The Lake District is England's largest national park, comprising some 885 square miles of scenic countryside. The Lakeland fells provide a dramatic backdrop to mountain tarns and sparkling lakes that have inspired poets, authors and artists throughout the centuries, including William Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter. In 2017 the Lake District National Park was recognised as a Unesco World Heritage site for its unique hill farming culture.
Mill Brow Cottage is located at Skelwith Bridge, between Ambleside and Coniston. There are some lovely scenic walks available from the door. A walk around Loughrigg Tarn would take about an hour and would make a nice evening stroll from the cottage. You can also walk over Red Bank, either onto Loughrigg Terrace and round to Rydal or down into Grasmere.
There's a scenic walk you can do from Skelwith through the meadows and along the banks of the River Brathay to Elterwater village. Or if you fancy a walk into Ambleside you can go over Loughrigg Fell via Ivy Cragg.
If you're looking to eat locally the Talbot Bar at the Skelwith Bridge Hotel serves good pub food. There is also a vegetarian cafe at Chesters by the River serving lunch, drinks and home-made cakes. The contemporary shop has the latest in home & fashion accessories, furniture and furnishings and design led giftware from all over the world.
Ambleside is a bustling tourist resort only 2.5 miles away, where you will find many interesting tourist attractions, including the famous Bridge House, a tiny 17th century building that spans Stock Ghyll and the Armitt Museum, as well as many gift shops, cafes and restaurants. There is also Zeffirellis cinema and music venue which also boasts an award-winning vegetarian restaurant, cafe and Jazz bar. Ambleside is surrounded by dramatic Lakeland scenery including the dramatic 70ft Stock Ghyll Force waterfall, which is only a short walk from the centre of the town. You can find out more about Ambleside at AmblesideOnline.
Windermere in the southern Lake District is the largest lake in England and is a popular tourist destination. Bowness-on-Windermere is always a hub of activity on the east side of the lake. From here you can book a cruise to Ambleside at the northern tip or Lakeside down on the west side near Newby Bridge.
Windermere village is just up the hill from Bowness and both have shopping centres with antique shops, gift shops, cafes etc and plenty of attractions for the visitor. For the kids you won't want to miss a visit to the World of Beatrix Potter where they can meet all their favourite characters including Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Jemima Puddleduck and Peter Rabbit.
On the western shore of Lake Windermere another popular attraction is the National Trust's Wray Castle, a mock castle built by a wealthy industrialist in 1840. Both the house and the grounds are worth a visit and there is an excellent cafe with great views.
Hawkshead is a delightful little village full of character and charm, with, for its size, a surprising range of tourist attractions including a 17th century elevated church with fine views across Esthwaite water to Latterbarrow and a Beatrix Potter gallery, owned by the National Trust, featuring exhibitions of Beatrix Potter's original artwork and drawings. If you enjoy shopping there's plenty to choose from, with outdoor clothing and equipment stores, or several quality gift shops with local crafts and produce. There is also a choice selection of tea rooms, cafés and pubs serving everything from tasty snacks to fine meals.
The village of Coniston is situated at the northern tip of Coniston water, famous for Donald Campbell's speed record attempts in Bluebird, and nestles in the shadow of the Old Man of Coniston. The road on the east side of the lake, which is very narrow in places, passes Brantwood, former home of John Ruskin. The cafe at Brantwood has a terrace with spectacular views over the lake.
Heading towards Keswick from Ambleside is the popular village of Grasmere, where you can visit Dove Cottage, former home of William Wordsworth. Grasmere is also home to the famous Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread Shop. The village has plenty of gift shops and places to eat and a 13th century church. It's just a short walk to the Lake, a jewel of a lake with a small privately-owned island that was much loved by Wordsworth.
Keswick is a market town in the northern Lake District and is overlooked by mighty Skiddaw, the sixth highest mountain in England and the most ancient of the Lakeland fells. The town is a popular destination for outdoor activities and adventures, from fell walking and ghyll scrambling to water sports at the Derwentwater marina. There's a lovely gentle and very scenic walk around the Lake with stunning views and cafes along the way where you can stop for refreshments. On the edge of Keswick is the Theatre by the Lake, which hosts a range of events including the Keswick Mountain Festival. Also not to be missed is the Castlerigg Stone Circle, which is just outside Keswick on a spectacular plateau surrounded by mountains.
Ullswater can be approached via the Kirkstone Pass, the Lake District's highest pass, from Ambleside by ascending a steep road famously known as the 'Struggle'! The Inn at the top of the Pass is England's third highest pub. Ullswater is England's second largest lake and one of the prettiest. At the village of Glenridding at the foot of the lake you can book a ride on one of the Ullswater steamers, or hire boats, canoes and kayaks at the Sailing centre.
Grizedale Forest, with its famous forest sculptures, countless mountain bike trails and forest walks, and the Go Ape high wire forest adventure is well worth a visit. At the Grizedale Visitor Centre there's plenty to do and see with an ongoing exhibition, tourist shop, adventure playground and tea room. It is also a good starting point for some of the fabulous forest walks in the area. You can find more information about the award-winning Grizedale sculptures and the artists at the Grizedale Forest website.