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The Lake District, England

Updated on December 15, 2014

The Lake District (Poetry Country) England

The Lake District in Northern England is a beautiful, peaceful place with large expanses of water to hike around or just sit and look at, charming old hotels and good restaurants. It is a great area to drive around if you don't want to exert yourself too much, with several of the lakes visible and accessible by car.


It is a popular holiday destination with British people and with visitors from Europe and further-afield, so I prefer to go out of season, when the weather is a bit cooler and when fewer tourists are there, but it is a wonderful destination at any time of year.


The area is famous not just for it's beauty and great walks, but also for the many poets and other writers who have based themselves here; William Wordsworth (1770-1850) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge being the most famous (see below) but also Tennyson, Ruskin, Beatrix Potter, Hugh Walpole, Thomas de Quincey and Melvin Bragg.


Here are some of my favourite places in the Lakes, places to stay, travel and hotel recommendations and some of my photographs of the area.

How to get to the Lake District - Where is the Lake District?

The Lake District is near Carlisle in the north of England, south of the Scottish Border and north of Manchester. It is easy to drive there either from Carlisle (50 miles), airports in southern Scotland (150 miles from Edinburgh) or north from Manchester (80 miles). From southern England or London you may need to allow more than a day to drive there (driving 270 miles from London Heathrow Airport to Windermere would take about 6 hours) There are also train services to Windermere station.

show route and directions
A markerEdinburgh, uk -
Edinburgh, uk
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B markerWindermere, Cumbria -
Windermere, Cumbria
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C markerCarlisle, uk -
Carlisle, uk
get directions

D markerManchester, uk -
Manchester, uk
get directions

Map of The Lake District, Cumbria

show route and directions
A markerwindermere, cumbria -
windermere, cumbria
get directions

B markercarlisle, uk -
carlisle, uk
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(Lake) Windermere

(Lake) Windermere
(Lake) Windermere

Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside

Windermere is the largest natural lake in England at over 10 miles long and a mile wide. It is one of the most popular places to visit in the Lake District and has the towns of Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside on it's banks, with many hotels and restaurants. Winderemere is the largest of these towns, popular in Victorian times because it was the arrival point for most visitors and the location of a main railway station, which was opened in 1847. All make a good base for exploring the other smaller lakes or for boat-trips and hiking.

The lake is just a short walk from the town of Windermere and pleasant walks can be taken along the lake edge, near the piers and boats for hire, where Mute swans glide and waddle past hoping for food from the many tourists. Ferries can be taken to Sawrey and Hawkshead or you can go to the Windermere Steamboat Museum, or the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, if it is raining.

Windermere has the biggest selection of hotels, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars in the area.

Beautiful and Peaceful

Beautiful and Peaceful
Beautiful and Peaceful

Getting Away From It...

Getting Away From It...
Getting Away From It...

Where to Stay

There are many wonderful old hotels in the Lake district. Here are few of my favourites:

Applegarth Hotel in Windermere. A great location for the town. Quite old fashioned but very comfortable. A good restaurant and there are plenty more good restaurants nearby in the town.

Bridge Inn, Buttermere. Wonderful location. Not much more than a couple of pubs, a lake and some sheep. Nice easy walk round the lake and reasonable packed lunch from the pub/hotel. Either of the pubs would be good for a night or two. The Bridge Inn does a good "5-course" dinner or bar-food. Not much else to do apart from the pubs though.

Wordsworth Hotel, Grasmere. Posh and old-fashioned. 5-course dinner and pleasant bar etc. right in the centre, with plenty to see without using the car.

Ivy House Hotel, Hawkshead. Very small, friendly, Georgian, Grade 2 listed, but comfortable with great food.

None of these are modern hotels, but they were all comfortable and charming.

There are plenty more to choose from though.

For more European hotel recommendations and reviews...

Buttermere

Buttermere
Buttermere

The Lakes

If you want to get away from the tourists Buttermere is an excellent location; quieter than Windermere and extremely beautiful.

