The Lakes District is one of Dean McCullagh’s (Luxury Escapes’ Europe Partnerships and Contracting Manager and full-time UK local) favourite places in the world and he’s sharing his reasons why it needs to be on the top of your destination wish-list.
The Lake District, or Lakes as its more commonly known locally, is England’s largest national park, and although just 40 miles in length, it truly is an experience like no other.
Recently enrolled as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2017, The Lake straddles the North West coast of England, close to the border of Scotland. The Lakes is a geographical marvel, housing England’s most mountainous region, with Scafell Pike the highest point in the England and alongside it’s 21 large bodies of water, with England’s biggest (Windermere) and deepest lake Wastwater, The Lakes offers visitors natural beauty, and mixed with the seasonality of the UK’s weather, is a uniquely colourful experience all year round.
The Lakes is easily accessible via the international airports of Manchester and Edinburgh by car or rail via Bowness-on-Windermere station and although half a day’s travel from London, it’s well worth adding on a few days adventure in the Lakes to any London holiday.
The two destinations of The Lakes and London are completely contrasting, which, in a strange way is why they compliment each other so well. Londoners escape to the Lakes to relax, Lakelanders frequent London to experience the hustle and bustle of city life. From city to countryside, bustling streets to acres of wide park land, shopping centres to quaint boutiques, both feel worlds apart, yet are equally as important to the diverse tourism the UK has to offer. Whichever way around you may choose to visit, you’ll be sure to enjoy the full UK experience.
The Lake District is a walker’s paradise. Whether you are a novice in wellies or pro with hiking stick in hand, the Lakes has over 3,100 kilometers of walks, trails and paths to suit everyone. The Lake District also loves dogs! The majority of hotels, restaurants and attractions are dog-friendly, so don’t be afraid to bring your four legged friend along for the experience.
For a true Lakes experience, plan a walk to take in a pub lunch or dinner. Not only will a roaring fire place and comfy chairs welcome you to relax after a long trek, but The Lake district is also home to great, high-end pub cuisine, with a number of restaurants annually cited in the renowned Michelin guide. Look no further than The Punch Bowl Inn in the village of Crosthwaite or Drunken Duck Inn close to Coniston, both home to exceptional chefs, using locally reared produce, so you get the full British experience.
It’s worth hiring a car to experience all the Lake District has to offer, particularly the more northerly lakes of Ullswater and Grasmere, which are equally as stunning as Windermere and can be much quieter – the roads themselves are certainly an experience too, snaking through park and farmland, up mountains and even along rivers. Thankfully there are plenty of places to stop and take photos, so you won’t miss out on that magical shot to showcase to friends when you get home.
Make sure to pick up a guide to the waterfalls in the Lake District, as it not only details where to find the best ones, but also provides handy accessibility tips, depending on your hiking skills. We recommend using the local tourism website.
Not only is The Lakes a thing of natural beauty, it’s also one of the UK’s most significant historic sites, famous for literature greats Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and John Ruskin. Those travelling with family will love the playful nods to Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit throughout the Lake District, none more so than one of its most popular attractions Beatrix Potter world, a hands-on site, which guides you through the imagination of Potter and leaves kids and adults alike thoroughly entertained!
The Lakes is genuinely stunning all year round, whether you want to walk for miles inhaling the fabulous air and getting high on the scenery during the endless days of summer or curl up by a cosy fire with a hot chocolate in winter. My advice is to go in October/November time to avoid the summer crowds, particularly at the main tourist sites. If you’re really lucky you’ll also get yourself in the Christmas spirit with frosty or even snowy walks…
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