Instant expert: Lake District

05 Jul 2016

Lake District at a Glance

Population: 40,800
Official language: English
Currency: Great British pound
Timezone: GMT 
Tipping: Not expected

10 Things You Need to Know

1. The Lake District is the largest National Park in England, covering 885 square miles.

2. It’s home to England's highest mountain, Scafell Pike, which has a summit of 3,209 feet.

3. England’s longest and deepest lakes - Windermere and Wastwater - are also found here. They measure 10.5 miles long and 260 feet deep, respectively.

4. An estimated 15.8 million tourists visit the region annually.

5. Noted walker Alfred Wainwright wrote about 214 fells in the area in his 7-volume Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells.

6. Only Bassenthwaite Lake (below) is actually referred to as a lake. All of the other bodies of water go by the names of "mere", "tarn" or "water".


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7. The region is renowned for its literary heritage. William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Beatrix Potter are just a few of the writers who once lived here.

8. The Lake District National Park has over 14,650 archaeological sites and monuments, and more than 1,760 listed buildings.

9. Graphite was discovered in Borrowdale in the 16th century, and in 1832 a factory in Keswick was the first place to manufacture the humble pencil.

10. St Olaf's Church in Wasdale is said to be the smallest church in England.

When to visit the Lake District

Whether you are planning on hiking, or learning to sail on Coniston or Windermere, it goes without saying that the summer months may prove more suitable for outdoor activities. There are organised wild swims on select dates in July and August, and boat trips and watersport facilities are available on select lakes. If you want to avoid the busy summer months, try September and October when you'll get to see the impressive autumnal glory of the Park. Heavy rain tends to fall at the beginning and end of winter, with mid-winter snow making some rural roads impassable. Click here for our season-by-season guide to the best time to visit the Lake District. 

The Lake District is Best For…

Outdoors enthusiasts. From swimming and climbing, to sailing and cycling: there are endless ways to make the most of the dramatic terrain.

Literary buffs. Visit William Wordsworth’s homes in Cockermouth and Grasmere, or Beatrix Potter's 17th-century farmhouse in Ambleside, and discover why so many writers were inspired by the scenery.

Hikers of all abilities. You can walk the gentle 1.5-mile Tarn Hows circuit, or embark on the challenging 9-mile ascent of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. There are trails suitable for all.

Families. With animal attractions, castles, museums and heritage steam trains, even rainy days won’t stop you exploring.

Those with a sweet tooth. During colder or wetter months, sit by the fire and indulge in Grasmere’s famous gingerbread or Cartmel's classic sticky toffee puddings.

5 Hotels We Love in the Lake District

Macdonald Old England Hotel & Spa
Where: Bowness-on-Windermere
: Prime location in Bowness, overlooking Windermere. Home to a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, plus a 20-metre swimming pool and a spa. The hotel is close to many Lake District attractions - The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is a 3-minute walk away.
Click here for rates and availability

Lodore Falls Hotel
Keswick, Cumbria
Why: This family-owned hotel overlooking Derwentwater has an indoor pool and sauna, an AA-Rosette-awarded restaurant and (as the name suggests) a waterfall right in the grounds. There’s also an outdoor hot tub and free bike hire for guests, both of which come into their own in the warmer weather.
Click here for rates and availability

Laura Ashley the Belsfield
Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Why: This listed Victorian property reopened in July 2014 after a multimillion-pound refurbishment and collaboration with Laura Ashley. There’s an indoor pool, a stylish cocktail bar, two restaurants and, as you can see, spectacular views over Windermere.
Click here for rates and availability

The Ryebeck

Where: Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria
Why: A former Edwardian gentlemen’s residence set in five acres of landscaped grounds with sweeping views of Windermere. There’s also a 2-AA-Rosette restaurant on site, and Bowness and Ambleside are just up the road. Rooms have lake or garden views. 
Click here for rates and availability

Wordsworth Hotel & Spa

Grasmere, Cumbria
Why: The village of Grasmere is about as idyllic a spot as you’ll find to usher in the spring months. This hotel is named after the poet William Wordsworth and sits next to another famous institution – the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop. The northern tip of Lake Windermere is a 15-minute drive from the hotel. 
Click here for rates and availability

See our full list of deals on Lake District hotels - many of our listed properties offer exclusive extras for Travelzoo members.

To find the all the best ways to spend time in the area, check out our interactive guide, 101 Things to do in the Lake District.

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