So, explore the land at will, but then sample all the others tastes that the Lake District has to offer too.
There are Lake District walks to suit bodies and wills of all types; the young, the old, the super fit, the not so fit and let’s not forget the dog walkers. Renting a self-catering cottage in the stunning Lakes National Park gives you the freedom to come and go as you please and therefore set your own adventure agenda. From cosy boltholes to impressive barn conversions, Lakelovers Cumbrian self-catering cottages are in the best walking locations, whether it is for hitting the fells every day or a family romp along a lake shore.
If you’ve never walked a fell in the Lake District before, you’ll not forget walking up your first one, as the views from the summit, even on easier walks such as Orrest Head, in Windermere, are unrivalled and each fell gives its own unique perspective over the landscape.
Here is a selection of walks for you to consider:
Aira Force, Ullswater - The Aira Force walk, in Ullswater, is a short meander that will certainly get the leg muscles going but has plenty of interest along the way so you can take as long as you like. Once at the top, you’re greeted by a spectacular waterfall where you can spend a little time gazing in awe at its power and beauty.
Helvelyn, Ullswater - An exhilarating ridge walk that will leave you hungry for some good pub grub and for more adventure.
Stickle Ghyll, Langdale - Track the running water all the way from the start point at the New Dungeon Ghyll pub in Great Langdale to its summit where Stickle Tarn awaits.
Tarn Hows, Coniston - Pack a picnic and head to Tarn Hows for a relaxing stomp which is accessible for all the family, including prams and mobility scooters.
If walking is not for you, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the breathtaking scenery and fresh air without having to get out of puff yourself.
Lakelovers Holiday Cottages in Cumbria and the Lakes are handpicked for their accessibility to some of the top attractions across the National Park.
Head onto England’s largest lake with Windermere Lakes Cruises, include a stop at Brockhole Visitor Centre for GoApe and a superb outdoor adventure playground or a gentle stroll around the gardens. Alternatively, head for some outdoor gear retail therapy in Ambleside, north of Windermere and then onto Wray Castle, which is a great family and wet day attraction. During the Summer months hop off the cruise at Lakeside and step back in time aboard The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway steam train.
For water lovers, join the legacy of the record breaking Bluebird K7 hydroplane at Coniston Boating Centre, where there’s a range of more approachable boats for hire. The motor boat is particularly fun and a great way to enjoy the scenery at your own pace and agenda. Or where better to test your sailing skills than on the lake where author of Swallows and Amazons, Arthur Ransome, learnt his tacking from his jibing.
Hit the Lakes’ trails on a bike and cover lots of ground in a day. With over 200 peaks, the Lake District is a mountain biker’s paradise. If it’s not just the thrill of a hair-rising downhill decent that you’re looking for, exploring the Lakes on bike is a environmentally great way to see a lot in a day. Plus, many of the routes have superb country pubs along the way to refuel a thirsty rider! The Lakes is home to England’s only true Mountain Forest, Whinlatter Forest, and has some of the most popular trails in the country too.
Whilst the wilds of Scafell Pike or seclusion of the Langdale Valley are what many look for when heading to the Lake District, there’s some examples of the finest manicured gardens in the UK on offer too. Holker Hall, Levens Halls, Sizergh Castle, Brantwood House, Holehird Gardens and Lowther Castle are some of the superb home and grounds where you can enjoy some of the very best gardens designed for and by the rich and gentry who made the Lake District their own private haven.
Wining and Dining
Couples, walkers, families and pet owners are being wooed by Cumbria’s self-catering cottages. The Lake District is in particular the place to take loved ones for a special occasion. Cumbria has become quite the foodie mecca with the trend for source to plate cuisine and rise of eating sustainably. Many of today’s food trends are quite organic to the Cumbrian way of life. As a farming region Cumbrian’s have been eating nose to tail, seasonally and ‘foraging’ for some time.
We’re not sure the ‘healthy’ food trend has made it to Cumbria yet, however, as most hikes or cycle trails end with a pint, or several, of a local ale rather than a kale smoothie!
Because Cumbria is a farming region and is home to one of the UK’s most popular tourist destinations, the Lake District National Park, farmers have become ‘local producer extraordinaire’ and are serving up some of the finest products around. From Morecambe Bay shrimps, the world-famous Herdwick Lamb and Cumberland Sausage to Mr Vikki's sweet and spicy chilli jam and Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, there’s so many award-winning and globally recognised products to sample. So popular are Cumbrian producers that they are becoming destinations themselves, like More? The Artisan Bakery, Cranstons Food Hall and Low Sizergh Farm.
Cumbria is also home to top restaurants, including several Michelin starred restaurants, L’enclume, The Samling, Holbeck Ghyll and Gilpin, and so not short on places to raise a toast or create memories.
With the rise of farmers’ markets, Cumbria are leading the way and a trip around a regional market to stock up your holiday cottage is the perfect way to taste local food. There’s nothing better than speaking to producers at the market and getting family recipes and cooking advice, like how to cook veal with a blackberry vodka just, to try back at your cottage.
There’s also a plethora of upmarket foodie events across the Lake District, including Taste Cumbria, Holker Chilli Festival and The World's Original Marmalade Awards and Festival, to rival those in cosmopolitan holiday locations. And of course, it is hard to stay in the Lakes, especially throughout the Summer months, and not come across a beer festival. With so many superb breweries and now lots of micro-breweries, why would the region not celebrate. Make sure you don’t miss out!
Whilst the likes of poet William Wordsworth and children’s book author Beatrix Potter wrote some of the greatest English Literature works in the Lake District, hiding from the crowds and away from London publishers, today, many flock to the Lakes to walk in the footsteps of these literary masterminds. What does a ‘host of a thousand daffodils’ swaying in the Cumbrian breeze really look like? What were the locations and wildlife that brought Peter Rabbit to life and into one of the most loved children’s character worldwide? Visit the only place in the world where you can see Wordworth’s everyday belongings, at his first home Dove Cottage and Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top home, which is also preserved as a ‘time-capsule of her life’.
For those with a nose for history, there are many historic houses and museums across the Lake District telling the tales of famous names, like Arthur Ranson, John Ruskin and the Arts and Craft movement, as well as the rich history of the region, including tales of Gunpowder Factories, Coniston Coppermines and spectacular geology.
Film buffs like to track down movie locations, such as Cathedral Cave, where Snow White and The Huntsman shot scenes, or head to Derwentwater and Thirlmere which provided the backdrop for the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Kendal Calling music festival attracts big headliners, like Noel Gallagher. And the region welcomes other big music names such as Jools Holland who has played at Cartmel Racecourse and Sir Elton John who débuted the Lake District at the Westmorland Country Show. The Theatre by the Lake, sitting on the shores of Derwentwater is plauded as one of the best theatre locations in the UK and the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal is a buzz of year-round culture and events.
So, to look after mind, body and soul, a holiday or short break in the Lake District is hard to beat. Fresh air, perhaps a little exercise and fantastic food with a luxurious bed at the end of it, will leave you feeling like a new person – make no bones about it.