By Emily Hull
England’s Lake District has an alpine feel to it, with snow capped mountains, frozen edges of lakes, and evergreen trees covering the mountain sides in late November.
The Lake District is more famous for its lakes than its mountains, but it hosts more than 200 hills and mountains, along with the dozen lakes.
Located in Cumbria in the north east of England, the Lake District is home to the longest and deepest lake in the UK. Lake Windermere stretches for almost seventeen kilometres through the valleys of the surrounding mountains.
Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain at 3,209 feet, or 978 metres, can also be found in the heart of the area.
A holiday in the Lakes means an outdoor and active holiday. There is no lounging by the pool – it’s sailing in the lake, climbing a mountain, cycling the mountain roads, or fishing in the lakes and rivers.
Hillwalking and climbing are the most obvious choices of activity, and so walking boots are a must to bring with you, but depending on what time of year you go, there are different choices of activity.
On some of the lakes you can go paddle boarding in the summer, but for the rest of the year, staying out of the water is necessary.
Outdoor activities are best done in the morning while there’s still plenty of light. The sun sets early in the winter at around 4pm, but because of the low winter sun, it gets dark at around 3pm when the sun goes behind the mountains.
Mountain biking is one of the big attractions for tourists in the Lakes. Whinlatter Mountain biking trial is hailed as one of the best trails in Britain. Rising above Bassenthwaite Lake just outside Keswick, Whinlatter forest is England’s only mountain forest, and the man made trails that you can ride are maintained and upgraded year round.
The Altura centre gives riders three trial options, a blue route for new riders, and two red, longer and more technically difficult routes for the experienced riders. Altogether there are 28km of trails, which are being constantly maintained.
The centre has a great cafe and gift shop as well, so if you decide that biking isn’t for you, you can hang around the centre, or go for a walk on one of the many walking trails available.
The District is well equipped for tourists. Cumbria is home to more microbreweries than any other British county, as well as several Michelin starred restaurants. There are loads of cafés, shops, restaurants and pubs, and also plentiful accommodation.
If you’re travelling with a group, it would be a good idea to rent a cottage out for the duration of your stay – that way you can cook for yourselves, do your own washing, and have space where you can all socialise. Aside from self catering cottages, there are many bed and breakfasts, guesthouses, or hotels to choose from.
If you’re travelling to the Lake District from abroad, you’ll need to rent a car to get around. The UK does have a good public transport system, however, there won’t be direct buses to your accommodation.
Flying to Manchester airport or Leeds Bradford are the best options for flying. It’s also possible to drive via ferry – but this will take significantly longer.
Here’s a short video of some of the highlights of hill-walking in the Lake District!