Bordering Scotland, the county of Cumbria sits at England’s further north-western limit. The region boasts a wealth of tourist attractions, including the world famous Lake District and countless historic buildings and areas of natural beauty. We’ve picked out five great options to inspire you to visit this beautiful part of the UK.
Take a cruise on tranquil Lake Windemere
Stretching just over 11 miles in length and encompassing 18 islands, Lake Windemere is the largest natural lake in England, and the jewel in the crown of Cumbria’s world famous Lake District. It has been one of the country’s most popular holiday destinations since the 19th century, with visitors coming to boat on its tranquil waters, or simply just to relax and soak up the view. So while you’re visiting the Lake District, why not book yourself on a boat cruise to enjoy this natural wonder? Windermere Lake Cruises offer a 45-minute tour of the Lake’s wooded islands and secluded bays. Alternatively, you can opt for a 3-hour cruise between taking in Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside, with stop-offs to visit the many villages and attractions on the lake’s shores.
Find out where Beatrix Potter and Wordsworth got their inspiration
The Lake District’s stunning scenery has inspired many famous writers, including children’s author Beatrix Potter and poet William Wordsworth.
Why not visit Dove Cottage, where Wordsworth wrote his most famous poetry, including the immortal line ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’? Entry to the Cottage includes the Wordsworth Museum and Art Gallery which houses historic artefacts and accounts of Wordsworth’s daily life. You can also visit ‘the World of Beatrix Potter’, where you can explore both the imaginary world and real life of the widely loved writer, and even take a walk in her footsteps by taking a Beatrix Potter Virtual Walk.
Wonder at Carlisle’s medieval castle and cathedral
Located 10 miles south of the Scottish border, Carlisle is the county town of Cumbria. Its history stretches back to Roman times, when a settlement was established here to support the forts along Hadrian’s Wall - such as Birdoswald Roman Fort, the remains of which can still be seen today. With its strategic location next to the border with Scotland, Carlisle became an important English military stronghold. Carlisle Castle can still be seen in all its glory today, which in Tudor times served as a prison for Mary, Queen of Scots. Another architectural spectacle not to be missed is Carlisle Cathedral, with stained glass windows and a vaulted painted ceiling dating back to the 14th century.
Explore the splendour of Cumbria by train
With its ruggedly beautiful landscape, Cumbria is home to several great options for train enthusiasts. ‘Fellsman’ is a steam train running along one of Britain’s most famous and spectacular railways – the Settle to Carlisle line. Fellsman takes in the magnificent Ribblehead Viaduct as it winds its way up to England’s highest main line station, with glorious views of the three peaks, Blea Moor and Dent Dale en route. Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway is another steam train running a seasonal daily service from Haverthwaite to Lakeside through the pretty Leven Valley. And as a quirky alternative, why not downsize, and take a ride on the oldest working 15” gauge engine in the world on the Ravenglass and Eskale Railway in the splendour of the Lake District National Park?
Chat about arts and craft at Farfield Mill
After 156 years of textile production came to an end in the early 1990s, Farfield Mill re-opened its doors in 2001 as Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre, showcasing high quality local arts and crafts. Visitors can chat to the various craftspeople at work, including weavers using floor and hand looms, lacemakers, and rag ruggers. Farfield Mill's resident artists can also be seen beavering away creating art which is available for sale.