I Left My Heart In The Lake District
My Hub for 'Hub Pages Marks the Spot; week 3' is about the highlights and destinations of The Lake District, Cumbria. A place I moved to with my father when I was nine years old, I may not have been born there, and since I moved away as an adult I don't live there anymore. But home is where the heart is; and my heart definitely belongs in The Lake District!
Home to England's five tallest mountains, it's deepest lake, two national parks and countless areas of unmatched natural beauty, Cumbria is simply unique. The landscape is a wonder of nature, impressive peaks rise grandly, reflected in the calm waters of the lakes. Vast valleys and fells wait to be explored, lushly painted with every shade of green. Woods and forests nestle into the hillsides, and along the coast, sandstone cliffs meet sandy dunes, lapped by the sparkling blue of the tide.
The Lake District, Cumbria. Home to some of the most beautiful wildlife and scenery in Britain.
The Lake District is arguably England's number one tourist destination, and as such, hosts a vast amount of events every year. Some of these highlights include:
The Windermere Air Show.
The Windermere Air Show is an annual event hosted by the Windermere Rotary Club, every year crowds of thousands gather on the showground at Bowness-on-Windermere to watch displays by the Red Arrows, as well as The BBMF (Battle of Britain Memorial Flight) Spitfire, and many more! Its not just the many aircraft that draws a crowd from allover the country: The Air Show also provides ground attractions for the whole family, including: A falconry display, Typhoon flight simulator, a fun-fair, sheep dog demonstrations, steam trains from the local Model Engineering Society and much more besides!
Kendal, Cumbria is probably most famous for its Mint Cake, and there's plenty of that! But a new claim to fame is drawing people from all over the country to Cumbria, that's Kendal Calling! Kendal Calling is the SouthLakes summer music festival, begun in 2006, it's a new annual event, but it's already one of Cumbria's most popular! The music festival is held every summer in Lowther Deer Park, near Kendal, and is three days of festival fun! The 2010 lineup included: The Coral, Doves, Badly Drawn Boy, The Futureheads & Calvin Harris to name but a few.
www.youtube.com/kendalcalling (Video from Kendal Calling 2009)
Kendal Torchlight Carnival.
One of my first memories of moving to the Lake District, was standing on the street near our house, in the freezing cold on my Dad's 39th birthday. So excited, as I watched my very first Torchlight Carnival! Growing up in Kendal. the annual Torchlight Carnival became one of the most important things on my yearly calendar. My friends and I would look forward to it all year long, arguing amongst each other about where we should stand this year to get the best view. And after every last float and marching band had gone past, we would march over to the fair ground, stuff ourselves with candy-floss and ride the Waltzers until someone was sick!
Every September, Kendal's roads are closed and local businesses & organisations, schools, nurseries, charities; like the Air Ambulance service and St Johns, even churches; put together floats, dress up in quirky costumes and parade through the streets of Kendal. Holding torches, performing, singing, playing instruments, doing gymnastics, handing out flyer's and taking donations for their respective causes. They spend all year planning a theme and costumes, and as soon as one Torchlight Carnival is over, the planning starts all over again for the next one! Everyone taking part in the Torchlight Carnival works as hard as possible to out-do what they did the year before, all for the fun, and the chance to be the best float in the parade. And what does the winner get, you ask? Well the winning float gets the honour of being the number one float for that year!
Kendal Castle Firework Display.
Every 5th November Kendal, Cumbria celebrates Guy Fawkes night by holding an impressive firework display right next to Kendal's oldest building: Kendal Castle! The Castle was built in the 12th century AD, and among the best known who lived there was Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, who grew up there before moving to London. Now the ruins of the Castle have been made safe and are open to the public.
The dramatic fireworks, set against the silhouette of this impressive 12th century Castle, are a beautiful sight to behold, and growing up in Kendal, spending 5th November at the Castle watching the display was another yearly tradition for my friends and I.
