When you live somewhere, that places seems to lose it’s exotic allure. So here I am sitting in my apartment in Bangkok and become all too blasé by all Asia’s natural beauty, it’s distinct architecture, amazing food etc. Then I look back and think of my time when I studied in England, a country filled with amazing scenery, and I never took the time to go out and explore! Luckily, since leaving Ireland and the UK I can now appreciate them for what they are so when I go back for a visit I can indulge myself in all the things I missed out on, so let me give you a quick run-down of a particularly beautiful section of the countryside…
Unarguably the most magnificent of the United Kingdom’s 13 National Parks, the vast rolling blue and green patchwork covering Cumbria’s Lake District is a must see for all visitor’s to the country. Spanning 34 miles (54 km), the region allows no escape from the sight of lush green fields or deep blue lakes. Whether in search of quintessential views, an adventure weekend, long walks, cultural and historical sites or just simply a place to escape the city, the Lake District has it all.
Adventure Activities – Summer or winter, rain or shine, the lake district is a hub for outdoor sports enthusiasts, beginners in search of adventure or families looking for fun.
Mountain Biking -If two wheels is your thing you can find everything from family-friendly half-day routes to 100-mile expeditions or mad downhill dashes of death. The most popular spots for the more adventurous riders are the mountains Helvellyn, Skiddae, and Walna Scar, which all sport winding bridleways to the summits as well as low-level valley trails.
Rock Climbing -In search of an all-body workout and a shot of adrenaline, what could be better than hanging off the side of a towering precipice clambering for dear life? Fit beginners may have a crack at Esk Buttress Dow Crag or Gimmer while the braver (or suicidal) thrill seeker might seek the challenge of Lakeland Rock. Jokes aside, less confident beginners will also find an array of easy-access crags for a more leisurely but satisfying climb. Other activities such as caving, canyoning and high wire courses can also be easily accessed to add variety.
Water Sports – The Lake District is simply unrivaled for fresh water canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing and wind surfing, offering endless possibilities from various certified providers. As well as making time for a daily swim, another favourite activity of mine is ghyll and gorge scrambling. Offering a good mix of adventure and scenery, with the ability to stop at regular intervals to breathe it all in, this has everything you need to soak up the countryside in all it’s beauty.
Events and challenges – Throughout the year, the Lake District accommodates outdoor sport’s crowds from all around the world for timely events, challenges, and competitions. Looking for a friendly gathering of countryside walkers, a fully-fledged triathlon or something in between check the Lake District’s official website’s calendar for a list of events.
Hiking – For centuries, people have continuously planned new routes to take walkers around key sites and areas of natural beauty, making the possibilities endless. Some of the most popular walks, which all offer scenic routes and heritage sites, are The Cumbria Way (70 miles – 5/6 days), Lancaster Canal Walk (27 miles – 2 days), The Cisterian Way, (33 miles – 2/3 days) and the The Allerdale Ramble (55 miles -3/4 days).
Day Walking – Similarly, routes for those who just fancy a day out walking are in abundance. For a family excursion, the valley of Borrowdale (south of Keswick) is the ideal starting point and can be explored for between 3-8 hours along different well-tested routes. Others may prefer to go closer to the ocean, around Buttermore or Conniston water in search of beaches, craggy cliff faces, caves, tunnels and tarns for a mini-adventure reminiscent of the books of Enid Blyton.
Getting away from it all – For many adults, the Lake District serves as the ideal retreat from metropolitan life or, for tourists, the hustle and bustle of site-seeing in London and Manchester. If chillaxing is priority, or spending quality time with a loved-one, what better way to refresh than to rent a cottage right by a lake?
Ambleside – At the head of Lake Windermere, and just minutes away from two of the region’s primary natural gems, Stock Ghyll Force (a spectacular 70 ft waterfall) and Jenkins Crag, a 730 ft cliff sporting mind-blowing views, Ambleside is just magnificent. Scattered with coffee shops, crafts shops, galleries and pubs, it’s town centre captures the very essence of what makes the British countryside so pleasant, making it perfect for a getaway for two. Plenty of accommodation on offer for those on a budget, especially if you’re in a group, feel free to check out Ambleside cottages
Keswick (Northern Lakes) – A market town dating back to the middle ages, Keswick is truly the heart of one of the Lake District’s most revered regions, The Northern Lakes. The region is famous primarily for it’s natural beauty, seen best from the views of Skiddaww, Lonscale Fell and Derwentwater. For heritage enthusiasts the town is also a short distance from the 4000 year-old Castlerigg Stone Circle. One the regions most tourist friendly sites, there are endless Keswick cottages available throughout the region.
So there you go guys – if you’ve had enough of London on your trip to the UK, get away from it all and visit the lake district. Just try to go in the summer if you can – the weather can be a tad unpredictable! Happy travels…