On our car journeys up to Galloway, I’m always a little sad when we drive through the Lake District without pausing for longer than a quick cuppa. From the motorway we only catch a glimpse of the UNESCO world heritage mountains. Even at that range, the northern English district feels as though it’s shouting out to us with romance and adventure. And I’ve read and seen many stories from the Lake District that make me eager to stay longer. Prompted by Good Life Lake District Cottages, who offer charming self-catering properties in the south of the Lakes, I’ve put together a few of my favourites.
The poetry of William Wordsworth
“Come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher”. One of the Romantic ‘Lake poets’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, William Wordsworth wrote powerful verse that celebrated the beauties of nature. The images and stories he wove through works like The Prelude and Lyrical Ballads were influenced by this part of Cumbria, but it was his Guide through the District of the Lakes that brought the world’s attention to the area. Kirstie from Family Adventure Project wrote about their walk to from Rydal to Grasmere, where the Poet Laureate lived. You can still visit his homes at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount today. The walk is peppered with stops where people rested the coffins they were carrying, back in the thirteenth century. Do have a read of Kirstie’s story. It’s guaranteed to whet your appetite for Wordsworth country.
The guidebooks of Alfred Wainwright
Alfred Wainwright was a celebrated British explorer. His love affair with the Lake District led him to produce seven guidebooks that are a mixture of beautiful pen-and-ink drawings, maps and musings. His Pictorial Guides to the Lakeland Fells include what have come to be known as ‘Wainwrights’. These are fell tops that walkers can reach after a bracing walk. Of these, Scafell Pike, in the north east of the Lake District, is the highest peak in England. For a more family-friendly option, try Loughrigg Fell in the south. You reach it via a level path overlooking Grasmere, and it’s scattered with pretty streams and tarns.
Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome
Swallows and Amazons is a dramatic tale of adventure and friendship, set in the Lakes. Author Arthur Ransome lived in the Winster Valley and Haverthwaite, to the south of the District. In his stories, the Walker children spent their summer holidays sailing, fishing and camping on a number of unspecified Cumbrian lakes. Modern day visitors can retrace the steps of the Walker children. Ting from My Travel Monkey describes a staggeringly beautiful gondola ride on Coniston Water, said to be the site of Wild Cat Island, where the Walkers camped out. Joanne from Kids Days Out Reviews describes her adventurous cruise on Lake Windermere. And Penny from Parentshaped also went on a Swallows and Amazon-themed exploration of the area. She’s written about it in this beautiful post.
The stories of Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter spent most of her childhood holidays in the Lake District. The place’s towering crags and gentle, mossy valleys form a backdrop to Potter’s tales of Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs Tiggywinkle and friends. The World of Beatrix Potter is a visitor attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere. It’s a fun place for a day out with the family, and you can read more about it in this post by Kiddieholidays.
There are many more stories from the Lake District, in poetry, prose and pictures. Which are your favourites?
This is a collaborative post. All images are by Pixabay.
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