I've always thought that when it comes to quaint scenery the likes of which filled the pages of my illustrated fairy tale books as a child, nowhere comes close to England. If I was to go a step further, I'd say nowhere in England hits the hypothetical nail on the head quite like the Lakes District.
The north-eastern county of Cumbria where the Lakes District lies is the stuff of fairy tales. No, really... it was here that Beatrix Potter, having holidayed here as a child, set her beloved Peter Rabbit stories, and her chosen place of residence for the majority of her life. Between the scenery and the signs around every corner warning of badgers and red squirrels, the imagination doesn't have to stretch far for one to feel as though they are in fact walking through the pages of her books.
We stayed in the northern Lakes, not far from the town of Cockermouth, near Bassenthwaite Lake. We stayed in a small, self-contained studio which formed part of a farm house in the middle of nowhere. Courtesy of Airbnb, it came complete with a fire, a lush leather sofa, a gigantic free-standing bath tub and a top-notch selection of DVDs (Stand by Me just never gets old). I'm not ashamed to admit that in my limited time in the Lakes I enjoyed all of these offerings, and it was the perfect spot for a cold, crisp autumn retreat. Bonus, cell phone reception was a no-go, and WiFi was useless, so I barely touched my phone all weekend. Being this switched off made a two-night getaway feel much longer, and I came home feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated than I often do upon returning from a nine-day holiday in Europe.
Having such a comfortable spot in which to completely relax could have made it easy to spend the entire weekend snug up inside, but the call of the surrounding landscapes was just too loud to ignore.
I would detail our dining and exploring route as I recently did for our road trip around the Scottish Highlands, but there's really no need. Hit the road - any road - in this part of the country and you'll soon find yourself lost in incredible landscapes with pubs a-plenty. No plan is the best plan in the Lakes District, and you don't need to climb the famous peaks to experience the full might of this place's magic.
Do not be put off by the queues... the gingerbread shop in Grasmere is worth the wait.
Honister Pass - will the car make it?! (It did.)
A beautiful street in Grasmere
This house in Grasmere making a case for sun rooms
No cottage in these parts comes without a name above the door. This was one of my favourite in Keswick.
Watching the sun go down from the wharf in Keswick, on Derwent Water
Scenes one would only expect to casually see in this part of the world
Tell me this doesn't look like one of the home trees of some fairy tale woodland character (I won't believe you)
Sunlight mountains and autumn hues