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A Heaton Cooper - Derwentwater
Derwentwater, from Castle Head
by A. Heaton Cooper (c.1905)

This site is a celebration of the Lake District, an area containing some of England's most beautiful countryside.

We want to encourage you to come and see it for yourself if you are either already in the British Isles or intending to visit in the future. If unfortunately you're unable to be here in person then the site is intended to be both informative, entertaining and educational, so that you can enjoy the Lake District even at a distance. We're planning extensive enlargement of the site as time progresses, but already now you can use it to help:

  • organise a visit
  • view the landscape
  • explore the heritage
  • investigate the towns
  • discover hidden corners
  • find/book accommodation
  • learn of the poets and painters
  • trace interesting art and books
  • plan your
    • tramping of the fells
    • climbing in the mountains
    • sailing or fishing on the lakes

The Lake District

The "Lake District" in Cumbria, the county at the far northwest corner of England, contains most of England's major lakes but there are others elsewhere in the country. Cumbria will occupy most of the pages of the site, but as explained lower down the page we shall also be including pages on lakes both natural and artificial in other parts of England.

This is an area of outstanding natural beauty. The slogan of the local tourist board some years ago was "The most beautiful corner of England" and I certainly would not want to disagree with that. It is small, no more than about forty five miles across in any direction. However, as one 19th century guidebook (Black's Guide to England and Wales, 1864) expressed it, in typically effusive Victorian style: "No tract of country in Britain combines in richer affluence those varied features of sublimity and beauty which have conferred upon this spot so high a reputation."

Major centres (from south to north) are Kendal, Bowness, Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick. Just outside the national park, Cockermouth can be found on the A66 on the way to the West Cumbrian coastal industrial towns of Workington and Whitehaven. Penrith is to the east by the M6 motorway and Carlisle a little further north, close to the Scottish border. In the south of Cumbria, on opposite sides of the Duddon estuary, are the former steel towns of Millom and Barrow, the latter still having a substantial ship-building industry. The Furness peninsula which used to be in Lancashire contains so much of interest as to deserve a web site of its own, but we'll include selected items here as the site develops.

A Little History

Historically the Lake District consisted of parts of three counties - southern Cumberland, western Westmorland, and northern Lancashire. Now, however, since county boundary reorganisation in 1974, it is all in the newly formed county of Cumbria (which also, outside the Lake District, includes a small part of what was north-western Yorkshire). Lake District history goes much further back than that, though. This is a region which during the past two thousand years has been fought over by Romans, Vikings, Welsh, Scots and English. Many of its ancient traditions and place names are Scandinavian, passed down from invaders settling here more than a thousand years ago. More recent history is explored by the hundreds of visitors arriving annually from around the globe to search for information on ancestors who originated in these parts.

Lake District Weather

Lake District weather can be beautiful. It can also be atrocious; but that's how it comes to possess its character. Without the water where would the lakes come from? And in every kind of weather mountain, river, lake and meadow combine to produce a unique and constantly changing beauty. I've luxuriated in warm sunshine on a hillside overlooking Crummock Water in July, and I've wrapped up warm for Watendlath on a dull New Year's Day morning. Weather and time of year need be no barrier to enjoyment.

How to get there

Getting there: Wherever you are in the world just now, if in the future you have the opportunity to come to the UK don't make the big mistake of visiting only cities like London, Edinburgh and York. Catch a train from London Euston and get up into the Lake District hills for a few days. Below we've even provided easy links to train and hotel booking systems to make your journey-planning easier. Take the train to Kendal or Windermere; alternatively you might want to leave the train at Preston or Carlisle, pick up a hire-car and drive the last part of way. Organise it in advance. We've put a car rental link here to make this an easy process.

Lakes outside the Lake District

Initial notes on Rutland Water and Kielder Water have already been included as these are the two largest man-made lakes not only in Britain but in the whole of Western Europe. (They compete with one another for the top place as one is the larger in surface area and other in volume of water).

That's an quick introduction. There's much more to come.

    From your web-host at "England's Lakes",

          - David Murray -




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