemmed in by broad sweeping fells.
The railways arrived in the Lake District in 1847, until then Windermere was merely a tiny farming village with a sparse community. The flow of holiday makers was such that word of the beautiful mountainous scenery soon spread and the rest, as they say, is history. These days millions are attracted to Lake Windemere which at almost twelve miles long is the largest natural lake in England. Bowness-on-Windermere is a lively and popular holiday resort, catering mainly for boating enthusiasts. Summer sees the lake crammed with all manner of sailing craft including passenger steamers and launches from which visitors can enjoy the scenic splendour from mid-water. At the southern end of the lake there is a lakeside Pier, Lakeland Aquarium and the station for the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway. The lake is surrounded by vast estates containing grand houses built in the 19th-century by rich industrialists from cotton towns in the north. Many of these picturesque mansions are now handsome hotels welcoming visitors from every corner of the world, whilst much of the land around the lake is protected by the comforting arm of the National Trust. The lake has several picnic areas and a visitors centre as well as a steamboat museum. The remains Galava Fort which dates from Roman times is situated at the northern end of the lake. Bowness, has many shops and galleries showing paintings from past and present-day artists.
Beautiful and brooding, Coniston Water lies to the west of Windermere, here the atmosphere changes as both landscape and water are dominated by the lofty height of the Old Man of Coniston and the soaring 2,555ft Dow Crag whose testing faces have provided a challenging adventure to climbers. The waters of Coniston have an ancient history but in more recent times the beauty of Coniston is recognised around the world as the setting chosen by Arthur Ransome for his Swallows and Amazons. The area was the beloved home of John Ruskin, a writer of the 19th-century who lived at Brantwood on the eastern shoreline. Brantwood is open to the public and John Ruskin is buried in Coniston churchyard. Sadly, in 1967, Sir Donald Campbell died here in an attempt to re-capture the world water speed record in Bluebird. At the foot of the Old Man of Coniston is the historic Black Bull, a four hundred year old coaching inn, whilst the focal point of the winding village streets is Coniston Old Hall, a gracious stone building crowned with round lakeland chimneys. Coniston Water has a good boating centre and is a favoured haunt of walkers and naturalists who come for the rich preserves of the world famous Grizedale Forest set between Coniston and Windermere. Grizedale is the largest forest in the Lake District, amongst its fantastic attractions it shows 90 beautiful sculptures along lovely waymarked walks. Unusually, the forest has a theatre presenting a wide range of entertainments. From any of the picnic areas there are often glimpses of red and roe deer.
There is a multitude of enchanting Tarns within the Lake District National Park and each one is unique. Bowscale Tarn is in the north of the region in a landscape of empty wilderness once hunted by John Peel. The lonely River Caldew runs through the valley, the start for the rough, heather clad climb to the bleak, menacing sight of Boscale Tarn. Angle Tarn has more vitality. Two small islands jut upwards from its trout filled waters and its indented shoreline gives it a softer, more glowing appearance that perfectly sets off the Angletarn Pikes that rise loftily above. Beneath Easdale Tarn, luxuriant, creamy water hurtles down into Easdale over rocks and boulders with a rapid force belying the the tranquil stream entering the green velvet valley below.
Of the three other major lakes in the National Park, Bassenthwaite is the most northerly and with not much in the way of buildings around its shoreline there is nothing to detract the eye from the delicate beauty of the scenery. The lake is often the scene of white sailed yachts from Bassenthwaite Sailing Club. The lovely peaks surrounding the shallow waters are best viewed from the comfort of a pleasure craft. Mirehouse is close to the shore and there are excellent picnic areas.
Derwent Water is small and attractive, it has four beautiful little islands and is a lovely location for a family holiday. Derwent offers boating and fishing on both the lake and the River Derwent. The beautiful gardens of Lingholm are on the lakes western shore, and Ladore Falls edge the lake's southern tip. Borrowdale runs down the eastern side of the lake and High Seat, at a towering height of almost 2,000ft smiles benignly on the grandeur beneath.
Under a cloudless sky the waters of Ullswater take on a remarkable shade of blue. Ullswater is of course the second largest and the deepest of the lakes but it is also the most romantic. Aira Force, a towering stream of crystal clear water dances down from lofty Aira Beck into the enchanting lake below. Aira Beck is reached through woodlands, a rich mix of willow, oak, ash and the occasional wych elm. Rare and beautiful wild flowers can be seen, especially Orchids in late spring and early summer.The early spring Daffodils of the woods, were first noticed by Dorothy, wife of William Wordsworth and the inspiration for his famous verse, Daffodils. Autumn brings a dramatic change, suddenly bereft of glowing greens the trees are clothed in autumn glory as their leaves change to ravishing shades of burnished gold, red and majestic purple. A holiday air pervades throughout Ullswater, hordes of visitors cram into fine hotels and holiday homes tucked away in quaint little villages. The area is popular with yachtsmen, and for fishing and swimming, with fell walking remaining the favoured pastime. Pleasure steamers take the less hardy on a magical trip around the lake, giving good views of Loadpot Hill, Place Fell and Little Mell Fell. Beautiful Patterdale and Glenridding fringe Ullswaters southern shores and pretty Pooley Bridge sits exquisitely on the lakes northern edge.
Villages and towns to visit include; Abbeytown, Bassenthwaite, Caldbeck, Cockermouth, Dalston, Keswick, Threlkeld, Grange, Ennerdale Bridge, Ambleside, Hawkshead, Calderbridge, Grasmere and Elterwater. The hamlets, towns and villages of this vast and varied landscape are unique, with a history all of their own. The heady cocktail of these little historic gems, great forests, soaring peaks, lofty silver faced tarns, fells, tumbling milky waters, twinkling becks dividing lush green valley's, rolling heather clad moorland and incredible lakes share a beauty few artists can resist. The whole of Lakeland has a splendour and sheer magnificence of which there is no equal.
