Lake District, England: the epitome of surreal beauty and breathtaking magnificence
Picture perfect greenery, serene lakes, utterly charming hilltops and stunning panoramas are just some of the elements that are found in abundance in England’s largest national park, the Lake District. Covering an area of about 2600 sq kilometers, the park earned its status as a national park in 1951 and as a UNESCO world heritage site in 2017. Immensely popular for not only its natural splendor but also because of its influence on many a famous writer and poet, the Lake District, is arguably England’s favorite place to unwind and soak in the very best of the country’s landscape.
An enchanting destination, Lake District lies within the county of Cumbria in England and houses the highest peak of the country (Scafell Pike). Located in the Northwest corner of the country, it forms for a great day trip from Manchester. With plenty to explore, Lake District is accessible by both train and as well as road and lies at a distance of about 90 miles from Manchester.
A boat ride amidst the tranquil Windmere lake is a great way to kick-start your journey into this land of superlatives. At about 219 feet deep and a whopping ten and a half miles long, Windmere is the largest lake in England. There is plenty you can see and do in and around Windmere. There are several options you can choose from including a guided boat tour, canoeing, sailing and kayaking, power boating and water skiing. The idyllic towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside are not only beautiful but also great bases to start your tour of the Lake District.
The world of Beatrix Potter
If your childhood favorite book “The Tales of Peter Rabbit” still makes you smile and transports you into the world of nostalgia, Lake District is the place for you. For, it is here that you can discover the world of one of the most talented writers of England, Beatrix Potter. The Hill top, a wonderful 17th-century house with heritage stone walls was once the home of this renowned illustrator and children’s book writer. Now converted into a museum, you can take a walk along the interiors of the house including the parlor, staircase, and landing which formed the setting for many of Potter’s children books. Several pieces of furniture that were the inspiration of the author and found themselves in several of her illustrations can be seen here. The pretty garden that finds mention is many of her books is sure to kindle fond memories.
The house which encapsulates her life was bequeathed by Potter herself to the National Trust who have impeccably preserved this legacy that bought to life as many as 23 of her books. There is also a quaint store where you can pick up books, magnets and other souvenirs related to the author.
You can also visit the Wray castle which was the home of Potter during her early childhood. It was here that she developed a fondness for the countryside and made Lake District her home. A perfect place for a fun-filled family outing, Wray castle is a significant place to visit on the Beatrix Potter trail.
The life and times of yet another world-renowned writer, William Wordsworth can be traced to Lake District. Almost synonymous with his most famous work, the poem “Daffodils”, William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, an ancient market town in Cumbria. The first line of his poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, is a true reflection of the poet’s life in these picturesque and bewitching settings.
One can visit the Hawkshead Grammar School that was founded in 1585 where Wiliam Wordsworth was a student between 1779 and 1787. The school retains its old wooden desks that have several student names inscribed, the most famous being, of course, William Wordsworth.
The old blackboards, notice boards, handwritten memos and the furniture of the yesteryears are worth exploring. The headmaster’s study on the upper level also gives one invaluable insight into the world of schooling and education in England during the 18th century.
William Wordsworth went on study at Cambridge and later came back to live in Dove’s cottage in the beautiful village of Grasmere for almost 14 years. While in this delightfully pretty village, you can visit Dove Cottage which is an insightful place for both children and adults alike. An enchanting house which is a perfect model of the traditional Lakeland home of the yore, Wordsworth lived here with his sister, Dorothy. Together they built the garden which was the highlight of the house, both then and now. After visiting the house and the garden, stop by at the adjacent museum Wordsworth museum that is again a treasure house of the poet’s works and belongings including original manuscripts. William Wordsworth died in Grasmere and was buried in the churchyard of St Oswald’s Church in the village. One can visit his grave that lies next to that of his wife and sister.
The village of Grasmere is totally charming with an angelic appeal. It is well known for its manicured landscapes, gardens as well as cafes, bakeries, and restaurants serving some absolutely delectable, farm fresh delicacies. It is also famous for The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop which sells, what is popularly known as, the world’s best gingerbread. Started by Sarah Nelson in 1854, this secret recipe is known to conjure the perfect gingerbread that seems like a combination of a cake and biscuit. The recipe is fiercely guarded till date and the shop is run by the third generation of the family. Apart from the gingerbread, make sure you pick up some gingerbread themed souvenirs including some exquisite teapots during your visit here.
Apart from the above, there are lots to see and do in Lake District. The lake of Derwentwater is yet another gorgeous water body that is sure to have a rejuvenating effect on your senses. There are several other lakes, hilltops, and valleys that are best explored through the umpteen walking and trekking routes.
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