"The Lake District is famous for some of the country's most satisfying walks, set against a backdrop of stunning scenery."
The Lake District is famous for some of the country's most satisfying walks, set against a backdrop of stunning scenery. But, if more gentle sightseeing is your thing, here are four places to stay where you can kick back and relax.
Stop 1 : Ulverston
Ulverston is a picturesque market town nestled snugly between the mountains of the Lake District and Morecambe Bay. The town is famous as the birthplace of Stan Laurel of Laurel and Hardy - and a statue of the comedians was unveiled earlier this year in the town centre. On your way around be sure to visit 'gastro café' The Hot Mango Café on King Street for a bite to eat. If you're feeling like enjoying a spot of culture, on 1 August, the Northern Chamber Orchestra will be performing a selection of composer Joseph Haydn's greatest works in the town's Coronation Hall, conducted by Denis McCaldin, president of the Haydn Society. Stay at The Bay Horse Hotel, named 2009's Cumbrian Inn of the year, for beautiful views of the sands and estuary.
Stop 2 : Kendal
Another Lake District destination always worth a visit is the town of Kendal, which, funnily enough, is the home of Kendal Mint Cake. There's plenty to do and see around the town this summer, but the highlight has to be on September 11 when the Kendal Torchlight Carnival celebrates its 40th anniversary. This free family event includes street entertainers and a trip down memory lane with plenty of classic cars, bikes and steam engines on display. There are even costumed riders and moonlight mazes on offer. For a picturesque, low-key stay, try Bridge House B&B. The listed Georgian building is a former station master's house, built around 1840. It specialises in home-made bread and preserves and a full English breakfast is served every morning.
Stop 3 : Windermere
If you fancy something more active then Windermere might be the place for you to undertake Lake Windermere's Great North Swim on 12-13 September. This year, more than 5,500 people have signed up to swim in England's largest lake. The one-mile open water course is set against the stunning backdrop of the Lake District National Park, so it's a pretty special day out, even if you just watch the competition pan out from the comfort of your hotel room. The Holbeck Ghyll Country House Hotel, which is celebrated as one of the Lake District's finest hotels, has a Michelin-starred restaurant, celebrity connections, (Renée Zellweger stayed there during the filming of Miss Potter in 2006) and stunning views of the lake - truly the place to go if you want luxurious surroundings.
Stop 4 : Penrith
No trip to the Lakes would be complete without a visit to Penrith for the stunning scenery surrounding Penrith Castle. The area is also famous for its connection to the poet William Wordsworth - his grandfather owned a house on Devonshire Street, which is now a shop, and he and his sister attended The Dame Anne Birkett School, which is still standing today. For a change of pace, head over to the Taste! Food Hall at the Rheged Centre in Redhills for a showcase of British food, including fresh and smoked meats, cheeses, chutneys and seasonal fruit and vegetables.
If silence and privacy sound like your idea of heaven, The Bower House in Morland, near Penrith is a must. This newly-converted, luxury holiday cottage is set in the beautiful Eden Valley. Built from local limestone and sandstone, the cottage boasts a huge picture window looking out over the Pennines. Incredibly peaceful, this is the perfect way to escape the rat race for a few days for a spot of R&R.