The Lake District National Park, in Cumbria is the largest National Park in England and is a perfect destination for lovers of the countryside.

Some of the most popular cities, towns and villages in the Lake District include: Windermere, Ambleside, Keswick, Grasmere and Bowness-on-Windermere.

The Lake District comprises 16 lakes and 53 tarns (although Bassenthwaite is the only one officially known as a lake. The others are ´waters´ or ´meres´).

All possess their own unique features and enjoy backdrops of stunning mountains, fells and woodland. Windermere is England´s largest lake at over 10.5 miles in length and Wastwater the deepest at 79m.

Hills in the Lake District are known as Fells. This is the only true mountain range in England, and although not high by world standards, they offer a huge number of challenging and equally rewarding climbs.

The highest peak is Scafell Pike at 978m.

A network of paths also offer great recreational walks to suit all levels of fitness.

The main attraction for visitors to the Lake District is the stunning scenery. The walks and fells are famously documented by walker and writer, Alfred Wainwright, and also inspired the poet, William Wordsworth (1770-1850), when he lived in the region.

How to get to the Lake District

Windermere Station is the most conveniently situated station for the Southern Lakes. For the northern lakes, travel to Penrith and catch a bus to Keswick if you intend to travel without the car.

By car you can reach the Lake District via the M6 motorway and enter the park via the A590 from Junction 36 for the south lakes or the A66 at Penrith from Junction 40 for the north lakes.

The nearest airport to the Lake District is at Blackpool and Glasgow, Leeds/Bradford, Liverpool and Manchester are around a 2 hour drive away. There is a direct rail link from Manchester Airport.

Things to do in the Lake District

Most visitors spend their time hiking or walking the Fells. There are also a vast range of family attractions to suit all ages.

Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre is a good place to start in Bowness-on-Windermere, where a wide range of attractions include ´Go Ape´, a high woodland adventure playground with one of the longest zip wires in the UK.

Boat trips can be taken on many of the lakes, including Coniston, Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater.

The Ullswater Steamer stops at Glenridding, Pooley Bridge and Howtown. The Keswick Launch offers clockwise and anti-clockwise circuits of Derwentwater and Windermere Lake Cruises offers a vast choice of cruises and special events in summer including dinner cruises and guided tour cruises.

The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a small, narrow-gauge steam railway which connects the mainline station of Ravenglass on the coast to Boot station in the Eskdale Valley.

If rail travel is your ´thing´ check out the tourist steam railway at the foot of Lake Windermere: ´The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway.´

Cumbrian Fare in the Lake District

If you are looking for some traditional Cumbrian food while visiting the Lakes, sample the delicious local lamb, the curly Cumberland sausage or the locally-caught Borrowdale trout.

If you are looking to stay somewhere special in the Lake District, check out the Windermere Spa Hotels, the luxury hotels with hot tubs and the boutique hotels dotted around the countryside.

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