Every year, millions of us make our New Year’s resolutions. From getting fit to seeing friends, eating healthier food to trying new things. And there’s one place where all of these can happen. The English Lake District.
The Lake District National Park
Located in the north-west corner of England, the Lake District National Park covers over 2,000 square kilometres and is nothing short of spectacular – no wonder it’s long been one of the United Kingdom’s favourite holiday destinations. After all, it offers pretty much everything. Breathtaking scenery, outstanding visitor attractions, amazing food and, most importantly perhaps, the chance to relax, unwind and recharge your batteries.
It’s also home to the highest mountain, the longest lake and the deepest lake in England.
But what’s truly fantastic about the Lake District is that there is something for everyone, so if you’re looking for new challenges, somewhere you can make those resolutions really happen, get yourself here. I promise you won’t regret it.
The Lake District fells
The Lake District fells provide the stunning backdrop to the national park. They also offer endless opportunities to explore, to breathe in the fresh mountain air, to capture the moment.
This is your chance to start ‘Wainwright Bagging’. A Wainwright is one of the 214 fells identified by Alfred Wainwright, a fell walker and the author of a seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lakeland Fells which were published between 1955 and 1966. These became the definitive guidebooks to walking in the Lake District. Nowadays they are considered classics, but many people still refer to them before a day on the fells. Each time you make it to the top of one of these fells, you’ve bagged a Wainwright.
This is your chance to take on a serious challenge, one which you might not complete in a year, even in ten years, but one you will certainly enjoy. Sign up to something spectacular, rather than signing up to some kind of fad diet. Yes, some walks are harder on the knees than others and some will have you gaping in awe at the scenery more than others, but all will leave you with a sense of achievement and memories to last a lifetime.
The lakes (and tarns) of the Lake District
Nestled in among the fells and moors of the Lake District are sixteen glacial lakes, as well as numerous tarns, a shimmering punctuation to green valleys and rocky outcrops. And another opportunity to try something new.
From wild swimming to stand-up paddle-boarding, fly-fishing to kayaking, the lakes and tarns of the Lake District are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. But if you’re looking for something a little more serene, take a trip on one of Lake Windermere’s cruisers, or an Ullswater steamer. Better still, hire a boat yourself and explore the hidden beaches and bays on lakes such as Windermere or Derwent Water.
Lake District – a gourmet’s paradise
Not that long ago, if you’d asked someone about Lake District food, they’d have said Cumberland sausage, Kendal Mintcake and Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding. A meal out was a warming stew or a hearty roast in front of a roaring fire following a day on the fells. All still worth savouring.
But nowadays, the mere mention of the Lake District inspires talk of fine dining and Michelin stars, new restaurants and pubs where gastronomic invention has been taken to a whole new level. In short, the Lake District has become a foodie’s dream, an ever-changing landscape where our wonderful local producers provide ingredients for world-renowned chefs to create amazing dishes, and in so doing, a chance for you to indulge yourself and to experience new tastes and flavours you’ll never forget.
Lake District culture
It’s not all outdoor adventure followed by fine dining. The Lake District has a rich cultural heritage as well. Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth both called this little corner of England home – and you can now walk in their footsteps and see what it was that inspired them.
Take a trip to Hill Top, the traditional farmhouse where Beatrix Potter spent so much time, and the main source of inspiration for iconic characters such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck. Or wander lonely as a cloud and just like Wordsworth you too may see a crowd, a host of golden daffodils (in March anyway!). Alternatively, visit Dove Cottage or Rydal Mount, former homes of the poet, and have a go at writing a few lines of poetry yourself. Will these iconic surroundings rub off on you?
For lovers of theatre, independent cinema, galleries, museums, festivals and exhibitions, visitors to the Lake District are spoilt for choice. As well as Hill Top and Wordsworth’s cottages, take time to visit Levens Hall, Sizergh Castle or Brantwood; if live performance is your thing, there’s nowhere quite like Theatre by the Lake on the shores of Derwentwater in Keswick or the Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness; and if you want to immerse yourself in the Arts & Crafts movement, soak up the atmosphere at Blackwell, just outside Bowness, one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts & Crafts architecture.
As well as stately homes, castles and museums, the Lake District is home to some amazing attractions, perfect for those with younger families. Boats, cars, even pencils, we’ve got it all. If you’re looking for something adrenalin-fuelled, the 200m zip wire across Grizedale Forest or the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine are well worth a visit.
Of course, we haven’t even touched upon cycling, rock climbing, horse-riding, steam railways, stargazing, photography, ghosts, stone circles, the coast, pack ponies or wolves. The list goes on and on.
If your New Year’s resolution was to try something new or to experience something amazing, make sure you stick to it. Simply visit the Lake District.
Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Ground Estate Company Limited, which has a number of Lake District holiday cottages, including Birkdale House. Birkdale House is a luxury Victorian residence at the heart of a privately owned estate in the English Lake District.
If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.