Summer has not gone as planned for anyone this year, and it’s especially disappointing for those who love to travel. On the bright side, there’s still time for weekend getaways in 2020, making this the perfect opportunity to discover (or revisit) those parts of the U.K. that you’ve always meant to, and help out local businesses in the process.
Why the Lake District in particular? Well, not only is it a stunning area of natural beauty, home to England’s highest mountain and largest natural lake, but it’s also a place of diverse activities, and really does have something to appeal to everyone. Whether you’re looking for country walks, drinks down the pub, literary culture, or family entertainment – the Lake District proves that it’s not always so grim up north.
Situated on the shore of Derwentwater Lake, Keswick is perhaps one of the most popular towns in the area, and with good reason. It’s packed full of quirky and original cafés and bars; try Java Coffee Shop with their legendary frappés, or The Crafty Baa – a grungy pub with a great selection of beer. For the walkers there are some challenging (yet beautiful) trails to explore. Climb Catbells for panoramic views of the surrounding lake, or a walk the 9-mile perimeter of Derwentwater to experience it from every angle. Keswick also has a lot to offer families, with a mini-golf course and the Puzzling Place museum.
For the literary-minded, the quaint village of Grasmere in the heart of the Lakes is a great dose of local culture. Romantic poet William Wordsworth lived here for 14 years, and his former home is now Dove Cottage museum. The museum is newly renovated, open with social distancing measures, and a great place to learn about the global impact of literary Cumbria. Whilst living here Wordsworth was frequently visited by Thomas DeQuincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who were also inspired by the landscape. Today, you can visit the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden and buy homemade gingerbread from the nearby bakery, or read up on the Romantics after a visit to the independent Sam Reads Bookshop.
Ullswater and Pooley Bridge
The best way to experience the lakes is by boat, and luckily for tourists there are many different kinds to choose from. Ullswater is a great alternative to the busyness of Derwentwater, and there are many spots throughout the shore where rowing boats, canoes and kayaks can be hired for an affordable price. This can be a fun family activity or a strenuous workout, depending on your preference. If leisurely is more your style, Ullswater Steamers have been around since 1855 and are still one of the best ways to sit back and see the lake. Pooley Bridge is a village on the northern end of the lake that, despite its small size, has plenty of pubs and tea rooms to choose from, making it the perfect place to stop and break from the lake!