Needing a bit of inspiration of where to go to enjoy some glorious summer countryside? For this month’s Trip, the team at Vitora is heading from the bustling hub and city-lights of Liverpool to the paradise that is the Lake District National Park – surprisingly close but oh so far from everything that makes up the daily grind! A haven of mountains, rolling green hills and valleys, glistening lakes, coastline, quaint towns and villages, hearty home-cooked meals and loads of country fresh air… we’ll totally forgive you for feeling you’ve just stepped into another world. Less than two hours from Liverpool, and with so many places to stop off, discover and explore, there’s no time to lose – so fuel up, pump up those Vitora’s and let’s get on our way!
A few directions
Getting there is easy! From the very centre of Liverpool, it’s a mere 86 miles to Windermere in the very heart of the Lake District (via the M6) – and a picturesque drive. It should take you just over an hour-and-a-half depending on traffic conditions and how often you’re tempted to stop and explore along the way!
A bit about our destination
England’s largest national park and a World Heritage Site, the Lake District offers so much variety – with its towns (including Bowness-on Windermere, Ambleside and Keswick to name just a few) and countless surrounding villages, all oozing character and charm.
Windermere is one of the best-known names in the district, which stands to reason as it is home to the country’s largest lake (Lake Windermere) stretching out for 10.5 miles. Ambleside – a popular launching pad for walks and trails, also offers an excellent base to stop, stay and explore. With plenty of bed-and-breakfast accommodation, guest houses, holiday cottages as well as camping and glamping – there’s no shortage of places to stay throughout the area. It’s also a food lovers’ paradise and centre for organic produce and traditional baked goods and delicacies (think the world-renowned Cumberland sausage!) not to mention a little bit of shopping for a gift or something special.
The Lakes’ legendary landscape, which is notorious for a wide range of outdoor activities, has also been the backdrop and inspiration for movies and writers (such as Beatrix Potter) through the years – and once you get there it’s hard not to appreciate why it’s one of those destinations where memories for a lifetime can easily be made.
What to do when you get there!
Whether you choose to base yourself in one town or village for a few days action-packed exploring, wind your way from one side to another, or simply decide to put your feet up and relax while enjoying the hospitality for which this area is so renowned, the Lake District offers something for everyone. Here are just a few suggestions to get you on your way…
- A great place to start — Brockhole on Windermere: Set in 30 acres of beautiful gardens, the Lake District’s Visitor Centre offers a host of activities for all ages, ranging from cycling, walking, boating and kayaking to adventurous “Treetop Treks” through oak trees high above! A café is also situated on the property overlooking Lake Windermere – and a restaurant within the 19th Century Brockhole House.
- Boating on Lake Windermere: There’s no better way to soak up the experience (and hopefully a bit of sunshine!) than being on the Lakes’ most expansive lake! Hire a rowing or motor boat, or choose a cruise or ferry from the variety of options available.
- See the world from England’s highest mountain: The climb up Scafell Pike (England’s highest mountain) will reward you with some amazing views as well as being the site of a war memorial. Taking 5 hours or more, the climb is a challenging undertaking and one which will need some extra preparation and research, with map reading and compass skills considered a necessity for those embarking (as well as a very good level of fitness).
- Take a guided walk: There are guided walks for every type of adventure, from easy, pleasant strolls to some extremely strenuous and challenging hikes (including up Scafell Pike).
- Cycle to your heart’s content: Whether you hire a bike for the day, or you’re an avid mountain biker or cyclist who comes equipped with your own – there are a number of cycling trails of differing difficulties and lengths including the Langdale, Grasmere, Torver and Hawkshead Trails (to name just a few). Cycling through the Lakes’ area is the perfect way to enjoy some spectacular scenery and waterfalls, follow streams and rivers – and breathe in the mountain fresh air, with the luxury of doing it all at your own pace.
- Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum: Once the home of poet William Wordsworth, this cottage in Grasmere is set up to take you back hundreds of years and give you insight into this famous poet’s daily life.
- All things “Beatrix Potter”: The magic of author Beatrix Potter lives on in the Lake District, so if you’re a fan of Peter Rabbit and her other tales… there is plenty here to take in including her 17th century farmhouse “Hill Top”, the Beatrix Potter Gallery, and the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction (which features a tea room that could well be worth a try!)
- Explore Wray Castle: This imposing Gothic style castle is on the shores of Lake Windermere. Set in beautiful grounds you may want to do a bit (or a lot) of exploring or just sit and appreciate the view.
- Keswick Brewery Tour: Once you’ve had your fill of the great outdoors, a tour of this craft beer brewery just outside the Keswick town centre (with a bar and shop on site), could be just the ticket.
- Afternoon tea: And no visit to the Lake District is complete without sampling a true Cumbrian afternoon tea of oven-fresh pastries, scones, sandwiches – the choice is yours! Whether your tea table setting looks over a lake, distant mountains or beyond – make sure you book in to one of the many Lakes’ hotels or cafes for a truly delicious experience.
Anything else you need to know
Don’t forget your walking shoes, a good book and a healthy appetite for some hearty Cumbrian food. It has to be one of the world’s most beautiful places – so there’s absolutely no downside to putting a date in the calendar, finding the right accommodation for you and your budget and getting on your way. Remember to check those tyres before you head off – and from us at Team Vitora, safe travels!