• Countryside Mountains, lakes and meadows
  • Country life Ramblers, writers and road trips

Cumbria’s dramatic, brooding landscape has inspired creative souls for centuries: poet William Wordsworth penned many of his most famous works in the Lake District, and it’s where Beatrix Potter settled with her beloved flock of Herdwick sheep.

With 16 beautiful lakes, unspoilt shorelines and 100 lofty peaks more than 2,000 feet high, this is the perfect place to go wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’. Silken‑surfaced waters and windswept fells certainly provide a moody backdrop for the region’s legion Arthurian legends and ancient stone circles: it’s no wonder the Lake District is such a magnet for hopeless romantics. Be warned, though – Cumbria’s good looks and pleasing manner can attract style‑cramping crowds in high summer. Flirt with life beyond the bigger towns and tourist traps, and you’ll be rewarded by Ruskin‑approved Arts and Crafts charm and breathtaking scenery.

Do go/Don’t go

June, July and August are the best months for British weather, but be warned that the better-known lakes will be busy with tourists. Visit during spring and autumn for lakeside seclusion.

Getting thereView map

  • Planes Both Manchester (www.manchesterairport.co.uk) and Liverpool (www.liverpooljohnlennonairport.com) airports are less than 90 minutes’ drive away from the southern reaches of Cumbria | the Lake District. Glasgow (www.glasgowairport.com) and Edinburgh (www.edinburghairport.com) airports are a couple of hours from Carlisle | in the north of Cumbria.
  • Trains The West Coast Main Line from London to Glasgow stops at Oxenholme (where you can change for Kendal and Windermere), Penrith and Carlisle in the Lakes. There are regular direct trains between Manchester Airport and Windermere (via Oxenholme).
  • Automobiles The M6 motorway from the Midlands to Carlisle passes up the eastern side of the county of Cumbria | providing easy access from all parts of the UK. You'll definitely want your own wheels for exploring – for car hire, try www.avis.com.
  • Taxis The only option is a good local minicab company; in Kirkby Lonsdale, try 24‑7 Taxis (+44 (0)1524 273395). Your best bet is to ask your hotel to arrange drop‑offs and pick‑ups for you.