Nestled in Cumbria in the North West of England, the Lake District’s scenic beauty and tranquil pace of life has been attracting tourists for hundreds of years. Its residents have included some of England’s most famous artists and many of today’s visitors are looking to follow in the footsteps of the writers and poets who were inspired by the region.
However, away from its cultural and historical heritage, the Lake District’s terrain of mountains, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls attracts a more adventurous and active holidaymaker. Walk through any of Cumbria’s sleepy towns and you will be confronted with shops selling a range of outdoor clothing, climbing gear and camping equipment; that’s because this is the ideal destination for those who enjoy hiking, climbing, sailing and cycling.
There is so much for the outdoor enthusiast to do in Cumbria that it can be hard to choose just one activity. Saying this, one of the main attractions of the region is its mountains range, which includes the highest peak in England, Scafell Pike.
Throughout the Lakes there are numerous trails that are suitable for all hiking and climbing abilities, from those who just enjoy a ramble along designated paths to experienced mountain climbers seeking a more challenging route.
The fact that its mountains are such a popular attraction means that there are many companies that organise hiking holidays in the region, which normally include an experienced and knowledgeable guide, along with all the health and safety equipment needed. This option is great for those who are new to hiking and who don’t have the skills and confidence to go it alone.
Another activity the mountain range provides is abseiling. Again there are many companies that offer visitors the chance to try abseiling in a safe and friendly environment, which is especially popular with families looking for an activity that the whole family can participate in.
For those who enjoy hiking but would rather stay at ground level there are many routes throughout the region to choose from. These can vary in distance, from 15 mile hikes to more gentle 5 mile walks; while walkers who choose to follow the path around Ullswater Lake have the option of shortening or lengthening their walk by catching one of the regular ferries that stops off at pre-designated points around the lake. Those walking near to Ullswater can also visit Aira Force, a waterfall that drops 65 ft. The route to the waterfall takes walkers through ancient woodlands and landscaped glades.
Along with hiking, walking and mountain climbing the Lakes is a great place for cyclists. Many of the paths surrounding the lakes are suitable for cyclists as well as walkers. While for those who prefer biking off the beaten track, there are numerous of routes suitable for experienced mountain bikers. Cycling in the Lake District not only provides varied tracks, but also allows bikers to take in some of the most unique and stunning scenery in the UK. For those who are new to cycling or who just want to join a like-minded group, there are many tour operators based in the region who offer cycling holidays for a variety of skill and fitness levels.
During summer the Lake District becomes a haven for water sports enthusiasts. From sailing to water skiing its numerous lakes are a hive of water activities. If you are heading to the area with water sports in mind you are better off going to one of the more touristy lakes, as they will have more activities on offer. Lake Windermere is well known for its water sports and some of the sports it has includes sailing, water skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing and kayaking.
Another popular activity in the Lakes is camping. Most choose to camp in one of the many designated campsites, however for the more adventurous there is also the opportunity of wild camping. If you are new to wild camping and don’t know its rules and regulations it is a good idea to join an organised wild camping holiday, which will not only offer an introduction to the activity but will also provide the information and skills needed to go it alone in the future.
With so many activities on offer it is clear why people who enjoy the outdoors are drawn to the Lake District and in many ways it has now become an adventure holidaymaker’s paradise.
Written by Derin Clark a writer, editor and blogger.
Image 1: Much Better Adventures’ Alex hiking in the Lake District earlier this year.
Image 2: Provided by eGuide Travel.