It is one of the ironies in life that you very often spend quite some time in a location but are too busy to actually explore the region. Or you are complacent and don’t consider your local area worthwhile for a day trip or a weekend away. When I was 21 I spent almost 3/4 of a year in England’s north, and yet while I did hear a lot of good things about the Lake District, I never made it up there to see it for myself.
Returning to England this year, 17 years later, I finally found my way to this incredibly charming region, and I was stunned to discover how picturesque and beautiful a region this actually is.
You see, the Lake District is the kind of place that could be the setting of a Midsummer Mystery, or a Beatrix Potter book. Hell, you could even picture the imposing walls of Hogwarts just around the corner.
So in the end I was glad to have made it to the Lake District, and in a sense I was even excited to discover the region only now that I am a bit older and more appreciative of romantic settings and historic structures.
My friend Coralie from Tea Time in Wonderland and I visited the Lake District as part of our road trip to Scotland, having stayed the night in Bowness-on-Windermere, but then heading up north on our second day to make it to Scotland before nightfall.
Driving past Lake Windermere we couldn’t help but admire the picture-perfect scenery. Green hills, enchanted forests, the reflections on the lake’s surface – could there be a region more English, more romantic than this? No wonder caravan holidays in the UK are so popular these days.
So we made an unplanned stop along the shores of the lake – spontaneity should always be part of any trip. Armed with cameras we strolled along the shore, two travel writers smitten with the rawness of nature and the peacefulness that only a large body of calm water can transport to you.
As we were standing by the shore, sailing ships were gliding by silently. Paddle boarders were making the most of this sunny summer’s morning, the water of the lake gently lapping onto the beach. Trees with moss-covered roots, evoking the images of a land where magic still existed and fairies were hiding in the shadows. Wildflowers, adding gentle sprinkles of colour to the soft green grass that covered the lake’s shore.
A scenery, so pure and so inviting on this summer morning, my friend Coralie couldn’t help it. She took off her shoes and just waded into the water. Yes, she is a bit crazy, this one!
Our morning walk along Lake Windermere had left us in good spirits, so we did not even mind that we were getting lost along the way. Disorientated without a functioning GPS we stopped at an old arched stone bridge, stretching beautifully across a bubbling stream, composed just like a painting.
The handful of houses nearby so pretty, built in the local stone, with madly overflowing cottage gardens, traditionally slated roofs, white window frames. Everything in the region seems to be just perfect.
The River Rothay flows right through this historic town, adding an unmatched romantic flair that is particularly evident when you lose yourself in the narrow lanes of the village which hugs the river to both sides. Just sitting on one of the low walls watching the gurgling river flowing past the century old buildings with their quirky setup of windows and doors, watermills for washing wool and ivy covered walls you cannot help but slow down and just enjoy.
It’s a quick stop, as the Bridge House is famously small. Just two tiny rooms stacked on top of each other, connected through outdoor stairs. It is so small, you cannot help but wonder why someone bothered building it in the first place. It is proudly sitting on top of Stock Beck, the river that helped the settlement flourish in the days before the Industrial Revolution. At some stage it is said that the house was home to big family, but it is hard to believe.
A visit to the Bridge House in Ambleside is a must – it is free, it is quick and it is something so unusual and unique for the region that you need to include it in your visit to Ambleside.
With this we decided to call it a day. We had hours on the road ahead of us, and Scotland was the actual destination for this trip.
Yet, the Lake District didn’t disappoint. We loved the beautiful scenery, the historic villages and the peaceful atmosphere of the lakes. It is a region that is so romantic and so distinctly English that it needs to be visited by anyone who has an interested in English history and culture. In the meantime, please enjoy the photos on the bottom of this post.