Cumbria the Lake District is a very diverse region and each area of it has its own highlights and characteristics.
The Lake District, designated as a National Park in 1951, is justifiably one of the most popular tourist haunts in England in fact it is the second most visited National Park in the world after the Mount Fugiyama park in Japan!.
Almost a third of the land is now owned by the National Trust, whose role it is “to preserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Lake District and to ensure that people can continue to enjoy the Lake District”.
Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain, rising to 977 metres and Wast Water is England’s deepest lake, a depth of 86 metres.
The area has something to offer visitors at all times of the year, in all seasons. Even in the harsh winter months with its lightly snow-capped fells it offers spectacular scenery and numerous possibilities for the enthusiastic rambler. During the autumn the numerous changes of colour and the russet foliage add a note of romantic excitement in a season conventionally associated with death, decay and dreariness.
During the spring and summer seasons the area blossoms fully into that idyllic environment that has inspired poets throughout the ages.
The Lake District has something to offer everyone: children, the casual tourist, the admirer of nature and the literary enthusiast. It appeals to a wide range of people.
Relax and enjoy the diversity of colour and the breathtaking views of this stunning and contrasting landscape. The Lakes and Mountains of the Western Lake District are often described magnificent, awesome, tranquil and breathtaking… they are all of these and more.
Each valley has its own ‘look’ and atmosphere; from the austerity and moods of Wasdale and the welcoming green of Eskdale, to the peace and quiet of the Buttermere Valley and hidden gems like Crummock Water and Loweswater, there is a land waiting to be experienced.
Seven award-winning beaches are recognised for their water quality, cleanliness, management, safety and information provision. These can be found at Silloth West, Allonby, Allonby Saltpans, St Bees, Seascale, Silecroft and Haverigg. – Wainwright’s Coast to Coast Walk begins at St Bees and makes it’s way through the area as it leads to Robin Hoods Bay on the North East coast. C2C cycleway riders ‘dip their wheels’ in the harbour at Whitehaven, while those following the Cumbria Coastal Way route can experience the variety of delights and contrasting features along the entire Western Lake District coastline.
The coast at Ravenglass and Drigg is characterised by sand dunes and sandy estuary features, with three rivers coming together to enter the sea. In doing so, they create a memorable section of coastline.
|On the shores of the Solway Firth, facing the hills of Southern Galloway and backed by the Lake District Fells, is an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty an area that is popular all year-round for people of all ages.|
|The Wasdale valley has not only mountains, the lake and surrounding countryside,|
it also has a unique atmosphere and a moody character quite unlike any other Western Lake District area. With an award-winning beach, ancient Viking remains and unbeatable scenery and views, this area is a must for every walker, climber and visitor.The Lake District is noted for its invigorating, but mild, climate; leisurely peaceful atmosphere and its glorious views and sunsets, immortalised when painted by famous landscape artist, Turner.
Bowness-on-Windermere situated in a spectacular lakeside setting on the eastern shore of Lake Windermere, is Cumbria’s most popular destination. The town is busy for much of the year, with people who come to enjoy the facilities of the lake for sailing, fishing and watersports, also those who come just to relax and enjoy the atmosphere of the area and the town’s delightful setting.
Lake Windermere at 10 and a half miles, is the longest lake in England. Situated on its eastern side are the ‘villages’ of Windermere and Bowness on Windermere. Windermere is about a mile from the lake and set on a hillside whilst Bowness, the more attractive of the two, is at the water’s edge, a short distance away. The two almost merge into each other with the railway station being at Windermere and buses running down to Bowness every few minutes. Winderemere was a village called Birthwaite until the coming of the railway in 1847, which changed the face of the district for ever.
Lake Windermere has been a water highway for centuries and is the headquarters of the Royal Windermere Yacht Club. It is the greatest centre in the district for cruising, water-skiing, underwater swimming and yachting. The lake is constantly busy with ferries, yachts and speedboats and interestingly Windermere is the only lake in the Lake District, which has no speed restriction for water traffic, as long as your boat has no engine! Take a stroll around the shoreline which is a fascinating place, where boat builders and repairers can be seen at work.
Victorian and Edwardian buildings are evident throughout Bowness, but for those who are interested in its earlier history a walk to Lowside, behind the church will prove rewarding. The houses and little narrow streets in this area of the town give a picture of Bowness before the advent of the railway.
All the family will want to visit ‘The World of Beatrix Potter’, which is situated in the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere. This is a magical recreation of Beatrix Potter’s books, where you can meet Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-duck and all the characters in the famous stories.
You can potter around charming Lakeland towns and villages, explore the history of the area at its castles and historical houses, enjoy the great variety of attractions or have some family fun at the many events taking place all year round. Below is a list of popular attractions.
Coniston & Lakes Peninsulas
A combination of countryside, coast and culture.
Kendal & South Lakes
Majestic fells and sparkling lakes form the very essence of the famous landscape.
Sedbergh & Yorkshire Dales
Flower-rich meadows and dry stone walls climbing up the domes of the Howgill Fells.
Carlisle & Hadrian’s Wall
A unique and colourful heritage blends perfectly with a modern, vibrant city.
Keswick & Western Lakes
An incredible area of untamed and untouched beauty.
Ullswater & Eden Valley
The dramatic landscapes are guaranteed to refresh, inspire and rejuvenate.
Alston & North Pennines
A landscape of high moorland, cut through by green dales and impressive natural features.
The beach at Silloth West is another of those in the Western Lake District that can proudly fly the Seaside Award Yellow Flag. Here the beach is commended for its children’s playground, picnic area and wildlife habitat value, as well as cleanliness and water quality.
