In my little room in Russia I am constantly dreaming of mountains, so I was very excited to find Amanda’s Blog about ‘expat life’ in the Lake District, one of my favorite areas in the UK. Her Blog follows the transition from American to British life, and details her adventures in her new home, much like mine! In this guest blog, Amanda introduces us to this amazing area, and gives us some tips of where we should visit.
I hadn’t heard of the Lake District National Park in England before my boyfriend and I were deciding to move here from the United States, but since our first house hunting visit I’ve fallen in love with the craggy rolling mountains, the clear and frigid lakes and the small towns dotting the mountains and valleys. I enjoy venturing out to pubs in town that serve real ale from local breweries (yes, it’s an acquired taste, but I’m getting there) and weekly markets selling produce and meat. On a clear day there is nothing more beautiful than a walk or drive through the high fells (mountains). I love that the public footpaths are still maintained, giving access to everyone to hiking trails that meander the hills and mountains, often cutting through private farmland shared with sheep, cows and the occasional bull.
To date, my favorite site in the lakes is the Keswick Stone Circle. It is a neolithic stone circle, and while there are many of these in England, this one sits on top of a hill and the view of the surrounding peaks combined with the stones is incredible. You can hike or drive to the top, and parking is free. After visiting the stone circle, the town of Keswick is worth stopping in. The town itself is charming and fun to wander, with plenty of places to grab a pint or a hot meal.
Windermere is one of the more touristy towns in the Lake District, because of its accessibility, but it is still worth visiting. From Windermere, Orrest Head is an easily accessed viewing point. You can walk straight up from the Windermere rail/bus station and are presented with a beautiful view of Lake Windermere, often covered in sailboats and tour boats below. Although from what I’ve heard it is a bit too cold for swimming, you can still enjoy the view. There is also a weekly Parkrun on the shores of Lake Windermere, at Fell Foot Park. It is not paved (well, maybe with sheep droppings…) but fairly flat and fast.
Ambleside, at the north end of Lake Windermere, is another town worth wandering to; its crooked streets are filled with slate buildings stocked with more outdoor shops, pubs and tea rooms than I thought possible for a small town. Just outside of town there is an easy (but muddy) hike to a double waterfall. After a rainy hike, as that is often the case here, there is nothing better than ducking into a cozy tea room or pub for a warm bite to eat. And don’t worry, in most places you won’t be underdressed in hiking gear.
The outdoorsy mindset of the lakes is something I definitely enjoy. There are always people cycling, running or walking in the fells, and they’re generally happy to offer a recommendation for a good hike or a good pint. I’m looking forward to a full summer here in the Lakes and taking on some of the high peaks and finding new places to enjoy.