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Recommended towns & villages near The Lake District
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|(5.6 miles, 9.1 km, direction SE)|
Ambleside, meaning "Shieling" or summer pasture by the riverbank, lies next to the northern shore of Lake Windermere. A busy victorian town ideal as a base when visiting the Lake District..
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|(10.1 miles, 16.2 km, direction SE)|
This is the principal resort on Lake Windermere, it is a town crammed with quaint narrow streets jammed full of summer tourists which sprawls along the shores of the lake somewhere between Waterhead and Lakeside...
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|(9.3 miles, 14.9 km, direction NW)|
Even when swirling mist rolls in over the stark fells surrounding Buttermere, the little hamlet remains serene in its simplicity and beauty...
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|(29.8 miles, 47.9 km, direction N)|
For over 1700 years this town occupied an important position on the Scottish-English border, few town's have experienced such turbulent times, but strangely Carlisle has little.....
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|(19.6 miles, 31.5 km, direction S)|
Cartmel's village square is surrounded by old shops, pubs and a 14th century gatehouse owned by the National Trust...
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|(17.4 miles, 28.0 km, direction NW)|
Cockermouth is ideally placed to be used as a centre for touring the Lake District National Park. It has a High Street seemingly unaltered, and is ringed by some of the finest scenery in England...
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|(7.0 miles, 11.2 km, direction S)|
There is a timelessness about this pretty village which is set beneath the awesome splendour of "The Old Man of Coniston" towering some 2,500ft above...
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|(7.5 miles, 12.1 km, direction NE)|
Glenridding lies in a beautiful area on the south-west side of Ullswater...
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|(6.1 miles, 9.7 km, direction NW)|
A picturesque village in the Borrowdale valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in England...
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|(2.4 miles, 3.8 km, direction SE)|
This tiny stone village is beautifully set between the tranquil waters of Grasmere Lake and the jagged heights of Helm Crag and Nab Scar..
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|(7.5 miles, 12.0 km, direction SE)|
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|(16.7 miles, 26.9 km, direction SE)|
Sometimes referred to 'the auld grey town' because it was built mainly of grey stone, Kendal is a large Market town in the east of Cumbria...
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|(9.1 miles, 14.6 km, direction N)|
Keswick is a pretty Market Town that nestles between the spectacular Skiddaw Mountains and the northern end of the serene Derwentwater Lake within the Lake District National Park.....
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|(18.7 miles, 30.1 km, direction NE)|
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|(15.3 miles, 24.7 km, direction SW)|
Special for being the only coastal village within the Lake District National Park, Ravenglass lies where three important rivers converge into the sea...
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|(19.0 miles, 30.6 km, direction S)|
Old town and port with cobbled streets and a pretty market square. It is surrounded by the Furness fells, Coniston Water, Lake Windemere, and the spectacular Cumbrian Mountains. .....
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|(21.2 miles, 34.0 km, direction W)|
This attractive, historic Cumbrian resort owes much to the ingenuity of the Lowther family, who developed Whitehaven as a port for shipping and the export of Cumbrian coal...
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Recommended attractions near The Lake District
All attractions in CumbriaComplete A to Z of attractions in England
|(1.7 miles, 2.7 km, direction SW)|
These famous pikes rise loftily above the village of Langdale, whilst below visitors can savour the wild and desolate beauty of.....
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|(2.9 miles, 4.6 km, direction SE)|
Dove cottage in the Lake District is the former home of the poet William Wordsworth and is where he wrote much of his famous.....
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|(5.5 miles, 8.9 km, direction NW)|
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|(5.8 miles, 9.4 km, direction S)|
This exceptional magical landscape is known as Beatrix Potter Country. For it is here amongst Lakeland's magnificent tarns and.....
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|(6.4 miles, 10.3 km, direction E)|
The Lake District's highest mountain pass open to motor traffic at an altitude of 1,489 feet (454 m). Along the pass can be found.....
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Hotels near The Lake District
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New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel
Great Langdale, Cumbria, England (1.5 miles, 2.4 km, direction S)
Set in 6 acres of gardens, New Dungeon Ghyll is a family-run hotel featuring an excellent restaurant, and rooms with dramatic views across the Langdale Valley....
More info and book online.. Price from £79.00
2 Lingmoor View
Ambleside, Cumbria, England (1.8 miles, 2.9 km, direction S)
This cosy traditional two bedroom Lakeland cottage is beautifully situated in the Great Langdale valley where there are numerous walks to suit all abilities and ambitions. The views of Lingmoor Fell a...
More info and book online.. Price from £220.00
Lancrigg Vegetarian Country House & Green Valley restaurant
Grasmere, Cumbria, England (1.9 miles, 3.1 km, direction E)
In the heart of the Lake District’s mountains, the Lancrigg Country House is a 10-minute walk from Grasmere village. It offers rooms with countryside views and a vegetarian restaurant....
More info and book online.. Price from £98.00
Thorney How Independent Hostel
Grasmere, Cumbria, England (2.0 miles, 3.2 km, direction E)
With free parking, free Wi-Fi and free weekend film screenings, this independent Lake District youth hostel offers simple B&B accommodation under Helm Crag in Grasmere....
More info and book online.. Price from £16.00
3 Tarn Cottages
Grasmere, Cumbria, England (2.2 miles, 3.6 km, direction SE)
Tarn Cottages are superbly located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, next to the tiny White Moss Tarn, on the bridleway between Grasmere and Rydal Mount. The cottage is in a peaceful, secluded...
More info and book online.. Price from £220.00
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