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England advice (Lake District and more)

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1. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member, 78 posts) 15 Dec '06 19:29

EaLaSpada has indicated that this thread is about England

Hi there!

I'm heading to England in late March for a week and want to do some hiking in the Cumbria and North Shropshire area. I'm looking for advice and suggestions about the following:

  • I'm mainly looking for great natural vistas with not a lot of crowds. Any suggestions of places in those two areas?
  • I know it will be cold and rainy--can anyone give a more specific summary of typical weather at that time of year so this Florida girl can dress accordingly?
  • Did I mention I'll be travelling alone and will not be hiring a car? Are there places I should see that will be impossible because of this? I know trainlines can be limited. How's the bus/coach system in these areas?

I will be your best friend if you have any advice for me.

Cheers!

[ Edit: Edited on Dec 15, 2006, at 7:28 PM by EaLaSpada ]

2. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru, 2026 posts) 16 Dec '06 03:50

Yey! Good choice - Cumbria is definitely the most beautiful part of England. My favourite place to stay in the Lake District is Keswick (the towns around Windermere are a bit too touristy for me), there are lots of nice walks you can do from the town and there is great boating on Derwent Water. If you're flying into London you'll need to get the train from Euston to Penrith, then a bus from Penrith to Keswick - there's about one bus an hour during the day.

Another good place to stay, quite near Keswick and on the same bus route, is Glenridding - this is the starting off point for the hike up Helvellyn which is the most interesting mountain in the Lake District (and fantastic views from the top). It's also by the side of Ullswater which is my favourite lake.

I'm also a big fan of Coniston, which will also be fairly quiet in March, has a lovely lake and a really interesting mountain (called the Old Man of Coniston) - not so easy to get to though - you'd need to get a train to Oxenholme then a bus to Kendal and another one on to Coniston - but it is possible.

It should have warmed up a little bit by March - you won't need thermals! - but you will want a decent breathable waterproof jacket if you're planning on doing a lot of hiking. And wearing a few layers would be a good idea - days could be anywhere between about 3 and about 18 degrees C.

3. Posted by My Horizon (Budding Member, 429 posts) 16 Dec '06 05:12

Hi,

I went to the Lake District in August this year and well, it rained most of the time...hopefully in March you will have a better time with having little or no rain! :) So make sure you have one of those small umbrellas so it can be with you at all times and not be a pain to carry around!

I stayed in the Windermere hostel, rather out of the way and it took awhile to get the bus stop because of its location. It was nice though, on one of the hills in amongst the farm lands. I know that many people branched out from there to do some hiking/walks.

The hostel in Ambleside, is in a wonderful location! Right there almost on the banks of Lake Windermere. The bus stop is just a stones throw away!

You will be fine travelling by bus, just make sure that you have a timetable because some busses may not be as frequent as others. I had to plan when to go stand and wait as if i didn't I couldv'e easily have stood for half and hour waiting. You can get a time table on most busses (or at least when i was there you could). And at the tourist infomation places.

I would recommend you going to see Grasmere. Grasmere was my favourate place. It felt very...quaint.

If you know about Beatrice Potter, the house that she lived in was at Hill Top, rather nice to stop by there. But then that is rather touristy...

I am afraid I didn't get to do any walks in the area as I was short of time...so I can't help you out on any of the walks. :)

Hope you find the info helpful,
Carmen ;)

4. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru, 1696 posts) 16 Dec '06 08:23

You can pretty much guarantee that it will rain in the Lake District, I think I read somewhere it is the wettest part of the whole UK (and that's saying something). However, it is also one of the most incredible beautiful places whatever the weather. In spring you'll see gorgeous little lambs leaping about, and daffodils like Wordsworth wrote about (His grave is in Grasmere).

I would recommend you have waterproof overtrousers as well as a good breathable waterproof jacket as magykal1 suggested. A good idea might be to look for one of those combination jackets which have a fleece inside, so you can either wear the fleece on its own, the waterproof on its own, or both together.

It can still get bitterly cold in late March, especially in the hills. This year we were having snow right up until early April, so you need to be prepared, think of it as winter, especially if you are from a warm climate, or just wimpy like me!

5. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member, 78 posts) 16 Dec '06 14:02

Thanks, you guys. This is all very helpful!

Erica

6. Posted by Purdy (Travel Guru, 3535 posts) 17 Dec '06 05:08

I can definately recommend Ambleside - l have friends who live there and run a coffee shop/gift shop - if you want to know the name or fancy visiting it PM me!! IT is delicious home cooked food!

There are great pubs in the town and it is so beautiful there - but to reiterate what the others all said - l visited in August last and it rained the entire time!!

7. Posted by ontheedge (Full Member, 90 posts) 17 Dec '06 08:00

hi i live in kendal cumbria, about 20 mins from windermere, sorry to say but they are right it rains alot so bring waterproofs!-you can get an explorer ticket for the buses and you can travel around on the buses (open top on a good day), it depends what you are looking for but the lakes is very beutiful, we take it for granted but dont we all, so if there is any thing you want to know just say! march will still be a bit cold round here!

8. Posted by EaLaSpada (Budding Member, 78 posts) 18 Dec '06 17:49

Duly noted. I will spend the next few months getting together my amphibious wardrobe.

Thank you again, everyone.

One more question: does anyone familiar with western Cumbria know if Alston is accessible by public transportation?

9. Posted by oslaue (Full Member, 571 posts) 19 Dec '06 03:44

The Lake District is sadly over rated surrounded by what the locals call mountains but are really just big hills.
Maybe a few days there will be good enough, any longer then you can forget about it.

I always heard about the lake district when I lived in London, I had to go up and see what it was all about.
Don’t get me wrong its nice, but its talked about so much because it is THE ONLY place in England that is actually nice to look at!

I recommend that you go to Scotland, its only up the road! And Scotland has lochs, huge mountains, beautiful country side and people
ALL OVER! and not just one place! Like the Lake district.

If you want to meet great people, an adventure, walking, trekking, hill walking, mountain climbing and all that kind of crap, then I suggest you go to the ultimate place
Scottish highlands! It cant be that bad if all the English go there themselves! Scotland is very different to England! Much better! Apart from the weather.
and no one has anything bad to say about the Scottish! Who could, when they all drink like mad there!!! aye a wee dram please!

Scotland is famous for its outdoor activity’s for people like you, when compared to England.

10. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru, 1696 posts) 19 Dec '06 09:15

[quote=oslaue]I always heard about the lake district when I lived in London, I had to go up and see what it was all about.
Don’t get me wrong its nice, but its talked about so much because it is THE ONLY place in England that is actually nice to look at!
quote]

Hey now! This is just not true! OK, so the scenery in Scotland is a more breathtaking, the hills are higher and there are more empty spaces, but its definatly NOT TRUE to say the lakes are the only places in England that are nice to look at all! The Peak District is lovely, as are the Yorkshire Dales and Moors, Northumbria, North Yorks Coast, Devon and Cornwall coasts, Exmoor in Devon, and also some of the more tame, quaint countryside in places like the Cotswalds. Shropshire (where EaLaSpada is also going) has some pretty villages etc.

And if we're looking at places other than England, we shouldn't forget to mention Wales. If EaLaSpada is going to Shropshire, she will be a short distance from Wales, and particularly Snowdonia is very nice to look at!

Just because the hills aren't mountains, doesn't mean they're not beautiful! Size isn't everything. ;)