The Lake District is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as a result of its breathtaking scenery, rich wildlife and natural beauty. It lies in the county of Cumbria, the most north-western county in England, bordering onto Scotland.
The county consists of six districts, and in 2018 had a population of just under half a million. Cumbria is one of the most sparsely populated counties in the United Kingdom and England’s second largest county in size. Cumbria is best known for being the home of the Lake District National Park, containing England’s highest mountains (four over 3,000ft), and some of England’s largest lakes. Cumbria’s history is characterized by invasions, migration and settlement, as well as battles and skirmishes between the English and Scottish, as is evident by the many castles and pele towers throughout the county. Several notable people are associated with The Lake District, including Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and John Ruskin. There is something for everyone, young and old, those seeking adventure, peace and quiet, history, landscapes, mountains and lakes and much more.
Over the years, the little townhas become merged with the older lakeside town of Bowness-on-Windermere, although the two have quite separate centres. Windermere Station offers train and bus connections to the surrounding area. The Lakes Line connects with Oxenholme for interchange with the West Coast Main Line.
This indoor attraction includes life size recreations of scenes from the books complete with sights, sounds and smells. Favourite characters from the famous books are featured including Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-winkle and Jemima Puddle Duck. A bronze statue depicting three children releasing Potter’s character Jemima Puddle-Duck was unveiled by actress Renee Zellweger to honour the author. It also features characters from all 23 tales, a carving of one of her Lakeland homes and the mysterious code she used in her personal diary. Learn more here.
Situated between Ambleside and Windermere, is the National Park Visitor Centre. It is set in 30 acres of magnificent terraced gardens stretching down to the shore of Windermere, with splendid vies of the surrounding countryside. The house was built by wealthy Manchester silk merchant William Henry Aldolphus Gaddum in 1895. A frequent visitor to the house was Beatrix Potter, a cousin of Mrs Gaddum.
There are plenty of places to picnic and relax and enjoy the view. A fabulous children’s adventure play area and an excellent Treetop Trek (height restrictions apply) are also open throughout the year. You can enjoy the beautiful shores of Windermere Lake against the backdrop of spectacular mountain scenery by taking a lake cruise from Brockhole’s jetty (Summer time only). In the house, you can discover more about the Lake District. There is an exhibition and a shop, restaurant and tea room with an outside seating terrace. learn more here.
Rydal Mount, in the heart of the Lake District, commands glorious views of Lake Windermere, Rydal Water and the surrounding fells. It was the home of William Wordsworth from 1813 to 1850. The house which now belongs to the descendants of the poet, retains a lived in family atmosphere, and has changed little since Wordsworth and his family came to live here. They rented the house from Lady le Fleming, of nearby Rydal Hall. Also to be seen are the family bedrooms of William, Dorothy and Dora, and Wordsworth’s attic study. The house contains portraits, personal possessions and the first editions of the poet’s work.
Wordsworth was a keen landscape gardener, and the four acre garden remains much as he designed it. A leaflet is available describing a walk around the garden, and highlighting 26 plants and trees of interest. After his daughter Dora died in 1847, William went down to a small field between the house and the main road, and together with his wife, sister and gardener, planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora. Dora’s field now belongs to the National Trust. Learn more here.
Windermere Lake Cruises has a large fleet of modern and traditional launches and ‘steamers’ which operate the full length of Windermere. A return cruise between Bowness and Waterhead (Ambleside) takes about 1.25 hours. A return cruise round the whole lake takes about 3 hours. Some boats stop at the pier at Brockhole. Although often described as steamers, the former British Rail owned boats are in fact all motor vessels. Lakeside station was built in 1869 as the terminus of the old Furness Railway. Today, you can travel to Haverthwaite on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Also at the station is the Aquarium of the Lakes. Learn more here.
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” Sir Ranulph Fiennes. The Lake District weather can be unpredictable and we can experience weather of all seasons within one day. If rain is forecast, it may just mean at some point in the day so don’t be downhearted. Check the right forecast for your plans and always pack some good waterproofs, some stout boots. Cumbria and The Lake District are on the north-west coast of England. This is affected by the North Atlantic Drift which together with the mountainous landscape, makes it the wettest part of England. Nowhere can be this beautiful, lush and green without some rain to keep it that way!