It is spring here in the Lakes. All of a sudden everything is a vibrant green and a harmony of birdsong fills the air. We’re feeling all fired up. In fact, our feathers are puffed and we’re proud to shout about the fact that we are into the 3rd year of receiving World Heritage Status.
Feeling like we’d like to celebrate, here we are sharing our ‘7 Wonders of the Lakes’ that we think you too would like to share with your loved ones. We think that they could easily go up against Venice and Easter Island as some of the finest icons on the planet. What do you say?
Protectively standing just outside Ambleside, the majestic Skelghyll Woods, once a private Victorian botanical garden, today is home to some of the most majestic trees in England.
Planted in 1860, the tallest Grand Fir in England is one of several monumental trees that make up the ‘gallery of giants’ that can be seen, standing tall, from all-around Lake Windermere.
Having grown as high as Nelson’s Column, Skelghyll’s Grand Fir is best viewed in its entirety from up the hill, via the trail from Stagshaw Gardens, where you can look back and soak up this rare and humbling sight of the tallest Grand Fir in England.
There are few historical attractions in Britain that are staged in such a dramatic, atmospheric and commanding setting than Castlerigg Stone Circle, just outside Keswick.
The towering peaks of Helvellyn, England’s second tallest mountain, and High Street, create a setting like no-other. The ‘golden hour’ is the time to visit the circle of 38 stones, when the sun is just rising or setting. A low winter sun gives way to long shadows and hanging mists, whilst sunrise in spring brings a new experience.
The English Heritage owned stone circle is only a 30-minute walk from Keswick town centre, and minimal parking is available onsite. It is one of Britain’s earliest stone circles and was founded by our Neolithic ancestors, over 4000 years ago. Open “any reasonable time during daylight hours”.
"No mountain profile arrests and excites the attention more than that of the Langdale Pikes…” Alfred Wainright. Wainright, guidebook author, catalogued 214 peaks in his famous Pictorial Guide of the Lake District that many people now use as a challenge.
The Langdale Pikes mountain range are an iconic shape. A collection of three distinctive ‘pikes’, that rise sharply from the valley floor, lying in the Central Lakes. Unlike other mountains, the summits are not hidden from view so their drama is all the more alluring.
It is the distinctive shapes of these summits that makes them so famous as they can be seen and recognised from considerable distance; from the shores of Lake Windermere within the Lakes as well as outside the Lakes’ boundary, from the M6.
Other than its appearance, there are many reasons that the Langdale Pikes are close to the heart. Although steep, the short climb up Stickle Ghyll to a pretty tarn is a great first fell for kids.
Scrambling on the craggy pikes makes for stacks of fun and interest too. There’s also the largest volume of water falling from these peaks, with stunning pools and waterfalls along the way. For those that enjoy a challenge, the Langdale Valley crams in more Wainwright fells than any other and so a circuit can bag you 10 Wainwrights in one go!
Alpaca’s talk! Yes, they are social creatures that enjoy company and indeed ‘talk’, exchanging a noise that sounds like a balloon emptying of air with one another.
Plus, as they are calm and un-nervy creatures they are also fond of a selfie and in-fact have some superb camera faces!
Alpaca’s are affectionate and time spent with them is actually known to reduce stress. Combine this with the beauty and tranquillity of the Lake District landscape and an Alpaca Trek truly is the perfect way to feel re-connected.
Taking in the Lake District landscape with an Alpaca has actually been voted Trip Advisor’s No.1 activity to do in the Lakes.
Some of the most photographed Alpaca’s live right here in the Lake District. Milky Joe, Bobbs, Billy Priest are just some of the
personalities at Alpacaly Ever After and they love a walk with visitors from their farm down to the shore of Derwentwater for a splash, stopping for feeds along the way. They really do make for fun walking companions and you’ll get some hilarious snaps too!
Beatrix Potter is known as the creator of Peter Rabbit and other much-loved animal characters, like Jemima Puddle-Duck and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle.
But her own name also became famously associated with conservation, in particular farming, in the Lake District. From her childhood holidays in the Lakes, including staying at Wray Castle, Beatrix Potter loved the way of life in the Lake District.
Visit the places that Potter made her home in the Lake District, including Hill Top farmhouse and Tarn Hows walks near Hawkshead, Troutbeck Park Farm where she reared Herdwick sheep, Yew Tree Farm, Coniston, and experience the wonder that is the Lake District through the eyes of one of the best-known literary figures.
Camera’s at the ready, it’s time to enjoy the ‘freedom of the Lakes’ and head out onto the waters of Lake Windermere to explore one of the most coveted shorelines in England. A cruise tour is the very best way to explore this beautiful lake set in the stunning South Lakes.
There are steam boat cruises sailing daily throughout the year, with a busy calendar of special events and evening cruises too.
Lake Windermere is England’s longest natural lake - 10.5 miles - forming a beautiful winding, ribbon of secluded bays, wooded islands and mountain scenery as well as Windermere Marina and Quays and the beautiful Victorian promenade at Bowness Pier.
There’s grandeur and interest aplenty; a neogothic castle, Wray Castle on the western shore, the petite Roman villa atop of Belle Island, the only inhabited island in the Lake District and the ‘Italian Lakes’ atmosphere at the lakeshore bars at Waterhead Pier, on the
northern tip and only a 10-minute walk from Ambleside. Hop on and off, exploring in and around Lake Windermere ‘til your heart’s content.
For over 200-years, locals and visitors, gentry and labourers, have battled it out in the Ambleside Sports amphitheatre. This annual event is quite the spectacle, throwing those brave enough to enter the arena into a world of Cumberland Wresting, Fell Sprinting and Hound Racing.
The event and the sports hosted were created to be marvelled, to draw crowds and drop jaws. The same ‘spirited’ atmosphere exists in today’s Ambleside games, which crams more sporting events into only 5 hours than any other in the region.
Whilst the ‘potato race’ and ‘putting the stone’ no longer feature, today’s programme includes the gruesome events like the Rydal Round Fell Race.
Of course, there’s family fun, a beer tent and craft marque for the faint-hearted.