An insider’s view to the best attractions in the Lake District

If you are planning a trip to the Lake District any time this year it is well worth seeking out the best places to go before you travel so that you don’t waste any time when you get there.

Windermere is not only the largest lake in the Lake District it is also the largest in England and has been a major tourist attraction since the railway was built in the mid-19th century.

Bowness-on-Windermere is where most of the attractions are situated including Windermere Lake Cruises. Take a trip to the western shoreline which is much quieter around the wooded Claife Heights and the beautiful grounds of Wray Castle.

Dove Cottage is the former home of poet and author, William Wordsworth. He arrived at the cottage in 1799 and remained for nine years, living with his wife, Dora, his sister, Dorothy and three children. The cottage is full of memorabilia and original manuscripts. You can also view the garden where Wordsworth composed much of his poetry.

Hill Top is the farmhouse in Near Sawrey where famous children’s author, Beatrix Potter created some of her best-known tales. She bought the house in 1905 and left it to the National Trust following her death in 1943 on the provision that it was left as it was and was opened to the public. At Hill Top you can spot many features from the author’s illustrations, including Mrs Tiggywinkle’s kitchen. This attraction can be very busy in summer so if possible visit in low season.

Great Langdale is famous among fellwalkers and is home to some of the most challenging hikes. The Langdale Pikes is a tricky chain of hills on the valley’s northern side. The more challenging Crinkle Crags and Bowfell are also worth exploring.

Keswick was founded on graphite and slate-mining and is situated beside Derwentwater. Explore the lake by cruiser or traditional wooden rowing boats. Keswick is also a great place to shop for outdoor gear.

Borrowdale boasts rich green fields, dry stone walls and traditional cottages which sum up the feel of the Lake District landscape. If you are looking for peace and tranquillity, neighbouring Buttermere is also worth a visit with its twin lakes, Buttermere and Crummock Water overlooked by rolling fells and Alfred Wainwright’s favourite mountain, Haystacks, where his ashes were scattered in 1991.

Honister Pass separates two valleys and is home to one of the Lake District’s last working slate mines. Take a 1.5 hour guided tour of the underground shafts of the old Kimberly Mine or an industrial history tour during the high season. Honister is also home to the UK’s first Via Ferrata rock climb. Not for the faint-hearted the Via Ferrata Xtreme route is also worth a try.

Tarn Hows is one of the national park’s most beautiful spots and is actually a man-made creation. A local land owner decided to enhance the view by combining three pools in the mid-19th century. The area is now owned by the National Trust and the lakeshore paths are ideal for relaxing walks from nearby Coniston and Hawkshead.

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