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Once home to writers and poets such as Beatrix Potter, William Wordsworth and AW Wainwright, the Lake District - now a national park - is arguably the most visually scenic area of England. From wooded lake shore to rugged mountain top the region is largely unspoiled mainly thanks to that national park status but also in no small part to Beatrix Potter, author of the Peter Rabbit stories, who left her considerable estate to the National Trust with the proviso that it shall never be built on. As a result much of the farmland immediately west of Windermere has remained out of bounds to the developers for a hundred years.
Situated entirely within the county of Cumbria, the Lake District is a center for outdoor activities such as hiking and mountain biking as well as watersports such as canoeing. More sedate water borne activity occurs around Windermere which has a large marina at Bowness.
The region's main towns are Windermere, Bowness Ambleside, Keswick and Coniston with Kendal and Penrith just outside the national park. Langdale is probably the most popular area for hiking and is normally accessed from Ambleside or Coniston. Some of the valleys on the periphery especially Eskdale, Wasdale and Ennerdale to the West are less frequented than the main centres and contain some of the most unspoilt scenery. Equally quiet but rewarding are Kentmere and Mardale to the East.
The lake districts unique landscape was created by the formation and demise of large glaciers. The most recent of which disappeared over 10,000 years ago. The area (approximately 55 kilometres across) is made up of large U-shaped valleys, most of which feature a lake. The high areas feature rocky terrain and lower down the open moorland is quite boggy due to high rain fall. Scafell Pike, England's largest mountain can be found here.
Being on the western side of the country and mountainous in nature it is inevitable that the Lake District has a wetter than average climate. Indeed the wettest place in England, Sprinkling Tarn is located just north of the highest summit, Scafell Pike. Besides, the lakes, waterfalls and green hillsides are part of the natural beauty of the region and having all four seasons in a day just adds to the overall experience.
In general more rain falls in the western valleys and mountains than on the eastern side and it is common for it to be a wet day at Wasdale Head and have sunny spells at Ullswater. Winter snow usually only occurs on the hills and then doesn't usually last for long except perhaps on the higher summits especially the east side of Helvellyn. Equally summer hot spells are usually tempered by cloud cover over the hills.
Nearest train stations are in Windermere and Penrith. For the Western fells there is the train line along the coast from Barrow-in-Furness to Carlisle.
Access for most visitors by car is via the M6 motorway junctions 35 or 36 for the South Lakes and junction 40 for the North. Kendal and Windermere can be reached by train as can the coast west of the region.
|Ambleside Backpackers||Old Lake Road Cumbria, Ambleside||Hostel||-|
|Denton House||Denton House Penrith Road, Keswick||Hostel||-|
|Lake District Backpackers||High Street Windermere, Cumbria||Hostel||80|
|New Ing Lodge||Shap, (Lake District) Cumbria||Hostel||-|
|YHA Ambleside||Waterhead Cumbria, LA22 0EU||Hostel||91|
|YHA Hawkshead||Hawkshead Ambleside||Hostel||88|
|YHA Windermere||Bridge Lane Troutbeck||Hostel||-|
|YHA Ilam Hall||Ilam Ashbourne, Derbyshire||HOSTEL||-|
|Thorney How Grasmere||Grasmere Ambleside||HOSTEL||89|
|YHA Grasmere Butharlyp Howe||Easedale Road Grasmere||HOSTEL||88|
|Kendal Hostel||118-120 Highgate Kendal Cumbria||HOSTEL||89|
|Derwentwater Hostel||Barrow House, Borrowdale Keswick||HOSTEL||91|
Ask stevieh a question about Lake District
After a visit when I was 15, I walked in the Lake District on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and on trips with mates. Years later, after travelling for a year, I settled here with my partner and kids. That was eight years ago and we now both run businesses in the county.
We'll never be true locals, but we've definitely got under the skin of the place :)
Ask PeteB a question about Lake District
I have been a frequent visitor to the Lake District for many years and am in the process of finishing off the Wainwrights List. I certainly don't pretend to know everything about the region but I have written numerous online guides - including part of this one - and can give ideas on the best places to go - especially for outdoor activities which are what the area is best known for.
Ask magykal1 a question about Lake District
I grew up on the edge of the Lake District National Park. My family still live there and I have visited regularly since moving away.
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