A Tolkienesque sweep of breathtaking mountains, mirror-smooth lakes and peaceful villages, Cumbria’s Lake District cultivates an air of serenity. Its popularity is well deserved: this striking landscape fosters rare wildlife such as the native red squirrel and has inspired literature greats as diverse as Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth. Tackle the peaks and glacial coves of the Helvellyn range, or sail across the snaking waters of Ullswater; when you’re all outdoors-ed out, revamped cottages, Michelin-starred restaurants and luxurious health spas await.

When to go

Winter comes with heavy showers and snow, so opt for spring and summer for milder hiking weather. Always pack a raincoat, even in the sunny months ‒ this is England after all!

Food & Drink

The mighty Cumberland sausage is a welcome addition to hearty English breakfasts: you’ll need the extra calories for long days in the great outdoors. In Windermere, drop in on the chef’s table at Michelin-starred Holbeck Ghyll. Penrith’s Sharrow Bay has long guarded the original recipe for sticky toffee pudding – the date-and-treacle confection is still as moreish as it was in the 1970s.

Not to miss

Fall in love at first bite with Grasmere’s first-class gingerbread: there’s a reason it’s considered by some to be the best in the world.

Nightlife

The Lake District’s old-school pubs and ale-brewing inns make for cosseting nights in. Snuggle up by crackling open fireplaces with a pint in winter, or make the most of the summer sun in lively beer gardens.

Where to stay in the Lake District

A placid lake framed by verdant mountains, Ullswater is within easy reach of the district’s rambling trails and watersports. Windermere is equally attractive; stay in secluded boathouses and glammed-up cottages for a pampering rural retreat.

How to get there

Penrith, Oxenholme and Carlisle have direct connections to London and Glasgow on the West Coast main line. Manchester Airport is the nearest, with frequent flights from domestic and European destinations.

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Featured hotels in The Lake District

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