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The English Lake District

By Paulina

What is the English Lake District?

The English Lake District is a mountainous region in North West England and the second-largest National Park in the UK. It spans 2,292 square kilometers (885 square miles) and it is abundant in many bodies of water, often mistaken for lakes. In fact, there is only one official lake in the Lake District: Bassenthwaite Lake. The others are called tarns or meres.

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This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a creation of glaciers from the Ice Age. The beautiful landscape of the Lake District has also been an inspiration for many painters and poets. It is one of the best-preserved areas in the UK with still-vibrant agricultural traditions.

A view of a lake between green hills in the English Lake District
The Wast Water

Why is the English Lake District a UNESCO World Heritage site?

The breathtaking mountain scenery and continuation of local traditions are the main reasons why the Lake District is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The interest and appreciation for the scenery of the Lake District by the Picturesque and Romantic Movements starting in the 18th century changed ideas about landscapes: the idea that a landscape could have value in and of itself led eventually to the rise of conservation movements to protect such areas.

In the English Lake District, you will still find agricultural practices dating back hundreds of years. Herdwick sheep, a breed which is native to this region, have been part of the English landscape for more than 1000 years. Moreover, the common grazing system in the Lake District is the biggest such system in Europe.

A Herdwick sheep in the English Lake District.
A Herdwick sheep

What can you expect on a visit to the English Lake District?

Some of the best Lake District attractions include climbing mountains, exploring castles, or admiring the waterfalls. You will find there the tallest peak in England: Scafell Pike, which offers panoramic views of the Lake District.

Also in the Lake District, the Wast Water is a famous wild swimming spot in the UK. It is the deepest body of water in the Lake District with jaw-dropping views of surrounding mountains. There are many amazing places to swim in the beautiful National Park plus almost 200 tarns to explore.

If you’d rather not drive, take a look at the many sizes and shapes of tours to the Lake District!

Is the English Lake District worth visiting? 

The English Lake District should be on every travel bucket list when exploring England. It is one of the most popular spots in the country for a summer holiday. You can visit the Lake District on a day trip or go camping for a week in one of the most pristine landscapes in the UK.

A view from up a mountain of a hilly landscape covered with low grasses, and a lake in a mountain valley in the English Lake District.

What sorts of travelers would like the English Lake District?

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is perfect for families with kids, couples, and avid mountain climbers. The number of attractions in the Lake District offers an amazing holiday break in the UK. Even if you don’t want to climb tall mountains, you can explore charming towns such as Keswick or Windermere.

Look at hotel options in Keswick and Windermere.

Tips for visiting the English Lake District

When everyone is dreaming about reaching the top of England’s tallest mountain, they don’t realize how difficult the climb is. Despite the height of 978 m (3209 feet), you will need to scramble through steep hills. Make sure you have the right level of fitness before you attempt the climb.

Also, don’t forget sturdy shoes and waterproof clothes. Bring a wetsuit if you plan to take a dip in the water and carry a good camera to take incredible pictures of your journey.

Find and compare prices on accommodations near the English Lake District.

Where is the English Lake District?

The Lake District is approximately 2 hours’ drive from some of the biggest cities in the UK such as Manchester, Liverpool, or Leeds. There are plenty of parking spots nearby popular attractions. One of the most famous is Wasdale Car Park for Scafell Pike where you can pay for a whole day’s parking.

Sustainable travel plays an important role in the Lake District. Therefore, using public transport is a perfect way to explore this part of the country. You can get a direct train from Manchester to Penrith in 1 hour 35 minutes. Then, catch a bus to Aira Force (45 minutes ride). There is also a direct train from Manchester to Windermere, which takes 1 hour 50 minutes.

For more information about the English Lake District, its opening hours and admission fees, see its official website

Text and photos provided by Paulina of ukeveryday.com. She shares her passion for traveling around England, Wales and Scotland. You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.

Have you been to The English Lake District? If so, do you have any additional information or advice about this UNESCO World Heritage site? Please add your comments below!

Text: The English Lake District, United Kingdom. Images: 23 views of lakes surrounded by mountains.

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