The Solway Coast is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Whitehaven is a beautiful harbour town, with its rich heritage living side-by-side with modern-day life. The town has about 250, mostly Georgian, listed buildings.
Flowers adorn the town’s buildings, streets and its parks throughout the year, helping to make it winner of the Cumbria in Bloom competition many times over recent years. The Harbour dates from 1634 when the first pier was built. Queen’s Dock opened 200 years later in 1876.
The Beacon and The Rum Story are two visitor attractions that have been created in the town within the last few years. They tell the story of the town, its heritage and history and the people that contributed to the town we see today.
Keswick is ideally situated in the heart of the Lake District, between the Skiddaw Mountains and the Northern shores of Derwentwater, one of England’s most beautiful lakes. Few areas can offer a better variety of walking and climbing opportunities. Guided walks leave the Moot Hall daily from Easter until November. For those who like to plan their own routes there are links to suggestions on our walks page. There are also a large number of cycle routes in the area, some covering the most stunning and rugged scenery.
How to get there
Airports can be found close to the Lake District and Cumbria with Manchester being the nearest and also having its own Rail Station, with links to Windermere, Carlisle, Penrith and Barrow-in-Furness. Glasgow, Newcastle and Leeds/Bradford being the other Airports.
Using motorways from Manchester it takes approximately 1.5 hours to reach Cumbria – The Lake District, whilst the average journey time from London and the south east is around 5 hours. The A69 and A66 provide road links to the North East
Cumbria – the Lake District has an excellent rail network and can be easily reached from most parts of the country.
You can reach the Lake District and Cumbria by Rail from London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. There is a station at Oxenholme, close to Kendal. Another 20 minutes will take you on to Windermere station. Penrith and Carlisle stations can also be reached via the country’s railway network. The journey from London to Oxenholme would take around 3 hours.
Sailing to Cumbria is simple, ferries link: Holland, Scandinavia and Germany to Newcastle (North Shields); Belfast and the Isle of Man to Lancaster (Heysham); and Belfast and Dublin to Liverpool. Cumbria is easily reached from any of these ports.
If you prefer someone else to do the driving, or you’re traveling on a budget, opt for coach travel. Coaches are modern, comfortable, and the most economical from of public transport. The M6 Motorway provides quick access to Cumbria – The Lake District by coach, and most scheduled coach services in Britain are run by National Express with many of them running direct from London.
The Lake District has a rich assortment of colourful festivals, events and activities to keep you entertained throughout the year.
Eating Dining Shopping
There are numerous local and international food available in the many Restaurants/cafes and pubs everywhere. You are never far from good food.
Blackhall Yard Shopping Centre
Blackhall Yard Shopping Centre can be found in Kendal just off Stricklandgate. With Blackhall Yard being one of Kendal’s oldest yards, you will find plenty of atmosphere and at the same time a warm welcome along with a relaxing and a pleasurable shopping experience.
Keswick, being in the centre of the best walking country in England has a wide variety of shops selling outdoor clothing and equipment, from budget to the very best quality. There is a range of shops selling collectables and antiques, local stone crafts, art in its various forms, locally made Cumberland Rexel pencils etc. Did you ever wonder where K shoe shops originated? Have a guess – Kendal in Cumbria.
Many Scandinavian place names in the area such as ‘thwaite’ meaning clearing and ‘keld’ meaning spring are an indication of settlement by Norsemen in the 10th Century. In the 12th and 13thC the Cistercian religious order acquired large areas of land and introduced large flocks of sheep to the district. A familiar sight on the fells today is the Herdwick sheep, a hardy resilient animal able to withstand extremes of weather.
During the reign of Elizabeth I there was a demand for copper for the production of arms and the strengthening of warships. In 1564, due to a lack of skilled workforce in the area, expert miners arrived from Germany to fulfill both the demand for copper and provide royalties for the Queen. The Society of Royal Mines was established to finance and organize the operation. Considerable deposits of copper were found in the Newlands and Borrowdale Valleys. Local people were employed carrying coal from Caldbeck, peat and slates from Skiddaw and timber from Borrowdale. Ultimately the Newlands and Borrowdale mines declined due to economic factors such as rising costs and a depression in England but also to other factors such as a decline in fuel. However, this was not the end of mining in the Keswick area. Force Crag Mine, near Braithwaite has been working up till modern times producing a variety of materials. Threlkeld Quarry provided a century of employment. The first records for quarrying at Honister Slate Mines are in 1643. The mine prospered with over 100 men employed until its final closure in 1986.
The raw material for Keswick’s major industry, pencil making, was purportedly discovered by a shepherd in Seathwaite in the Borrowdale Valley in 1550. The substance, known as black lead or graphite was initially used to brand sheep, leading to Borrowdale’s claims to have made the first pencils in the world. In the 18th and early 19th C the mines were at their most productive. The description of pencil maker begins to appear in the Crosthwaite Parish Registers in the early 1800’s in the form of cottage industries and by the 19th and early 20thC there were several companies with pencil factories in Keswick. A wide range of pencils are still made in Keswick today. The Cumberland Pencil Museum tells the history of pencil making from early origins through to present day.
Useful telephone numbers
Emergency Number Tel; 999
Airport Information (Manchester) Tel +44 (0) 161 489 3000
Train station: National Railways/regional Tel; 08457 48 49 50
Tourist Office 🙁 Keswick) Tel; 017687 72645
Holiday rents online:
National Transport Line
24 hour medical service