The Lake District is renowned for the sheer sublime beauty of it's National Park, and has been inscribed in the literary and art history of Britain by notables such as William Wordsworth, John Ruskin, George Romney and not forgetting Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransom, and the Lake District's own quirky lonely fell walker himself, Alfred Wainwright. The passion that these Lake District prodigies conveyed in their work leaves you in no doubt that the Lake District is a spiritual place. What a retreat for Wainwright from that Blackburn Town Hall. The Lake District National Park has it all, beautiful lakes, sweeping fells and mountains, and panoramas that stir the soul indeed.
The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is yet time will be blessed both in mind and body. (AW, Christmas 1965, Book Seven) No man can create from fantasy alone. Sooner or later it will run dry on him, and only by constant study of nature will he be able to replenish it and keep it fresh. (Kurt Schwitters, who lived in Ambleside in his later life and created the Merzbarn locally near Ambleside).
Lake Windermere is 'Swallows and Amazons' territory, as well as superb fly-fishing territory! Start your journey into Ambleside and surrounds history at the wonderful Armitt Museum & Library. Coniston Water is well served for boat trips by Coniston Launch, which has jetty stop offs all round the lake and offers themed cruises.
Check out the World of Beatrix Potter Experience at Bowness, superb for kids. Visit John Ruskin's home Brantwood on Coniston Water, or amble up Coniston Old Man. The Central Lakes is alive with specialist shopping, superb fine food restaurants, inns and tea rooms. This section of the Lake District is perhaps the most popular in all the Lake District.
Keswick is the central cultural and entertainment hub of the North Lake District region and is gaining an international reputation for film and theatre. Keswick and North Cumbria has it all; spectacular dramatic mountains and fells, plentiful golf and outdoor activities, specialist shopping, film and theatre and of course a superb selection of lakes including Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite.
With Kendal at it's core the South Lakes is crammed with cultural and outdoor pursuits, specialist shopping, superb outdoor markets, and you'll find one of the best art galleries in the country in Kendal, Abbot Hall!
Take time also to explore towns like Kirkby Lonsdale and Sedbergh which just sneak into Cumbria. Kirkby Lonsdale is superb for specialist independent shops and cosy inns, whilst Sedbergh reigns supreme for arts and crafts.
Welcome to one of the most historic cities in the UK, Carlisle. You'd expect little else from a Scotch-English border city. Start at the magnificent Tullie House Museum in the centre of Carlisle to begin your journey into the Roman History of this area.
Hadrian's Wall is a world heritage site and one of the most popular historic features in the UK. The wall took six years to build. The Hadrian's Wall Trail which opened in 2002, and there's a Hadrian's Wall Cycle Way as well. Not all of Hadrian's Wall remains, just the line which stretches from Wallsend in the east to Bowness-on-Solway.
Discover market towns like Kirkby Stephen and Appleby with a rich history, crammed with castles, old churches and on the contemporary side some superb specialist shops, real ale pubs and inns and exquisite restaurants. Great Walking country as well and rather popular with the bikers so I've heard.
The Solway Coast has been designated an official area of outstanding natural beauty, haven to wildlife habits. If you're looking for award winning blue flag beaches then you'll find them on this coastline. Whitehaven is one of the best in the UK. Check out the sublime RSPB Nature Reserves at Haverigg and St Bees.
How will you react?' and 'Meet the Mighty Atom'!, at the Sellafield visitors Centre in Seascale. Explore the history of Mining at the Haig Colliery Mining Museum in Whitehaven or at the Florence Mine Heritage Centre, Egremont. Delve into the Maritime History of this coastline at the Maryport Maritime Museum. Maryport and Whitehaven are crammed with Georgian architecture, and Roman and Viking history, forts and crosses abound. The oldest narrow gauge railway, still in operation today, runs from Ravenglass to Eskdale. Don't forget the Lake District Peninsula, for Cistercian Monks, Abbeys and of course a history of shipbuilding in Barrow-in-Furness.