Cool Places - The best places to stay in the UK

The Best Places to Stay in the UK

The Lake District

England’s largest national park, the Lake District is also the country’s most high-profile outdoors destination, a rugged, alpine-like region of lakes, mountains and valleys interspersed with chocolate-box villages, country hotels, hideaway pubs, whitewashed farms and rustic B&Bs. Millions of visitors come each year to hike and bike the trails or cruise the waters – there’s England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and largest lake, Windermere, to knock off your bucket list – while the lakeland literary trail takes in the celebrated museums, houses and sites associated with William Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ransome and others. These days, the region is also branded as an adventure capital by the local tourist authority – fair enough given the world-class hiking and mountaineering, not to mention the forest high-ropes courses, kayaking, river-scrambling and mountain-biking. Above all, the Lakes are great for families and kids, and whether it’s exploring ancient stones, riding vintage railways, cycling forest trails, picnicking among the bluebells or coaxing the children up their first mountain, there’s no better place in the UK to appreciate the great outdoors in all its majesty.

History

The Romans left early traces in the Lakes, including the mountainside remains of Hardknott Fort, but it was the Vikings who made more of a mark, with many lakeland place names (thwaite, tarn, fell, beck etc) having a Norse origin. It was a wild land for centuries – few outsiders ventured into the ancient counties of Cumberland and Westmorland – and not until the 18th century did writers and artists in particular discover the natural grandeur of the Lakes, later made popular by Turner, Gainsborough, Wordsworth, Coleridge and others. The national park was established in 1951, one of the first in the country, and extends over 880 square miles. It sits within the wider county of Cumbria, whose capital seat is Carlisle; other significant local towns that sit outside the park boundaries include Kendal, Cockermouth, Ulverston, Whitehaven and Penrith.

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The Lake District

A unique region of lakes and mountains, hideaway pubs and rustic B&Bs.
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