“The loveliest spot that man hath ever known” – William Wordsworth, poet and Lake District resident
I’ve been to some places with amazing scenery in my life, and I’d have to say that the Lake District, a national park in north west England, could easily be near the top of that list. The beauty of the area has inspired writers like Beatrix Potter and poets like William Wordsworth alike.
After arriving Friday evening to our base in the Lake District, Windermere, my friend Christina and I got a good nights rest as we set out Saturday morning to explore the area. We had booked a day tour that would bring us to several sites in the Lake District. Our morning was filled with a visit to Grasmere for a visit to a gingerbread shop originating in 1854, followed by a cruise on Derentwater, a lake in the area.
The Lake District has a interesting history as it was part of the Kingdom of Cumbria, whose hands switched over history between the Romans, Celtics, Norwegian Vikings, and Angles. The scenery of the area was formed over time because of the glaciers that used to exist in the area.
After our boat cruise on Derentwater, we headed into the market town of Keswick. Keswick is actually pronounced without the “w” (Kes-ick), and we learned that the word wick means farmhouse and is a popular word in northern England due to the Norwegian Vikings influence on this part of the country. We walked around the town for a bit and had lunch from one of the market stalls. After, our tour guide brought us to a vantage point called Surprise View where we could overlook the lake below.
The next stop on our tour was one of my favorites – we stopped at the Honister Slate Mine which provided us views of the mountains with a single winding road between them. We also stopped at the Castlerigg Stone Circle, a site similar in history to Stonehenge, albeit minus the insane crowds – you could actually go up to and touch the rocks that have been there since 3200 BC!
Our day trip winded down with a visit to Buttermere, our tour guide’s favorite lake in the Lake District – he claims all local residents have a favorite. There we took a moment to feel the chilly water, and take a walk on the lake banks. It was a relaxing last stop before heading back to home base for the evening.
The Details – Lake District
From London, it was just over a three hour train journey to arrive in Windermere, our base town for the Lake District. The train is not cheap; it was £108 round trip, but is the most practical way besides driving to get there.
Since I don’t have a car, I booked this Lake District Viator tour (£42). I highly recommend the tour as it brought us to many scenic spots that we likely wouldn’t have found on our own. Otherwise, the town of Windermere and nearby Bowness-on-Windermere are quite compact so we either walked or took the local bus.
Hotels in Windermere are typically expensive, so we searched for a guesthouse or AirBnB instead. Many of the guesthouses had check in ending at 6PM which was too early for our arrival, so we settled on this AirBnB which was also reasonably priced at £62/night.