Oddly enough, when I first heard about the English Lake District, I wanted to go there in the winter. I thought it would be perfect to rent a little farmhouse, set amongst rolling hills, take walks in the frosty landscape and come back to curl up next to a roaring fire – and do it all again the following day. But as reality took hold, I remembered that winter in the UK often equals a lot of rain, and my idyllic winter wonderland vision became a bit soggy.
We decided to go in late July.
Sadly, my damp vision became a stark reality this past winter, when flooding swept through the Lake District. I hope these charming little places were able to recover from that.
Leaving my Mom at the farm with the girls, Brett and I drove near Derwentwater and went for a hike. The ring trail, around the lake, was packed with people, as it would be at this time of year on a nice day. Our goal was to get an areal view of the lake that everyone was circumnavigating, so up we went…
After our mission was accomplished, we drove farther south, aimlessly wandering into small villages and getting out to walk and take in the surroundings. It’s no wonder that poets, painters and writers have been drawn to this area for centuries, looking for inspiration. We really only scratched the surface in the few days we were there, but it is a place you are glad to have a reason to return to.
Definitely a highlight for our family, was a visit to Hill Top – the 17th century farmhouse, purchased by Beatrix Potter in 1905, mostly from the proceeds of her first bestseller, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. My Mom is a Beatrix Potter collector and our daughters have become fans of the books and the Peter Rabbit cartoon (which is probably the most adorable show on TV). The house is represented in many of Potter’s books, and the garden resembles Mr. McGregor’s, where Peter and his friends are forever stealing vegetables. Photos inside the house were not permitted, but here are a few of the outside.
There are several other Beatrix Potter sites around Cumbria and pieces of her fascinating life story can be found around every corner.
As you can see, the rain had found us by now, so we were happy that a National Trust guide told us about Wray Castle. This was an incredible place for the kids (most of the rooms were empty and had been transformed into uniquely decorated playrooms). There was also lots of fascinating history to read about, including more mentions of Beatrix Potter, as this was a place she frequented with her family, as a child on summer holidays.
So, if you’re feeling like a fairytale escape, the English Lake District does not disappoint. It made a fantastic multigenerational trip that I think everyone loved. I crave to return to this area, or another English countryside setting, and just walk and take in more beautiful countryside. Especially now, as spring is starting to show its colors.