Visiting The Lake District
The Lake District is a spectacular choice to visit either as a holiday destination or on a sightseeing day tour. Visitors are drawn to this spectacular largest UK’s National Park by both its scenery and endless opportunities to push themselves to both mental and physical limits in terms of mond-blowing scenery, sports, endurance tests, cycling, boating and hiking.
The Lake District is home to England’s largest and deepest natural lakes as well as its highest peaks. Littered with quaint towns & villages, legacy of old industry and delightful countryside pubs, there’s much to savour and discover in the Lake District.
Trace the inspiration behind some of the most beloved Beatrix Potter’s tales. She bought her first house in the Lake District with the proceeds of her most famous character, Peter Rabbit and went on to live in many neighbouring cottages leaving some to the National Trust when she died.
Potter was among the literacy greats to be influenced by this UK region with its spectacular lakes and rugged mountains uncontested as the most beautiful in the country. With over 200 square kilometres, the Lake District National Park is the most visited of all and the gem amongst the treasure of the UK with its glacial ribbon lakes, rugged fell mountains and coniferous and deciduous forests. Let’s explore what you’re likely to see for yourselves on a sightseeing day trip to The Lake District:
Strolls, Walks, Hikes, Challenges
Whatever type of walking takes your fancy, you will find it all and a place to do it in the Lake District. Fell walking, scrambling and climbing has become popular over the last decades encouraging countless television and film productions to choose this backdrop. Alfred Wainwright remains one of the most famous fell walkers and author, and has written a handful of uncontested useful guides with stunning hand-drawn illustrations. Every visitor should own one that can be picked up, along with other useful books, maps and hand-outs by the National Park Authority, from most souvenir shops and tourist information centres throughout the region.
The Lake District is home to some rather tasty, and occasionally unusual, local delicacies. Try hearty Cumberland sausages, sticky toffee pudding, Kendal mint cake or freshly baked Grasmere gingerbread. Each made according to the traditional recipe from local ingredients often under strict secrecy in their location of origin.
England’s largest and certainly most popular lakes, literally surrounded by lush fells, incoming streams, rugged mountain peaks and villages. Romance and pensive moments are assured if you are lucky enough to catch a sunset here. It’s shoreline is begging for exploration, as is it’s water aboard the numerous lake tour boats, from self-propelled to the royal steamers, from ½ hour to a full-day.
This bustling town built entirely from local materials to blend into the surrounding mountainsides is a welcoming retreat lying North of Lake Windermere. Its tiny streets twist and wind amongst countless resident quaint specialist shops, pubs and restaurants in a largely Victorian style. William Wordsworth had his office here, surprisingly not as a poet but as ‘Collector of Stamps’ for Westmorland. perhaps his mind wandered onto more stimulating subject matter as this preceded his finest works.
Castlerigg Stone Circle
Britain has a lot of stone circles. If fact, over 300 of these strange, legendary monuments, but none in such a dramatic setting as that of Castlerigg, which overlooks the Thirlmere Valley on one side and the mountains of High Seat and Helvellyn to the other.
It is thought to have been constructed about 3,000BC claiming it as one of the earliest, and therefore the most important in the country. It was claimed into guardianship in 1883 as one of the first monuments in the country to be preserved by the state.
So, what are they? Most believe they are burial monuments with the majority dating from about 2000–800BC containing evidence of cremations in central pits or beneath small central cairns. By contrast though, their Neolithic forebears such as Castlerigg and Swinside in The Lake District and Long Meg and her Daughters in the Eden Valley, do not contain formal burials. Some believe they were related to witchcraft or spiritual activities. Others think they were navigational “instruments” connecting Earth with other planets.
The Neolithic stone circle of Castlerigg comprises an open circle of formally 42 (now 38) large stones, 97½ ft (30 metres) in diameter, and formerly comprised 42 stones, varying in height from 3¼ ft (1 metre) to 7½ ft (2.3 metres). It has a clearly defined North entrance flanked by two large upright stones, and the outlier stone is presently to the west-south-west but this stone has been moved from its original position at some stage giving further speculative suggestion that such outlying stones had astronomical significance in their coincidental alignments with planets and/or stars.
Castlerigg has yet to be extensively excavated and it is not known what might be preserved beneath the surface. Any day tour that includes this ancient masterpiece and subjects its visitors to walking amongst it’s spirits is bound to have a significant memory impact.
Great & Little Langdale
No day tour to The Lake District would be complete without a circular 15-mile drive (best in a clock-wise direction) through the Little & Great Langdales; the name meaning ‘the little & long valley.
Steep mountain rises, twisty, tights single-track roads, extreme vehicle inclines, tarns, gills, and waterfalls add to the immersive adventure amongst this rugged beauty. Grassy pastures give occasional rest-bite between breath-holding in contrast with its bare rock and bracken.
The Langdales rise suddenly and steeply from the flat surrounding landscape along the Langdale Pikes, which include Pike O’Stickle and Harrison Stickle poking their rocky peaks above the valley’s north-western end, their spires seen from the northern shores of Windermere.
Raven Crag and Gimmer Crag, along with Pavey Ark have challenged rock climbers for centuries and Bowfell, at 2960 feet, sends numerous streams down their sides into Great Langdale.
You’ll also see the summits of Crinkle Crags and Pike o’Blisco at the road summit where Great & Little Langdale divides into two other dales, Mickleden and Oxendale.
Dungeon Ghyll, a deep ravine with its 60-foot waterfall, is a hikers haven documented on many Victorian’s itineraries. Although not having a large volume of water, there is great force and noise behind it.
5,000 years ago, Neolithic man made stone axes from the hard volcanic rock of these vallies and traded them throughout Britain. Today they have made their way around the globe. In the 1800’s smugglers used the valley routes with packhorses transferring their illicit alcoholic and tobacco goods landed on the coast from the Isle Of Man where taxes didn’t exist.
Little Langdale, separated by the Lingmoor Fells from Great Langdale gets even narrower on its twisting roller-coaster road that passes it’s finest secret waterhole, Blea Tarn. A one-way stroll around the banks of this pearl in the mountains will find yourself passing through the kissing gate, where many have pledged (or re-pledged) their adornment of their partners.
The tiny ancient 10th iter Roman road navigates the Wrynose pass the ancient Roman road with sheep dotting the hillsides and The Brathay River winding down the middle of the valley.
Wordsworth was so inspired with Little Langdale and Blea Tarn that he wrote about them in his poem, The Solitary:
“Beneath our feet, a little lowly vale, A lowly vale, and yet uplifted high Among the mountains…. A quiet treeless nook, with two green fields, A liquid pool that glittered in the sun,. . . Ah! what a sweet Recess, thought I, is here!”