Cumbria, in the north-west of England and bordering with Scotland, is a land of lakes, mountains and legends. The land is full of ancient myths and stories, but the county of Cumbria was only created in 1974. Made up of the former counties of Cumberland and Westmorland, Cumbria is better known as the home of The Lake District.
The area’s stunning mountainous landscape includes Scafell Pike, the highest point in England, and is a favourite with climbers, ramblers and hill-walkers. If you’re interested in doing any of these outdoor activities, but aren’t familiar with the area, it’s a good idea to book onto a guided tour. These tours are run by expert guides who can offer walks and climbs for people with varying degrees of experience. Various climbing walls in Cumbria provide the opportunity to practice before attempting the real thing.
The many lakes in Cumbria provide the perfect opportunity for sailing and other water-based activities like canoeing, water skiing and windsurfing. These activities can be a great way to spend the half-term break in an area of stunning lakes, the like of which you won’t find anywhere else in England. You can also take a steamer across the larger lakes like Ullswater, or a rowing boat on Derwent Water. Another way to travel and see the landscape in Cumbria is by steam train. Cumbria’s steam railway provides visitors with a close-up look at how people in this area used to travel, as well as being a great way to view this mountainous county.
While Cumbria holidays are most famous for the landscape, the county also celebrates its connections with world-famous artists and writers. The World of Beatrix Potter in Windermere gives an insight into the life of the writer of the Peter Rabbit books. In addition to the museum you can visit Beatrix Potter’s house in Ambleside, which is close to Windermere. Entrance to the house operates on a ‘timid ticket’ system, only allowing a few visitors in at a time. The house is small and queues are likely during half-term dates, but the visit is worth it. The house appears exactly as it was when Beatrix Potter lived in it and the gardens are beautifully kept.
The Lake District has always attracted artists and writers to its inspirational scenery. William Wordsworth lived in Cockermouth and then later in Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Both of these houses are open to the public and provide an interesting insight into the poet’s life. Grasmere is a particularly popular village in Cumbria. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy not only lived here but are buried in the churchyard. Next to the church you’ll find the little corner shop, The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, which was originally the village school. The village still makes and sells the gingerbread first made here by Sarah Nelson in the 1860s.
Cumbria holidays offer a huge choice in outdoor activities, as well as a more relaxed pace of life in the villages and towns. The home of The Lake District is educational, and offers outdoor pursuits that make the UK school holidays fun and healthy.