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Stay in a pub in Cumbria and the Lake District

Within the boundaries of Cumbria lies a rumpled, rugged landscape that is hard to beat for sheer natural beauty and breathtaking grandeur. This is the Lake District, almost certainly England’s best-known and most scenic national park, famous for its 16 lakes and many more tarns. Lake Windermere, the country’s largest lake at 10.5 miles long and 220ft deep, and Derwent Water, described as the ‘Queen of the English Lakes’ are perhaps the most famous alongside Coniston and Grasmere. It is a spectacular place to visit and is ideal for family holidays, walking holidays and cycling holidays.

Walkers and cyclists are spoilt for choice in Cumbria and the Lake District. Best known of the long-distance routes is almost certainly the 190-mile Coast to Coast, which explores just about every kind of landscape and terrain imaginable. The county is home to every peak in England that is over 3,000ft including Scafell Pike, the highest point in England. Other walking and cycling routes include:

  • The C2C Cycle Way is a 140 mile Sustrans cycle route that takes cyclists from Workington or Whitehaven to Newcastle or Sunderland.
  • The Pennine Way, a 267 mile walk that passes through the North Pennines and goes from Kirk Yetholm in Scotland to Edale in Derbyshire.
  • Hadrian’s Wall Path – a National Trail that is 83 miles long and takes walkers through Wallsend in Tyne and Wear to Bownes-on-Solway in Cumbria.
  • Cumbria Way is a 75 mile walk through the Lake District across the South West to North East of Cumbria. The walk starts in Ulverston and ends in Carlisle.

Cumbria has three main mountainous areas, Howgills, The Pennines and the Lake District Fells. Howgills, a small group of hills that give visitors to the region fine views of the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. The Pennines are home to three Fells; Cross Fell, Great Dun Fell and High Cup Nick. Cross Fell is the highest point in the Pennines at 893m. The Lake District Fells are home to four peaks that are over 3,000ft. The highest Fells include Scafell Pike, Scafell, Helvellyn, Skiddaw & Bowfell.

Cumbria is steeped in history and the most famous of Cumbria’s historic areas is Hadrian’s Wall which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hadrian’s Wall is 73 miles long from coast to coast and there are over 20 places to visit along the wall including the Roman forts of Birdoswald, Ambleside, Hardknott, Ravenglass and Wigton. Castles also abound including Carlisle Castle, Appleby Castle and Muncaster Castle. Other famous historic sites include Furness Abbey and Duddon Ironworks.

Few visitors to the Lake District leave without visiting Hill Top, the 17th-century farmhouse home of Beatrix Potter, who moved here in 1905. Located near Windermere, Hill Top and its idyllic lakeland surroundings informed Potter’s extraordinary imagination and she painstakingly reproduced much of what she saw and cherished in her charming book illustrations. Dove Cottage in Grasmere was the home of William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy and is open to the public, as is Rydal Mount in Ambleside, where the poet later lived.

Finally, a visit to Cumbria’s coast reveals one of the county’s secret gems. Evidence of the Romans is particularly strong here and along the coast is a string of sleepy villages and historic towns.