The Lake District National Park is one of the most strikingly beautiful regions of the UK, and with all of England’s highest peaks (three-thousand feet above sea level or greater) located within its boundaries, it can even be seen from Teviotdale on a clear day.
A popular holiday destination, the Lake District has long drawn to its emerald vales a deluge of writers, artists, and musicians, immortalising (to the benefit of the tourism board) the natural splendour which abounds in the valleys between fells (mountains) and across the shimmering surfaces of the waters, meres, and tarns (lakes). Most famously, native-born William Wordsworth, and friends Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey, became known as the ‘Lake Poets’ for the myriad works they produced whilst residing by the Lakes – ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ by Wordsworth, perhaps England’s best-loved piece of poetry, was inspired by the daffodils growing on the shores of Ullswater. Far from the Lake District inspiring only those who were born or lived there, however, many other artistic minds have been shaped and inspired by holidays on its shores. Notable visitors include Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, John Keats, Lord Tennyson, and Beatrix Potter (who set many of her famous Peter Rabbit books in the Lake District).
The Lake District is located completely within Cumbria (a county established in 1974), but was previously the meeting point between the counties of Cumberland, Westmoreland, and Lancashire (sometimes referred to as the Lake Counties). The Lake District National Park was established in 1951, and covers an area of 2,362 square kilometres. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017. England’s tallest peak, Scafell Pike, is located within the park, as are England’s largest and deepest natural lakes, Windermere and Wast Water respectively.
‘I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.’
- ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’, by William Wordsworth
‘Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were - Flopsy, Mopsy, Cotton-tail, and Peter. They lived with their Mother in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree.’
- Excerpt from The Tale of Peter Rabbit 1902, by Beatrix Potter