I am of the belief that the Lake District is indeed one of the best places in the world as it has so much to offer. Whether you are looking to holiday there or live there, it has something for everybody. I have travelled to a lot of European holiday destinations and have paid a lot more than I would for a week at the Lakes and I must say that the foreign holiday resorts couldn’t boast half of what the Lakes can. Of course, the great British weather can be unpredictable but with plenty to fill your time indoors and out, an appearance by that illusive sun is merely a bonus.
Best in the UK, best in the world?
Let me give you an idea of why I think the Lake District is so great:
The picturesque views are one of the main reasons that so many people flock to the lakes every year. Red squirrels would agree as the Lake District is one of the few places where they can still be found. Declared a National Park in 1951, it is the largest in Britain, housing their deepest water, Wastwater, and their longest lake, Windermere.
Lake Windermere - amazing
Those that are looking for an energetic way to fill their time should look no further than the National Park where you will find adventure pursuits a plenty, from kayaking and water-skiing to rock-climbing. At Grizedale Forest you can climb rope bridges and descend zip slides from up to 60ft high – that’s one way to check out the scenery! If that is not challenging enough for you, why not scale Scafell Pike?
Looks like Lord Of The Rings, doesn’t it?
However, you can still spend time outdoors without breaking a sweat. With over 3500km of rights of way there is plenty of land to explore with more demanding routes for seasoned walkers and ‘miles without stiles’ routes that are shorter and suitable for families with buggies or wheelchair users. If walking isn’t your thing there is always sailing or fishing. After all, you might as well take advantage of all that glorious water!
Sailing is an excellent past time
The Lake District has so much to offer with regards to amusing your children. Beatrix Potter based so much of her work on the local scenery and you can visit her house which is a National Trust site. Follow this up with a visit to the World of Beatrix Potter at Windermere and see Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and the rest of their friends come to life.
For water themed activities – it is the Lakes, after all – why not try La’al Ratty where the kids can discover the lakes on a restored narrow gauge railway. Windermere also boasts the largest collection of freshwater fish at the Aquarium of the Lakes and with over 30 displays, it should fill a few hours.
Spend a day at the South Lake Wild Animal Park which was named the Large Visitor Attraction of the year in 2008. There are also many farms, swimming pools, adventure playgrounds and soft play areas to satisfy every whim. Oh, and don’t forget the famous World’s Largest Pencil!
And who doesn’t want to see such a big pencil?
There is an abundance of history to be found in the Lake District. Many famous writers were inspired by the area such as Samuel Coleridge and William Wordsworth whose Dove Cottage is open for visitors alongside the Wordsworth Museum.
If culture is what you are looking for, there is plenty on offer. You could visit the Museum of Lakeland Life or view the Quaker Tapestry which took 15 years to create. If historic houses are more your thing, why not try Tullie House and Museum, Hutton-in-the-Forest Historic House or Halker Hall and Gardens. Other beautiful gardens are on display at Mirehouse Historic House and Levens Hall. You will also find the 12th Century Carlisle Castle nearby.
The famous Theatre by the Lake in Derwentwater is a year-round theatre which presents regionally-produced drama surrounded by breathtaking views of the lakes. This theatre is a personal favourite of my in-laws who make sure they book a show every time they visit the area (several times a year!) but it really is an ideal way to spend an evening no matter what age you are.
If you prefer to spend your time in the pub, there are more of them than I could mention. With great atmospheres, a variety of local ales, homemade food and a cosy log fire to sit around, it’s a perfect way to while away an afternoon or evening.
On a recent visit to the lakes, my husband returned with a huge bar of chocolate for me. However, it turned out that it was actually a huge bar of Kendal Mint Cake, popular with mountain climbers because of the sugar and glucose it contains. It is not really to my liking (I would rather have had a large bar of chocolate!) but it is a famous export of the area.
Now you’re talking - Mint Cake!!!!
Much more to my liking are the famous, traditionally spicy Cumberland Sausages and Herdwick sheep products. Hearty local produce is certainly a speciality and encompasses meat, fish and fruit. Try and get your hands on a jar of damson jam – absolutely delicious – or, even better, try damson cobbler for a delicious desert. Grasmere gingerbread is another winning local recipe.
So what do you look for when choosing a holiday? Plenty to do? Nice scenery? Friendly locals? Good food? History? Culture? Guaranteed sunshine? Well, nowhere is perfect but I believe the Lake District comes close. It is one of the best places in the World because the vast array of endeavours on offer makes the weather a secondary consideration, and when the sun does shine it just enhances its magnificent beauty.