Voted the Top UK destination in the Wanderlust Readers’ Travel Awards 2014, we explore the most romantic corners of the Lake District
When it comes to honeymoons, couples retreats and romance, most people don't typically think of Cumbria. But, as it turns out, you travellers LOVE the Lake District. Our sister site and magazine, www.wanderlust.co.uk, received thousands of entries to this year's Readers' Travel Awards and amid the many categories, the Lakes clinched the 'Top UK destination' accolade.
Here's a flavour of the most romantic things to do in this award-winning national park…
Recall distant memories of a bygone era aboard the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. The nostalgic steam ride runs between Haverthwaite station and Lakeside Pier, with steamboats onto Bowness or Ambleside, taking in rolling hills and historic stop-offs, reminiscent of a chapter from The Railway Children. Adult tickets start from £6.50 return.
Take a page from the most romantic movie ever, The Notebook, and hire a boat on Lake Windermere. This way, you can experience the tranquility and beautiful surrounds of the largest natural lake in England at your own pace, with only your loved one for company. Windermere Lake Cruises offers rowing boat rentals from £13.
Walking in the Lake District is a truly majestic experience. Phoebe Smith, editor of Wanderlust explored the region of Elterwater on foot and by bike with her partner Neil. "The Langdale Valley was perfectly framed by overhanging tree branches, the hulking spikes of the granite Langdale Pikes peeking over the water's edge in the distance," she describes. "The air smelt of wet grass as the wind whipped the clouds into dramatic grey curtains…" For the full feature, pick up a copy of the April edition of Wanderlust, on sale now.
Whether you fancy a tandem or cycling side-by-side, Keswick is the ideal spot for a couples' bike ride. It offers dramatic landscapes, ancient bridges, abundant trails and off-road tracks. If you're both seeking a long-distance challenge, it's also part of the Coast to Coast cycle route, which transports you from the western coast of Cumbria to the north-east coast of Northumbria.
Share your childhood memories with your partner as you unravel the world of Beatrix Potter. The legendary children's author - best known for Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck and friends - spent much of her childhood in the Lake District. Hill Top, a 17th century farmhouse near Sawrey, is a time capsule of the writer's life and as you wander the site you can see the historic rooms and haphazard gardens that inspired her many tales. Entry (with Gift Aid) is £10 for adults, £5 for children.
Even if you haven't got a sweet tooth, a visit to the beautiful village of Grasmere is a must. Its renowned gingerbread shop - owned by the Wilson family for 45 years - is just north of Lake Windermere. The intoxicating aroma of freshly baked gingerbread will greet you and your partner as your enter the shop.
This tasty treat has become so famous that its recipe is kept under strict lock and key at the National Westminster Bank in Ambleside.
If you and your partner love animals and marine-life, the Lakes Aquarium - on the banks of Windermere - is the place for you. For just £6.95 each, you can watch otters being fed, explore artificial rock pools and get hands-on with reptiles and creepy crawlies.
There are few things more romantic than the captivating ascent of a balloon ride. With a glass of fizz in one hand and your partners fingers entwined with the other, you can experience the magnificent mountains and valleys of the Lake District from a whole new perspective. Take the journey with Pendle & Cumbria Balloon Flights and you'll see rugged peaks, the infamous Pendle Hill and of course, the Lakes themselves. Prices start from £129p/p.
Where to stay? For a bit of rustic romance, try The Farmhouse (sleeps six) or the Angel Barn (sleeps eight), both self-catering cottages at A Corner of Eden in Ravenstonedale. Prices start from £585 for a three-night weekend. For a cheaper alternative, try Barney's Cottage in Ambleside from £72p/n.
Image: Neil S Price
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