Destination “Friday”: The Lake District

March 29, 2008 at 1:31 pm Leave a comment

The Lake District is a rural area in northwest England and this week’s destination as part of my UK series. The area is famous for its lakes and mountains as well as its associations with famous literary types such as William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. It’s the perfect place for taking long walks and relaxing.

Images from Wiki.

Getting There
When I visited the Lake District back in 2001, we came from Holyhead by train (after visiting Dublin) on our BritRail passes. If you want to scoot around the UK by train for several days, it’s definitely a good option ($329 for 4 days w/in 2 months under the Flexipass, $259 for 4 consecutive days). Actually, they have options that would work for a lot of different plans. Anyway, these are nice because you don’t have to make a specific train. The prices aren’t bad either – just remember that you have to purchase yours before you arrive in the UK. BritainOnTrack is a good resource for more info about BritRail passes. Your local travel agent is also likely a good person to talk to about BritRail passes.

If you’re not up for figuring everything out yourself, there are tour companies that will set everything up for you – they’ll get your train ticket from London, take you around for a day or more, and then get you back to London. If that’s what you prefer, check out the packages at Lakes Supertours, Premium Tours, or Viator. If you enjoy or would like to experience a hiking tour, check out the options at Discerning Traveller and Bredeson Outdoor Adventures.

What to See/Do
Windermere – There are lots of towns for you to check out, but I’ve only been to Windermere. This cute little town has great views of the countryside and home to adorable b&bs, pubs, shops, and restaurants. One could easily spend a day just poking around there. If you are so inclined, there are several gardens to check out – Stagshaw Garden, Mawson’s garden at Brockhole, Blackwell Garden, and Holehird Garden.

Lake cruise – Anyone should enjoy a lake cruise on Windermere. Ideally, you can also use the cruise as transportation between other attractions – steam railway, aquarium, the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, Ambleside museum, and the little towns and villages around the lake.

Castles and forts – There are several super old structures to see in the Lake District: Appleby Castle (not open to the public), Muncaster Castle (with gardens and an owl center), Birdoswald Fort, Sizergh Castle, and Dalton Castle.

The Great Outdoors – If fishing is your thing, taking a boat out on Esthwaite Water might be fun – or just fish from the shore. It’s also a great idea to just hike around the lakes; the Lake District National Park Authority is a great resource that will guide you to find just the right hike for you. The LDNPA also has good information for cyclists. Golfers should enjoy a round at Windermere Golf Club (pricing).

Where to Stay
In my opinion, you really must stay at a b&b to get the proper Lake District experience. You can start with the Bed and Breakfast Directory or Hotels and Guest Houses to figure out where you’d like to stay. If you’re visiting in the off season, you likely don’t need to worry about getting a reservation in advance. Heck, you needn’t even research at all. We just walked off the train, wandered around a bit, and headed into the Osborne Guest House. Not only was it cozy and comfortable, but the hosts provided a great full English breakfast – AND it was cheap.

Where to Eat
In these small towns, I would just head for a pub whenever I felt the call. If you’re looking for something a bit more special, there are definitely some good options. There are also several places for a cuppa. If you time your visit just right, you might even hit a Lakeland Beer Festival.

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Entry filed under: CenturyClub, Destinations, Europe, UK.

Ack! Even more cancelled flights! Flights between RDU and – now – LHR

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