Grasmere and Ambleside are more popular spots with plenty to keep the tourists amused, especially if you have finished your day's walking or prefer to spend time in shops, cafes and pubs, but it is worth visiting several lakes, towns and villages because they all have their own character.

Here is the full list of lakes:

Bassenthwaite Lake

Brotherswater

Buttermere

Coniston Water

Crummock Water

Derwent Water

Devoke Water

Elterwater

Ennerdale Water

Esthwaite Water

Grasmere

Haweswater Reservoir

Hayeswater

Loweswater

Rydal Water

Thirlmere

Ullswater

Wast Water

Windermere(Notice that only one of the lakes has the word "Lake" in its name)If you want some more arduous hiking, there is Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in EnglandThe Official Lake District National Park Web-site

Daffodils - The lake district is famous for it's daffodils.

Buttermere

Buttermere
Buttermere

Poetry in The Lakes - Wordsworth and friends

The Lakes were (and still are) a popular place for poets to visit or live; A place of tranquility where nature can inspire you to write beautifully. The most famous poet associated with the region was, of course, William Wordsworth.

William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) is perhaps the most famous British poet and certainly the most famous from the Lake District. He was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland in the Lake District and closely associated with the English Romantic Movement after he and Samuel Taylor Coleridge published Lyrical Ballads in 1798 (featuring Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner.")

The inspiration for much of William Wordsworth's work was the beautiful landscape and nature in the Lake District. He lost his parents while still a young child: his mother at the age of eight and his father when he was thirteen. He was able to attend school and gained a place at St. John's Cambridge University and had his first sonnet published the same year in 1791. One of his early works was inspired by an affair with a French girl, Annette Vallon, during a vacation in France and their illegitimate daughter Anne Caroline.

Wordsworth had been separated from his beloved neurotic sister Dorothy as a child and much of his later life was dedicated to her, spending the winter of 1798-99 with her and Coleridge in Germany where he wrote the "Lucy" poems. He moved Dove Cottage, Grasmere in the Lake District on his return and in 1802 married Mary Hutchinson and together they cared for William's sister Dorothy for the remaining 20 years of her life.

In 1843 he was appointed as England's poet laureate and he died on April 23, 1850.

William Wordsworth wrote many sonnets, but the most famous and most often quoted is "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud" (so I shall do so again):

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils,

Beside the lake, beneath the trees

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:

Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: -

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company:

I gazed -and gazed -but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills

And dances with the daffodils.

Introducing Britain: Daffodils in the Lake District - Wordsworth...

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere
Lake Windermere

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    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 3 years ago from London, England

      @scafellpike: Oops. Thanks for pointing that out. Although maybe that was a deliberate misspelling to trick the search engines (and it was just on that last photo. I did spell it correctly all the other times)

    • scafellpike profile image

      scafellpike 3 years ago

      Hey!

      Great lens. Just a quick point however: Lake Windamere is actually spelled 'Lake Windermere'.

      I might link to this on my site: scafellpike.org.uk :)

    • x10dit lm profile image

      x10dit lm 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this really informative lense, plenty of detail and very helpful.

    • profile image

      christineallen 4 years ago

      Very entertaining and informative lens

    • chinchilla-cages profile image

      chinchilla-cages 4 years ago

      It's a fantastic area to visit!

    • Mikewrites LM profile image

      Mikewrites LM 5 years ago

      I absolutely LOVE the lake district go to Bowness every year. Brilliant lens

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Hey, I've been there too!

    • BritStops profile image

      BritStops 5 years ago

      Great lens, Andy! Love the lakes, and this is a comprehensive guide.

    • uktvbrackets lm profile image

      uktvbrackets lm 5 years ago

      hoping to eventually move to the lakes. love it!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      The Lake District is one of my favourite holiday destinations and I've been there many times. I'm going back there again this August. This is an excellent lens - very detailed and well put-together.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 6 years ago

      I would never have thought about this on my own, I need more time to get to all the great places in England

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 7 years ago

      Looks very beautiful and peaceful. Hope to visit one day.

