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The Lake District
A trip to the UK is not complete without visiting the lakes and mountains of Cumbria. The Lake District is England's largest National Park and lies in the North West of the country. A noted place of beauty for hundreds of years it was officially made a national park in 1951 and has inspired famous poets and writers alike including William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
Where to Stay
From campsites to hotels there's a wide range of accommodation to fit all budgets.
When I visited the Lake District I was lucky enough to stay in The Low Wood Hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere. The hotel has great facilities and amenities including a swimming pool, gym, restaurants and bar. The room we stayed in was lovely with views across to the lake and a Jacuzzi bath. We will definitely be staying there again.
William Wordsworth spent much of his life in the Lake District and it's easy to see where he got the inspiration for many of his famous poems.
On my trip to the Lake District I visited the grammar school that Wordsworth attended in the picturesque village of Hawkshead. As you walk through the front door it's like taking a step back in time. The classroom still has the old school desks with carvings made by the school boys of the past, including an engraved ‘W' which is believed to have been carved by Wordsworth himself. Upstairs you will find the headmasters study and a room with a dedicated exhibition on the history of the school.
Hawkshead has many other attractions and places to visit. We wandered around the historical village, stopping for a delicious cream tea in one of the local tea rooms. If we had more time we would have visited the Beatrix Potter Gallery, a 17th century building owned by the National Trust which exhibits a selection of her original drawings and illustrations.
We then took a drive to Grasmere to visit Dove Cottage which was the marital home of William and Mary Wordsworth up until 1808. We had a guided tour of the building which is furnished as it would have been in the nineteenth century. The tour guide offered us fascinating information on how the family would have lived in those times. Afterwards we visited the Wordsworth museum and art gallery which is included in the admission price and located adjacent to the cottage gardens. The museum displays many treasures from the British romanticism period including books, manuscripts, water colors and paintings. I particularly enjoyed reading an extract from the journal of Dorothy Wordsworth, William Wordsworth's sister. Pages from her original journal are exhibited behind glass partitions.
By exploring the homes of Wordsworth you really can capture the essence and magic of the 19th century. Other places to visit include; Wordsworth House William Wordsworth's birthplace and early family home, Rydal Mount where William and Mary Wordsworth lived from 1813 to their deaths, and St Oswald's Church where both William and Mary are buried.
Lake Windermere is the largest of the lakes and as such we couldn't resist taking a boat ride from the Lakeside Pier on the Southern side of the lake. It was a rainy day so we had to huddle under a large umbrella, lent to us by the skipper, as we sat out on the open deck. Although it was warm the rain put most people off and we ended up being the only ones on the boat. The personal tour of the lake was a wonderful experience.
As we disembarked from the boat we decided to visit the Aquarium of the Lakes. The aquarium has over 30 displays of fish and wildlife including a waterfall and stream full of salmon as well as otters, freshwater fish and rays.
From Lakeside you can also take the steam train where you can travel for three and a half miles to Haverthwaite whilst enjoying the lake and river scenery of the Leven Valley.
Of course the best thing about the Lake District is the beautiful countryside. We stopped off one day in a National Trust car park just outside of Grasmere and went for a walk. The pathways offer spectacular scenery and at every corner there is something new to discover. On our walk we found a large impressive cave, saw much of the local wildlife and admired views of one of the many lakes.
The Lake District is also noted for its many mountains, Scafell Pike being the highest mountain in England at 978 meters.
Of course there is so much more to do in the Lake District, in fact too much to mention here. I am hoping to go back again soon but instead of staying in the wonderful 4 star Low Wood Hotel I am contemplating a camping trip instead, staying in a wooden ‘pod' on one of the National Trust campsites.
There are many more things I want to do and places I want see in the Lake District, more countryside to be discovered and mountains to be climbed.
The Lake District is recommended for all those who love the great outdoors, nature, wildlife, history, adventure and culture.