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I had heard several people say that England’s Lake District is lovely.  Well, let me tell you after spending only a day there, it did not disappoint.  I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to go back and explore more.  In addition to the beautiful lakes, there are so many cute towns and plenty of places to go hiking.  It’s a quiet area, but you will not be bored.  We visited the Lake District in August and the weather was just perfect.

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What a gorgeous day to be out on Lake Windermere - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

What a gorgeous day to be out on Lake Windermere

How Many Lakes in The Lake District?

It’s a trick question! There are 16 bodies of water in the Lake District National Park, but only one actual lake – Bassenthwaite Lake.  The other bodies of water are technically considered waters, meres, and tarns.  We spent most of our time around Windermere but we did see Bassenthwaite Lake when we drove to see the Ashness Bridge.

Windermere is the largest body of water in England, so we decided to spend most of our time around it.  Lake Windermere Cruises offers several different cruises on the lake.   We went on the Red Line, which would take us from Bowness to Ambleside and then back.  Boats run about every 30 minutes, but you should check the schedule for your visit.

*In case you were wondering the Lake District is one of 15 National Parks in the UK!

The shores of Lake Windermere by the pier in Bowness. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

The shores of Lake Windermere by the pier in Bowness.

Anisa and Russell on the Lake Windermere Cruise to Ambleside. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Anisa & Russell on the Lake Windermere Cruise to Ambleside.

Cruising to From Windermere to Ambleside

 

Once we got to Ambleside, we opted to take the shuttle that was waiting for us (£2 each) rather than walk the 15 minutes into town.  We figured we would be walking enough on our hike.  The shuttle dropped us off at the Red Lion, which is right in the Ambleside town center. 

Next time I visit the Lake District, I might stay in Ambleside.  The town (just like Bowness) is one of the best villages in the Lake District and definitely worth exploring a bit.  I was really impressed by the bridge house, it was just so cute! You can even go inside it.  I was a little surprised that there is only a door on one side so you can’t walk across the river through it.  

 

Stock Ghyll Waterfalls - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Stock Ghyll Waterfalls

Hiking in the Lake District

Then it was time for our hike.  We bought a booklet of Ambleside walks from the visitor’s center in Bowness (also available online).  We had a tough time deciding which walk to do but ended up going with the Stock Ghyll with the Sweden High Bridge extension.   The booklet estimated the 5 ½ mile walk would take about four hours and described it as:

“Ascend alongside the spectacular ‘Stock Ghyll’ waterfalls and enjoy the fantastic views across this beautiful corner of Lakeland.”

The booklet also said that sturdy waterproof boots with a good grip on the soles were essential.  Well, both Russell and I just had sneakers.  Traction wise the sneakers were fine as it was not a technically difficult hike.  However, based on our experience I would recommend waterproof shoes (click here to check out the selection on Amazon).  Even on a perfect sunny day, we went through some wooded areas and fields where we encountered some muddy spots.

Some of the gorgeous countryside we would see on our hike. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Some of the gorgeous countryside we would see on our hike.

Russell walking on the trail through a field. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Russell walking on the trail through a field.

Then we were back on a main road with a nice downward slope.  Our next turn would be a “stony track signposted Ellerigg.”  We were really enjoying our downhill walk when I realized we had walked way more than the 200 yards we were supposed to.  We had to trek back uphill to try to find it.  Luckily we run into two other men on the road and they showed us the way.

Sheep where everywhere, even in some of the fields we walked through. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Sheep where everywhere, even in some of the fields we walked through.

A section of the hike where we were walking on the road, still so scenic! - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

A section of our Lake District hike where we were walking on the road, still so scenic!

The extension to the High Sweden Bridge was definitely steeper than the rest of the walk but still manageable.  The first part of it you again have breathtaking views, but as you go higher trees get in the way of the view.  After crossing the bridge, you still climb higher but without trees to block the view (or the sun).  After reaching the peak, the rest of the walk is all downhill with more great Lake District views.

This was the terrain at the highest points of our hike. - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

This was the terrain at the highest points of our hike.

Another lovely picture from our walk - "An Introduction to England's Lake District" - Two Traveling Texans

Another lovely picture from our walk

Returning to Bowness

We caught the last shuttle back (4:30 pm) to the dock.  Since we weren’t in a hurry to leave, we got drinks inside the shop and then sat at a table right by the river to relax for a bit.  We got in line a little before the boat was scheduled to leave to make sure we would get seats with a view.  We had a different boat on the ride back and sat on the top deck.  For this trip, the boat went along the opposite shore.  They told us about the story of child book author Beatrix Potter and how much she loved the area.  She is a big reason why the Lake District is so well preserved.

Our Lake Windermere Boutique Hotel

Once we got back to Bowness we headed to our hotel, the Ryebeck, just outside of town.  The Ryebeck is reasonably priced and one of the romantic hotels in the Lake District. 

The staff at the Ryebeck could not have been more accommodating.  There was no elevator so I think it was the chef that carried our luggage upstairs for us.  They also prepared the continental breakfast early for us since we planned on leaving early.  The breakfast menu looked really delicious, so next time we will try not to leave so early.  I would have also liked to have afternoon tea on the terrace.

The Lake District is also an amazing area for camping.  If that’s more your style, check out the best campsite in the Lake District.

Our drive was a scenic tour of the Lake District along curvy roads.  The road that actually goes to the bridge is very steep and narrow.  At first, we questioned if it was a two way or one-way road, but while we were taking pictures of the Ashness bridge we did see a car go the other way.  I also saw the trailhead for a few hikes there.  We didn’t have time this trip, but I would love to do more hiking there.

Our Time in the Lake District Video

In summary, the Lake District was everything people had told me and more.  You can get more of the feel of the area from my video below.  I was really impressed by the natural beauty, plus I found the Lake District towns so charming.  My time there was just an introduction to the Lake District.  I would have really liked to have more time to explore some of the other areas, like Buttermere.  Well, we will just have to go back.  

Have you been to the Lake District? I would love to hear what you thought. I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Lake District as much as I did.

Anisa

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Expert Tips for Lake District Short Breaks

  • Plan some time for exploring, maybe a boat trip or some Lake District hiking.
  • Make sure to visit the best towns in the Lake District like Bowness, Ambleside, and Keswick.
  • Wear proper footwear.  I recommend waterproof shoes even on a sunny day.
  • Take the shuttle to and from the boat to save your feet for the scenic walks.
  • Make sure you have detailed directions for the Lake District walk that you want to do.
  • The Ryebeck is a great place to stay in the Lake District.  Click here to check availability and rates at the Ryebeck.

Disclosure: No financial compensation was received, but we were guests of the Windermere Lake Cruises.  As always, opinions expressed here are my own.

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