Travel Review: Lake District, England
We love the UAE. It’s got year-round sunshine, stunning dunes and the most interesting variety of landscapes. But sometimes even we need a break from all of the sand. Which is why the Lake District is such a great vaycay option.
Located in the north west of England, the Lake District is a lush, green expanse of land with stunning vistas and, you guessed it, lakes. Here’s why we are a little bit obsessed with the luvverly Lakes...
Impress your travelling pals with your in-depth knowledge (our guide) of the Lakes with these facts. The Lake District National Park is England’s largest, covering a massive 583,747 acres. There are at least 200 fell tops (mountains) with Scafell Pike reaching the highest at 978 metres. The area was actually formed thanks to lava and ashes from eruptions in the Barrowdale Volcanics 450 million years ago. As you can imagine there are LOTS of lakes – 16, in fact. The biggest lake is Windermere, a whopping 14.8 square kilometres of water. Ullswater follows at 8.9 square kilometres with Derwentwater bringing up the rear at 5.5 square kilometres. Lake Windermere is also England’s longest lake, stretching 10.5 miles long. That’s the length of almost 200 metro trains lined nose to tail. Wastwater Lake is England’s deepest with depths of 79 metres. That’s deep. man.
If you’re hankering after some refreshing rain, you’ve come to the right place. The Lakes are generally wet and mild. In fact, when we arrived in late September it pummelled down with rain before clearing up beautifully. The amount of precipitation the area gets means that the gorgeous green landscape and deep lakes are well fed.
Thanks to the Gulf Stream the Lake District enjoys a milder climate than most northern landscapes. The winters are not as chilly as elsewhere in England and the summers are cool. There are odd spurts of dry, hot weather or major snow but we can blame climate change for that.
Don’t worry – the weather alters frequently, so it’s rare for visitors to suffer a full week of rain. And who doesn’t like a little storm after months of desert living?
Tourism is a huge source of income for the region. A whopping 18.41 million people flock to the Lakes each year to take in the fresh air and greenery. The Lakelands was once home to romantic poet William Wordsworth, who, in the 19th century, used the landscape as inspiration for his work. It’s not difficult to see why.
Things to do
It would be rude not to hike through all of the vibrant countryside of the Lakes, which is why trails are mercifully plentiful. Most guesthouses and hotels offer an abundance of well-travelled hikes, each with varying times and di iculty levels. If watersports is more your cup of tea, the Lake District will make you a very happy water baby. There are dedicated water sport centres at a number of lakes and tarns (large bodies of water), offering activities such as sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and rowing. There are a few places to fish, but it’s worth first checking with locals that you don’t need a permit before carting your equipment to the shoreline. There are a number of castles for medieval aficionados to traipse around, including Lowther Castle and Muncaster Castle. For a real culture trip, head to Wordsworth’s home, Rydal Mount, situated near Ambleside. The poet lived there until his death in 1850.
Where to stay
During our trip to the Lakes we stayed in Silverholme Manor on Graythwaite Estate, by Windermere. The manor itself is a beautiful Georgian structure, built in 1820 and immaculately restored. The property has all the mod cons you could dream of (underfloor heating, flat screen televisions, and a boiling water tap for tea), while still retaining a magical period feel. Each bedroom in the giant house is ensuite and has been furnished to incredibly high standards. The feel is quintessentially English, with pretty blooms decorating the walls and elegant bed linen adorning the double and twin beds. There are sufficient beds/bedrooms to comfortably sleep up to 18 people.
The dining room is fit for a king, boasting a long mahogany table in the centre and huge candelabras. There are two reception rooms, each with comfortable seating and incredible views. The library is just the space to hold an impromptu night of cards and catch-ups. The snug features a big TV with an even bigger wraparound sofa, and is ideal for cosy movie night.
The hub of the house has to be the kitchen. Big and modern, located at the back of the property, overlooking Windermere Lake, it’s perfect for social gatherings. The table can easily fit 18 people and there are two Kardashian-sized fridges in which to stash all of your delicious food. FYI, we recommend getting a supermarket delivery to the Manor at the beginning of your stay, as the closest shops are a bit of a drive away. There are also convection and steam ovens, so you can wow your guests with your cooking skills.
Silverholme is a brilliant place to hold a wedding. We attended one while there and could see first-hand how perfectly the estate is set up to manage a large party. Just 15 minutes down the road from the Manor are multiple cottages, all available to hire. They are cosy, cute and very comfortable – just the thing for extended family and friends. The rambling grass by the manor has a flat section made to host a party. Marquees can be erected there and catering brought in to provide the ultimate Lakes wedding experience, and for an extra- large do, The Coach House can also be hired to extend the overall area.
Stay: Silverholme Manor, Graythwaite Estate, Lake Windermere, UK, +44 15 395 31248, graythwaite.com
Flights: Return flights from Dubai to Manchester start at Dhs2,914 in October.
Currency: GBP1 = Dhs4.84
Rydal Mount: rydalmount.com, Dhs37 per adult
Muncaster Castle: muncastercastle.co.uk, Dhs70 per adult