Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Lake District
The Lake District in Cumbria, much of which (900sq.mi/2,330sq.km) was designated a national park in 1951, is an area of incomparable beauty and great variety. With its 16 lakes and numerous small reservoirs it fully justifies the name. Between the lakes are innumerable fells, including 180 over 2,000ft/610m and Scafell Pike (3,210ft/979m), the highest mountain in England. The Lake District covers a distance of some 30mi/48km from north to south and 25mi/40km from east to west. At its center is the little town of Grasmere on the lake of the same name. Five main areas can be distinguished - the southern or Windermere area, the northern or Keswick area, the eastern or Ullswater area and the passes.
Millions of years have contributed to the shaping of the Lake District. Its landscape bears the marks of volcanic eruptions, the Caledonian folding movements, the subsequent submersion by the sea and the resultant deposition of limestone, and finally the glaciers of the Ice Age. From the center of the area erosion valleys radiate in all directions, and up in the high valleys the water is collected in round basins which feed the lake lower down through a series of mountain streams, waterfalls and rivers. The coast is famous for its large numbers of waterfowl and magnificent gardens. Herons are a common sight, though less abundant than the sheep which roam over the hills. It is paradise not only for nature-lovers and walkers but also for anglers, yachtsmen and geologists.
During the summer there are regular boat services on Lakes Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater. Sailing and rowing, fishing and swimming are possible in most lakes (permit required for fishing).
There is an abundance of very attractive footpaths, either going round the lakes (Windermere 27mi/43km) or radiating from the towns. Walkers and climbers can discover other routes offering new delights using the good maps which are available everywhere; organized tours also operate from many towns.
The Lake District was "discovered" by the poet Thomas Gray (1716 to 1771), who visited the area in 1769 and wrote a book entitled "A Tour in the Lakes". Thereafter many writers and poets sang the praises of the Lakes, in particular William Wordsworth (1770-1850), Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855), Robert Southey (1774-1843) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), who became known as the Lake Poets.