A travel guide to the Lake District

The Lake District National Park is the largest park of its type in the UK and it lies within the county of Cumbria. As well as a travel guide to the Lake District, we also look at some of the fascinating attractions in the area.

Covering over 800 square miles and considered to be one of the most scenic regions in England, Windermere and the Lake District are perfect destinations for hiking, walking and outdoor activities.

Popular hotels include Windermere spa hotels, guest houses, luxury cottages and B&B’s are:

Windermere, beside the largest lake in England at 10.5 miles in length, Ambleside at the top of Windermere, Keswick on the shores of Derwent Water, Grasmere, home to William Wordsworth’s former house, Dove Cottage, Penrith, the northern gateway to the Lakes and Bowness-on-Windermere at the middle of Lake Windermere.

Every lake boasts unique features including backdrops of steep mountain ranges and green fells.

These include: Bassenthwaite Lake, Buttermere, Coniston Water, Derwent Water, Esthwaite, Ennerdale Water, Crummock Water, Elterwater, Grasmere, Haweswater Reservoir. Loweswater, Rydal Water, Thirlmere (a reservoir that provides water to over 1 million homes in Manchester), Ullswater, Wast Water and Windermere.

Interestingly the only one actually named as a lake is ‘Bassenthwaite’ as the others are all ‘waters’ or ‘meres.’

Lake District hills are known as fells and offer a huge number of hill walks and challenging paths and walks. According to the Lake District’s most famous hill walker, Alfred Wainwright, there are 214 fells with many different routes.

The highest mountain is Scafell Pike at 3,209 feet. Great Gable and Helvellyn are slightly lower but offer better views.

The main attraction for visitors is the Lakes which boast stunning scenery and a wealth of outdoor activities including boating and canoeing.

The area was first occupied by the Romans and heavily influenced by the Norse in 900AD. The woods were cleared and charcoal was produced to smelt lead in Glenridding and copper in Borrowdale Valley and Coniston.

Herdwick Sheep were introduced to the fells and dry stone walls were built in the 18th century. The first tourism in the Lakes came in the early 19th century when the railway to Windermere was finished.

A Travel Guide to the Lake District

Windermere station is most conveniently located for the Southern Lakes. The train from here travels to Oxenholme station on the main West Coast line. The Leeds-Settle-Carlisle line also links the lakes to Yorkshire.

For the northern lakes, it is best to travel to Penrith, from where it is possible to catch a bus to Keswick.

If you are planning a trip to Windermere and want to explore the Lakes, the road between Carlisle and Barrow-in-Furness allows access to many of the Cumbrian seaside towns and villages.

If you’re after a travel guide to the Lake District in the hands of a local tour, then a number of trips are available.

Mountain Goat are popular tour operators for excursions around the Lake District and offer a range of half day and full day tours. What’s more, if you’re staying at accommodation near the train station, you don’t have to worry about driving.

Boat trips can be taken on most lakes, including Windermere, Ullswater, Derwent Water and Coniston.

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