I love spending time in the Lake District, there are not enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe the scenery particularly when visiting in autumn when you get to see the leaves on the trees turning golden and orange against the backdrop of the lush green hills.A few of the highlights on this trip were.
1. Hill Top - Beatrix Potter's 17th-century farmhouse
I have always loved Beatrix Potter books (and still do) but for some reason have never visited Hill Top before. On entering you are greeted with a lovely cottage garden which is a glorious mix of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables. The Cottage itself is tiny but delightful (particularly if you're a fan of a good old open roaring fire). It has been maintained well and still contains most of the original furniture, along with hand written letters and some wonderful art pieces. She bought the house from the sale of her first book, Peter Rabbit. When she married William Heelis they bought another farm nearby where they lived and she kept Hill Top as her place to work. When she died Beatrix Potter left 4000 acres of land to the National Trust, including 14 farms, cottages and many local areas of beauty including Tarn Hows to ensure the Lakeland Countryside would be maintained.
I have visited and walked around Coniston village and lake numerous times growing up but, only on this trip did I fully appreciated the beauty. We started with lunch (and a good old English pint) in a traditional Lakeland pub (it actually warm enough to sit outside!) before putting on the faithful walking boots and heading out for a walk. Coniston Water is one of the largest lakes at around 5 miles (8 km) long. It was a very serene and peaceful walk all be it with a few wrong turns on the way. Keep your eye out on) for the Rebuilt Victorian steam-powered yacht. The Gondola, is the oldest steam yacht in the North of England and was originally built in 1859 and refurbished in the 1970s by The National Trust. You can take a trip on the Gondola and float back in time to enjoy Coniston as wealthy Victorians once did, travelling in style in Gondola's opulent saloons or relaxing on her open-air decks.
Whilst staying in the Lakes I was based in Bowness on Windermere which sits on the edge of England's largest lake from here you can walk along Windermere lakeside and enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and mountains. It is one of the most popular lakes and you can take numerous types of boats out on the lake or take a lake cruise over to Ambleside which is set amongst breath-taking majestic mountains and gentle rolling fells, this distinctive and very attractive Lakeland village it is a popular point to leave the vessel before returning on a later boat. One of the distinctive things about Windermere lake is the amount of Swans that can be found on the lake side. You can feed them but be warned..they are greedy and don't let anything get in the way of their food (I may have ran away from them to have my coffee in peace!)
For some reason that I have yet to fathom it has taken until now for me to taste a Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding (if you have never heard of Sticky Toffee Pudding sit is a British steamed dessert consisting of a very moist sponge cake, made with finely chopped dates, covered in a toffee sauce). I can honestly say that after a full day of walking, finishing off a meal with this warm tasty pudding was almost heavenly. If you are ever in the Lake District I can heartily recommend this dessert!! The other thing I had never tried was the famous Sarah Nelson's Celebrated Grasmere Gingerbread Sarah's Grasmere Gingerbread became renowned in the 1900s and originally she wrapped it up in pure vegetable parchment printed "None Genuine Without Trade Mark". It was that popular that she ever had the recipe locked away in the local bank vault! I can again heartily recommend this a slice of Gingerbread with a good old fashioned English cup of tea!
By Kim Hardiker, GBT Team Member
Date: 2016-09-14 06:03:28