These are just a small handful of the attractions this beautiful part of England has to offer. These highlight's and many more are why millions of people flock to The Lakes from allover thew world every single year!
Destinations around The Lakes.
As you can tell from the name, The Lake District is most well known for its beautiful rivers, tarns and lakes. The most famous being Lake Windermere, the largest mere in England at 10.5 miles long. As well as lakes, Cumbria has many mountains, like Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, at 3210ft high. The Lake District also boasts a vast array of fell walking routes and public footpaths, popular with walkers from all over the country.
One of the most popular of these is along Old Dungeon Ghyll, in the Langdale Valley. An idyllic walking route which leads walkers along a picturesque trail to a waterfall known as 'Dungeon Ghyll Force.' This particular part of Langdale inspired a poem of William Wordsworth's entitled: "The Idle Shepherd Boys."
Old Dungeon Ghyll, in the Langdale Valley, a popular route for walkers.
After a long day walking along the fells, most walkers like to end their journey in 'The Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub' attached to the beautiful hotel, the pub, known as; The Hikers Bar, is the embodiment of the quintessential English pub! Warm, cozy and comfy, with a coal fire, a selection of real draft ales and malt whiskey's and traditional pub food.
However, its definitely not just the scenery of Cumbria that attracts people all year round, The Lake District boasts some of the best destinations in Britain, from Museums, to historic market towns, magnificent architecture, and hotels, offering everything form water sports to hot-air balloon rides! It would be Impossible for me to write about everything there is to see and do in The Lakes. So since I've coined myself as a lover of literature here on Hub Pages, I'm going to focus on the destinations in The Lake District synonymous with classic poetry and literature.
Over the years, many historic figures have made a home, and found inspiration in The Lake District, perhaps most famously, beloved children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter. Who was born in London, and went on many family holidays to The Lakes as a child. These holidays, and the time she spent in The Lakes were the inspiration for her first book: "The Tale of Peter Rabbit." With the proceeds from this book, Potter purchased HIll top Farm, a cottage near Sawney, just north of Lake Windermere. She owned this cottage for 38 years, and wrote many of her classic tales here. Hill top Farm is now a Beatrix Potter Museum, and has been kept just as it would have looked when Potter owned it.
As well as Hill Top Farm, The World of Beatrix Potter attraction, located near Bowness-on-Windermere, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery (housing some of the original artwork for the books) in Hawkshead, Cumbria are enchanting attractions, flocked to by locals and tourists alike every day!
Another famous literary talent to hale from The Lake District was William Wordsworth. Born in Cockermouth, in the North Lakes, in 1770. Wordsworth's childhood home is now a national trust museum named 'Wordsworth House.'
Wordsworth lived in Grasmere, in a place called 'Dove Cottage' from 1799 to 1808, it was here that he wrote some of his most well known work as a poet; including one of my personal favourites; "Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood." Dove cottage is now a grade 1 listed building, and an Art Gallery and Museum, which gives tours to the general public.
Another of Wordsworth's family homes in The Lakes that is now open to the public, is Rydal Mount, where the Wordsworth family lived from 1813. It is a beautiful home located between Ambleside and Grasmere, with stunning views of Lake Windermere, Rydal Water and the Fells.
William Wordsworth's final resting place can also be found in the Lake District. In the churchyard of St Oswalds Church, Grasmere. It is one of the most visited literary shrines in the world!
Another famous grave to be found in The Lake District is that of Victorian Poet and Philosopher John Ruskin, who was born in London and, like Potter, inspired by his childhood holidays to The Lakes. In 1844 he retired to Coniston, and after his death, he was buried in Coniston Church yard.
The Lake District, Cumbria, is a magnificent place, and was a wonderful place to grow up. And for as long as this Hub is, there was so much more I had to leave out!
The Lakes has an endless supply of highlights and destinations for the whole family, you could live there for years, and still not see it all!