Rising from the land like the undulations of a sleeping dragon, the peaks of the Lake District shelter some of the deepest, longest lakes in England, and its scenery is quite simply unforgettable. Providing the inspiration for some of England’s best-loved artists and writers, its dramatic vistas stir the soul with their sparkling waters, sheep-dotted fells and rocky crags. From pottering around the Lake District’s charming villages and exploring its literary connections, to wandering through the mountainous scenery and taking a relaxing lake cruise, it’s easy to see why this is one of the UK’s premier national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Castles, cottages and spectacular scenery at every turn
based on two sharing in a twin/double room, with a minimum of 35 passengers travelling in a specific month
April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November
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A bustling market town by the borders of the Lake District, Kendal is an ideal gateway for visiting the region. That being said, it has plenty of charms of its own: overlooked by the ruins of a 12th century castle, the town centre is home to many interesting historical buildings, churches and museums – as well as a multitude of opportunities to buy the ubiquitous Kendal mint cake.
The beloved home of poet William Wordsworth, the village of Grasmere sits on the eponymous lake. The fells of the surrounding landscapes evoke the verses of the Romantics, and the quaint streets of the village are home to stone cottages and pretty galleries. Don’t miss Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread Shop, housed in the old school building in which Wordsworth himself taught – the gingerbread here is, quite rightly, legendary.
Dove Cottage is best known as the erstwhile home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth. The Grade I-listed building remains much the same as it was in the Wordsworths’ time; filled with their possessions, this intriguing writers’ home brings history to life. Don’t miss the lovely fell garden outside the cottage, created by William and Dorothy and filled with wildflowers.
The Wordsworth Museum hosts a treasured collection of artefacts from the Romantic age. The museum tells the story of Wordsworth’s life, travels, ideas and impact on literature through unusual items, manuscripts and letters.
The lovely village of Hawkshead is a jumble of cobbled streets, narrow passageways and quirky stairways that dates back to Norse times. Many of the properties in this compact village are immaculately preserved, including the lovely Beatrix Potter Gallery (NT) which is housed in the building that used to serve as her husband’s office.
Coniston village sits by the tranquil waters of the lake, backed by the spectacular Coniston fells, and the Steam Yacht Gondola is one of the best ways to take in the beautiful scenery. This extraordinary Victorian boat is a wonderful way to see Coniston Water, and whilst enjoying the opulent journey you can also watch the boat’s steam engine in action.
The jewel of the Lake District, Windermere is also the largest lake in England. Sitting at the region’s heart, it’s a beautiful and bustling place to visit, ideal for boat trips, train rides, or simply exploring the lovely villages of Bowness, Ambleside and Windermere.
This short branch line offers a wonderful experience to travel by historic steam locomotive from Haverthwaite Station to Lakeside, through the picturesque Leven Valley. At Lakeside Station, you can alight the train and continue up to the pretty village of Ambleside on the water, by boarding a Windermere Steamer boat for a leisurely journey.
This fine medieval house, surrounded by stunning gardens and filled with art and history, stands imposingly at the gateway to the Lake District. The estate is known for its large rock garden and impressive collection of hardy ferns, whilst the house itself is famed for its exquisite wood panelling and collection of portraits showing centuries of habitation by the Strickland family.
Hand picked destinations
The Austrian Lake District is simply stunning at every turn. Sleek turquoise lakes glitter between the crisp alpine peaks and grass-green meadows in this soaring wilderness.
The forces of nature that formed Britain’s first National Park can be witnessed in the beautiful ridges and dales of Derbyshire’s Peak District, renowned for its inspiring landscapes, stunning manor houses and rich industrial heritage.
Glittering like a sapphire amongst the vibrant green hills and craggy mountains, Lake Garda is a destination that has it all. Italy’s largest lake has been inspirational for centuries, with its crystalline waters, characterful towns and picturesque vineyards.
The deep turquoise waters of Lake Bled encircle an impossibly picturesque island church, are backed by breathtaking emerald forests and the snow-tipped Julian Alps, and are overlooked by the medieval splendour of Bled Castle.
Grand mountains, wooded isles and the gentle, lapping waters of a tranquil lake – Loch Lomond’s captivating scenery has inspired songs and verses across the ages.