We all have to put up with January and February – the cold, the long dark evenings. No wonder they’re generally considered to be the two least appealing months of the year in the UK. But March to May breathes new life into the landscape, a time when the Lake District National Park truly comes alive again. Stunning green landscapes return, daffodils, bluebells, fields dotted with new-born lambs frolicking in the sunshine. Lakes shimmering under cloudless skies. And pretty villages and historic towns once again teem with life.
Spring in the Lake District. Is there anywhere you’d rather be?
If you’re visiting the Lake District this Spring, what have you got planned? If you’re unsure, hopefully we can provide a little inspiration. From fell-walking to canoeing, pencils to arts and crafts, here are a few of our favourite things to do.
Explore the landscape
ithout a doubt, the Lake District landscape is one of the most beautiful in the world. So get out and explore. Wherever you are in the National Park, you’ll be mesmorised by the scenery on your doorstep. And it doesn’t have to be challenging. Some of the most beautiful spots, such as Tarn Hows, Buttermere or The Langdales are all accessible and offer some fantastic walks – no crampons required!
If you fancy seeing the landscape from an entirely different angle, get out on a lake. Windermere Lake Cruises operates throughout the year and will ferry you from the top of England’s largest lake right down to Lakeside at its southern tip.
Or hop aboard the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water for a chance to see and learn about this famous lake, renowned for water speed records.
Celebrating over 160 years of operating cruises on one of England’s most beautiful lakes, Ullswater Steamers operates one of the largest heritage boat fleets in the world. And in the springtime, you’ll be able to see Wordworth’s iconic daffodils on the western shore.
Of course, if you want something a little more intimate, or challenging, why not hire your own boat? Windermere Lake Cruises also offers self-drive motor boat hire, while Windermere Canoe Kayak hires out canoes and kayaks, or even stand-up paddle boards – what better way to explore the islands and hidden coves on the lake, a chance for a quiet picnic and even a quick dip.
If you ask someone to name flowers associated with the Lake District, chances are they’d say daffodils, thanks to William Wordsworth and his famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.
The most likely spot for the original daffodils which inspired his poem is Glencoyne Bay on Ullswater – certainly worth a visit if you’re in the area. Other notable places to visit to see these beautiful, trumpet-like blooms are Dora’s Field in Rydal, Brigsteer Woods (and Sizergh Castle) and Lowther Castle near Penrith.
Dora’s Field lies adjacent to St. Mary’s Church in Rydal and was bought by William Wordsworth in 1826 with a view to building a house there. He eventually gifted the field to his daughter, Dora, who sadly passed away aged 43 in 1847. To honour her memory, William Wordsworth planted hundereds of daffodil bulbs in the field which are still prevalent today, overseen by the watchful eye of the National Trust.
Brigsteer Woods and Sizergh Castle boast spectacular daffodil displays in the spring. In fact, the daffodil displays in Brigsteer Woods are particularly special, as it’s here you’ll find native blooms. Nearby is the National Trust property, Sizergh Castle, with its beautiful, landscaped gardens, awash with colour in the Spring thanks to countless blooms, including daffodils.
Ten years ago, a new world record was set at Lowther Castle, near Penrith, where volunteers planted 106,528 daffodil bulbs in just three hours. The result is a mile-long border of golden daffodils, a truly spectacular sight. And if you’re really lucky, you might even spot a red squirrel.
Pencils, cars and Peter Rabbit
They do say that “there is no such thing as bad weather, just inadequate clothing”. But sometimes, when the rain is coming down so hard it seems it will never end (spoiler alert – we do get a little rain in the Lake District), a trip to one of the many amazing visitor attractions or museums in the region is a must.
Whoever would have thought you could have a museum dedicated to the humble pencil? That’s exactly what the Pencil Museum in Keswick does. It’s home to the first pencil and the Cumberland Pencil Company. You enter the museum through a replica of Seathwaite Minewhere graphite was first discovered was back in the 1550’s. This is a journey of pencil and graphite discovery and proof that there’s more to the humble pencil than you think.
The Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow is another fantastic attraction, a unique collection of over 30,000 exhibits including cars, motorbikes and automobilia. This is a trip through automotive history and we guarantee that there will be something in the collection that will evoke feelings of nostalgia, be it a car, bike or toy. There’s also a wonderful exhibition charting the story of Malcolm and Donald Campbell and their pursuit of land and water speed records.
Finally, for those with younger children, a trip to The World of Beatrix Potter in the heart of Bowness is an absolute must, a chance to see all of Beatrix Potter’s well-known characters brought so enchantingly to life. Step into Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade before continuing through the pages of these much-loved books. And before you leave, visit the world-famous shop and take a piece of Beatrix Potter magic home with you.
This is just a snapshot of what you can do this Spring in the Lake District. For the more adventurous there’s the Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine, or mountain bike trails through Grizedale Forest. If it’s food you’re after, you’ll be in for a treat, with an array of amazing eateries spread across the region. But more of them another time.
For now, let’s embrace Spring. How we look forward to the National Park waking from its winter slumber, showing off its sights, colours and smells. The return of the wildlife, swallows drifting on the breeze, wild garlic and wood sorrel carpeting the woodlands, lambs playing in the low-lying pastures.
This is our favourite time of year and we may well be biased, but we’re not sure anywhere does springtime like the Lake District does springtime.
Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Ground Estate Company Limited, which has a number of Lake District holiday cottages, including Birkdale House. Birkdale House is a luxury Victorian residence at the heart of a privately owned estate in the English Lake District.
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