Sunday, July 10, 2011

Visiting Lake District

Apart from the must-sees and must-dos in England, Lake District is right up there. This is a mountainous region in North West England. We decided to spend two nights here in a small town called Windermere. We caught the early morning Virgin train from London Euston station at about 9.30 (prior reservations were done online) and after a three and half journey that includes one to two change-overs (depending on your train timings), we reached Windermere. Virgin trains are fast but that apart,  British railway is a lot like Indian Railways. Unreserved passengers occupy reserved seats, though they are polite and vacate them when the rightful occupants arrive. Yet the trains have many standees and people squat at the entry / exit points. The good part though was that some compartments have a cafe; you pick up food items from the shelves, tea/coffee/ available, pay for them at the counter and have them at your seat. Whilst going we were fortunate to have such cafe in our compartment. But whilst coming, I had to jump about four compartments in search for the nearest cafe, only to find a large group of youngsters squatted on the floor of the fifth, and I got dissuaded to go any further and returned hungry to my seat. Anyways, that is another story.

We arrived at Lake District at about 2 pm. Most of the Bed & Breakfast (B&B) / Inns / hotels in the Lake District have their check-in times at 2 pm, so we were shown our room at The Ravensworth. Lovely little Inn and very centrally located. Though we had asked for a room on the ground floor, the upper floor rooms have a better view. The hotel was very clean, its owners (Nick and Cheryl) were very helpful and courteous and will go out of their way to help and guide their patrons.

Lake District is dotted by beautiful scenery dotted with many lakes and small towns or villages and country side. We stayed at Windermere because that is the hub of Lake District and is also connected by the rest of England by  rail. The best part ofLake District (as with the rest of England) is that there are plenty of B&Bs / Inns everywhere. All you really need in the Lake District is a clean place to stay; there are ample of cafes and restaurants to suit your taste palette. Infact it seemed to me that Lake District has more B&Bs, hotels and restaurants than its own residents. But then, tourism is the main occupation of Lake District followed perhaps by professionals like doctors, lawyers, etc.

After checking in, we took a walk to Windermere town and had lunch at a cafe called The Lighthouse Cafe. Then, we too a boat ride on Bowness lake. Bowness is the lakeside town next to Windermere and is easily accessible by bus. That's another good thing in lake District. You can take a day's ticket of about 7 Pounds and take as many bus rides as you wish in a single day, that will take you around Windermere, Bowness and Grassmere, another beautiful town and Ambleside. If you go to lake district, you've got to take a boat ride. You can even walk to Bowness from Windermere.

The next day we took a day's tour by a tour company called Mountain Goat, supposed to be the best tour company in Lake District. They were good, but unfortunately the weather wasn't. What were supposed to be breathtaking views was marred by heavy fog that took us over the entire day. There was a half hour train ride part of the tour that we took which was quite enjoyable. The next day, we took the daily bus ticket and went to Grassmere by its public bus and spent the day there walking around the village. In the evening, we took the train back home and came to London.

Picture #1: Bowness lake on Windermere
Picture#2: Bowness town
Picture#3: The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

1 comment:

  1. I totally love this place and have to visit again this coming August holiday time with my family.


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