The Lake District in Cumbria, attracts over 16 million visitors a year who come to explore its scenic towns and villages.
Windermere is a great place to base yourself if you plan to travel around the Lake District, and there are a wide choice of spa hotels in Windermere, lake side boutique hotels and guest houses to suit all tastes and budgets.
Windermere is a beautiful location if you are planning a special celebration or a romantic weekend, and many couples choose to book their wedding or honeymoon close to the lake.
Windermere first became known as a ´tourist resort´ when wealthy Victorians began spending weekends and leisure time in the region. They believed that the fresh mountain air was beneficial to their health, and many bought properties in the area – many of which still stand today.
Over the years the small town has merged with Bowness-on-Windermere, even though both places have completely separate centres.
Visitors can catch a train or bus from Windermere Station to most towns in the surrounding area, and the Lakes line connects with Oxenholme, for interchange with the West Coast Main Line.
Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre is situated in Bowness, and offers plenty of attractions for all ages.
The town is also home to a great choice of restaurants, country pubs, serving real ales and home-made Cumbrian cuisine. The famous Windermere Steamers at Bowness Bay operate the full length of Windermere.
A short walk from Windermere is Orrest Head, with its stunning views over the lake. This was the first summit in Lakeland visited by famous walker and local writer, Alfred Wainwright.
Ravenglass is a small hamlet which lies on the estuary of three rivers – the Esk, the Mite and the Irt and is most famous for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway.
The railway was formerly used to bring iron ore, granite and copper ore from mines near Boot, which is 7 miles away, and is now a major tourist attraction.
Still the same tiny village which was so loved by local author and poet, William Wordsworth, Hawkshead has changed little since the late 1800´s.
Cars are still banned from the village and visitors have to park on the outskirts. Although tourism is now the main industry in the village – Hawkshead Grammar was where Wordsworth went to school – the traditional inns, tea rooms and gift shops retain their original charm.
The Old Grammar School was founded in 1585 by the Archbishop of York, Edwin Sandys, and the ground floor classroom still exhibits the original desks from Wordsworth´s time there – many of which are covered in carvings by the boys.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead is situated in the former office of solicitor, William Heelis who married Potter in 1913, and remains largely unchanged since then.
Grasmere is one of the most visited villages in the Lake District, thanks mainly to Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
The village offers a wide choice of gift shops, restaurants, cafés, tea rooms and pubs, and possibly one of the most famous gingerbread shops in the world, situated at the entrance to St Oswald´s Church.
Most of the houses, shops and hostelries date back to the 19th and early 20th century, and the surrounding farms are even older. The village church dates back to the 13th Century.
William Wordsworth and his much loved sister Dorothy moved into Dove Cottage in 1799 and left in 1808 for larger premises at Allen Bank. They lived here for two years with fellow poet, Samuel Coleridge, moving to the Old Rectory, then Rydal Mount in 1813.
William died in 1850 while out walking, and his simple tombstone can be seen in the churchyard of St Oswald´s Church. A piece of land between the church and the river has also been renovated and turned into a place of peace called the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden, where visitors can purchase a share and have an engraved stone set in the path.
If you are looking for somewhere special to stay in the Lake District why not book a spa hotel in Windermere and enjoy pampering beauty treatments and luxury hot tub rooms.