Visit Lake District, north England

Glenridding in the Lake District of Cumbria, England, UK

Glenridding village, Ullswater, 9 miles long,Lake District, is much favoured by climbers and hill walkers as well as people who enjoy a watery time. William Wordsworth wrote his famous ‘Lonely as a cloud…‘ poem here. Photo by Diliff.

Why visit Lake District National Park?

Derwent Water rowing boats and pier, Lake District, England, UK

Derwent Water. Rowing, kayaking, sailing and on some lakes speedboats are popular and rentals available. Photo by Diliff.

England’s number one walking area is among the lakes and peaks of The Lake District National Park in Cumbria county in the distant north west of the country.

The weather here is not at all stable but the unspoilt space is grand, the mountains unique in England and the views magnificent, so if you’re rain-shine-whatever tolerant and like a walk in the park or a hike on a bike then this is definitely worth a bus ticket. Don’t stay in a characterless hotel as there are masses of wonderful cottages in the Lake District for rent, as well as B’n’Bs, guesthouses and little hotels that ooze rural charm and old-fashioned ways.

Curiously only one of the 15 or so bodies of water here is named ‘. . . . Lake’, and that’s Bassenthwaite Lake. The others use the suffix ‘. . . water’ or ‘. . . mere’.

Three popular lakes

Lake Windemere

Windermere town and tourists waiting for a boat tour, Lake District, England, UK

Windermere town and tourists waiting for a boat tour. Photo by Lukasz Nurczynski.

Windermere is the largest lake and has a sizeable town of the same name about a mile away that doesn’t have much going for it.

Small but attractive Bowness is the nearest lakeside town where marine action – such as ferries or rowing or sailing boat rental – takes place.

Across Windermere from Bowness is the tiny village of near Sawrey where the children’s author Beatrix Potter’s bought and lived in William Wordsworth’s home, Dove Cottage – which still stands and is particularly popular with Japanese tourists. Wordsworth attended the local school.

Ullswater is probably the lake that inspired Wordsworth’s ‘Lonely as a Cloud’ poem and also the place where Donald Campbell set a water speed record in 1955.

Lake Ullswater

Ullswater’s narrow, winding stretch (photo at top) enclosed by mountains is considered by some to be the prettiest of the lakes and offers steam boat trips as well as the usual sailing, rowing and canoeing.

Donald Campbell preferred something a bit faster than steam boating and set a noisy but nice world water speed record of 202mph here in 1955 in his Bluebird.
After surpassing various world speed records – including being the only person ever to set new land and water speed records in the same year (1964) – died in 1967 on neighbouring Coniston Water when Bluebird K7 lifted off and started to cartwheel at well over 300mph. Neither the boat nor his body were found until 2001. He is now buried in Coniston cemetery and the village’s Ruskin Museum houses Campbell memorabilia.

Glenridding is the main Ullswater activity base and William Wordsworth – who lived in the area for sixty years – was inspired by lakeside daffodils to write his most enduring poem here – ‘I Wandered as Lonely as a Cloud’.

. . . All at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee.

Lake Bassenthwaite

Keswick town and Bassenthwaite Lake, Lake District National Park, Cumbria, England, UK

Keswick town and Bassenthwaite Lake. Photo by Diliff.

Getting There

Access to the Lake District National Park from London is perhaps best by train to Lancaster and a bus thereafter or a coach (long-distance bus) directly to the lakes. Alternatively get your own wheels and zig-zag up the country stopping off at various attractions en route. The M6 motorway passes near the Lakes but in summertime roads leading from the M6 can get very clogged.

There’s plenty of low cost accommodation and campsites in the area and bike rental is easy to find.

Borrowdale seen from Castle Crag, Lake District, England

Just to remind you, this region is not all about lakes! Borrowdale seen from Castle Crag. Photo by Claire Rowland.