    • AlisonMeacham profile image

      AlisonMeacham 7 years ago

      It is a very long time since I visited - probably 20 years. As always an excellent lens Andy - Squid Angel Blessings to you

    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 7 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I really enjoyed the two days and one night I spent there. I liked the revisit here.

    • SoyCandleLover profile image

      BW Duerr 7 years ago from Henrietta, New York

      Superb. I'm having difficulty picking my favorite photo this time. 5 stars and Fav.

      P.S. The picture of the pastel colored boats... Have you ever caught a shot looking down into many? To this day I can still see it in my mind to this day. If not, oops, my apologies. If yes, bravo!

    • profile image

      leahthemoose 7 years ago

      I absolutely loved reading this lens! Well done! The lake district is my favourite place in the UK and for the last few years of my teens Iv been there at least once a year!

      This is definitely a 5* lens!

      If you get a moment check out my lenses about travelling, particularly in Nepal, Thanks!:

      http://www.squidoo.com/goodhostels

      http://www.squidoo.com/mynepalifamily

      http://www.squidoo.com/leahthemoose

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      [in reply to Shelly] Thanks for letting me know about this gem of a lens.

      Andy, this is truly fantastic!!!! I feel like I have been touched by the very air in this country.

      Spectacular place! I wish this lens much success and you too my friend. Excellent lens!

      Susie

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      A truly jocund presentation here Andy, I feel positively breezy! The photos and your writings are perfectly set off with the delights one visits with "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud"--absolutely delightful!

      This is great with a morning cup of coffee!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 8 years ago

      What a beautiful lens and on an amazing place. I have not been for many, many years but it's beauty is breath-taking. Photos are amazing Andy you have really captured it well. 5*

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Good point. Where is the Lake district? England is a small place... just keep driving north for a couple of days and you can't miss it. When you get to Scotland you've gone too far ;-)

      I've added a map showing it's location relative to Manchester, Carlise and the Scottish border.

      Thanks

      [in reply to spirituality]

    • religions7 profile image

      religions7 8 years ago

      Great lens, blessed - but a map would be nice, cause where IS the lakedistrict, within the UK?

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 8 years ago

      Poetic and beautiful photo's. Looks lovely.

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      The Lake District looks really inviting. I miss the rural lifestyle and love to revisit it on vacation.

      Great lens

      Lizzy

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Thanks very much. I wasn't sure if I could use Wordsworth without breaching copyright. I suppose I could use the original unpublished versions. e.g.:

      "I wandered lonely as a cow..." (And that really is true)

      Actually it's probably O.K. Given the age of his work it will be out of copyright anyway.

      [in reply to poddys]

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 8 years ago from Southampton, UK

      Great lens and some of your best photos yet. 5*****. I love the one of the church and daffodils. You could maybe add some Wordsworth in there too...

    • profile image

      Alpinefolk 8 years ago

      Great lens... Unfortunately I missed visiting the Lake district in my stint in the UK. Now very disapointed. Thereis always next time I guess.

    • profile image

      Vacation-In-My-Head 8 years ago

      Very inviting, I could see myself relaxing peacefully here. Wonderful job and beautiful pictures!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Absolutely beautiful pictures Andy -- looks so inviting and tranquil. ;)

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Very nice. Excellent pictures. Wish I was there.

    • Lynx92 profile image

      Lynx92 8 years ago

      Spent the weekend there a few weeks ago. Great place for relaxing, walking and admiring the scenery. Got a bit wet while walking around Coniston Water though. Still, I suppose if it didn't rain, there wouldn't be any lakes.

    • Andy-Po profile image
      Author

      Andy 8 years ago from London, England

      Thanks very much. I think the Lakes will be even more popular this year, given the weakness of the pound. [in reply to magicdarts]

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Love windermere and derwent water friars crag- great for relaxation

      excellent pics!