Lake District travel diary
Brewster Scholarship 2018 Travel Diary – Meng-Jung Li, DPhil Inorganic Chemistry 2014
The Lake District, England’s largest National Park, is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in England. It is located in the northwest of England and has many lakes (about a number of 16) in this area, that is the name of the Lake District comes from. Maybe for many people, traveling to the Lake District need a bit more preparation than the other UK cities, because the public transportation there is not so convenient. Nevertheless, the Lake District is highly favoured by those who are fond of nature. The gentle and smooth mountain roads in the Lake District attract many hikers and campers coming from different places around the world. Not to mention all the breath-taking attractions also acting as great places for family holidays. Upon receiving the Brewster Award, I decided to spend some quality time with my family there.
Having a short 3-day-trip planned, we focused mainly on the sightseeing spots in the south part of the Lake District, and our trip began at Windermere, also known as the entrance of the Lake District. We walked around Windermere for a while, enjoyed the fresh air and stretched our legs after suffering more than 4 hours sitting down in the train. Windermere is a small town but is packed of shops, cafés and restaurants. We then decided to have a quick lunch at Booth, a relatively big chain supermarket in Northern England, which is also a great place to pick up some snacks before we set off to our adventure.
Then we took bus to our next destination, Bowness-on-Windermere. It is worth mentioning that travelling around the Lake District by bus is slow, but it is a very economical way as the bus ticket is not so expensive and we got a very good deal buying a day-explorer-ticket. After checking in at our B&B, we set off towards the lakeside. Similar to what we have experienced in Windermere, we saw lots of gift shops, cafés, restaurants, tea rooms, and pubs, on the main street of Bowness-on-Windermere. One of the main attractions of Bowness-on-Windermere is the ferry. And the route from Bowness-on-Windermere to Ambleside is the most popular ferry trip. After wondering around the lakeshore, we did not take the ferry trip as it was getting a bit dark when we arrived the town. However, my son did have a lot of fun playing with swans and ducks by the lake. After seeing beautiful sunset at the waterfront, we decided to call it a day and headed back to our B&B for dinner. After a great start of the trip, we fall into bed very quickly.
On the next day, after having a traditional English breakfast at the B&B, we paid a short visit to Hawkshead, a picture-postcard village with whitewashed cottages and cobbled streets, before we headed to another beautiful town, Ambleside. Ambleside is a town in the north of Lake Windermere. Interestingly, the town is packed with outdoors shops, perhaps due to many hiking trails nearby. We walked across the town and reached the Bridge House in Ambleside, which is one of the most iconic buildings in the Lake District. Bridge House is small, so we only spent few minutes to visit and took some photographs in front of it. Then we continued to stroll around the town of Ambleside. It’s beautiful and scenic everywhere. I like these towns full of peaceful, tranquil, and breath-taking sceneries with narrow road winding between historical buildings. My son was really excited when we spotted some waterwheels spinning by the houses along the river.
After lunch, we headed to Troutbeck, where we stayed in an B&B having a great location and good views of local hills, for our second night in the Lake District. Troutbeck is a relatively old-fashioned village along the long-established, narrow and hilly coach road between Windermere and Penrith. We had a walk started from Troutbeck village. Along the village road, we passed the barns and some interesting houses then we decided to pop into the Old Post Office for some refreshments. The Old Post Office is a pretty tea room offering a good selection of cakes and food. We enjoyed a really nice afternoon tea and left the place just before it closed for the day.
On the third day, we went back to Windermere and spent some good time exploring the town before we hopped on the train back to Oxford. I had a restful break and enjoyed time with my family in Lake District. As travelling with a young kid, we did not plan a busy schedule. During the trip, we took our time and slowed down our pace as we wish, so as to enjoy as much as the relaxing moments in those beautiful and historical towns in the North West England.
For anyone travelling through the Lake District National Park, here are some advices and tips: 1) The stunning landscape and the beautiful lakes make the Lake District the perfect place for getting outside, going for a walk and enjoying the fresh air and breath-taking views. 2) Taste some local food and drink, and also must spend an afternoon relaxing in a lovely old-fashioned tea room. 3) Visit some of the towns and villages throughout the National Park. Make sure not to miss out on the historical narrow roads winding between charming old buildings. Don’t forget to stop and enjoy at the beautiful lakeside and waterfront, and the local gift shops are great places to visit, too.
It was a great fun traveling around the Lake District, and I must end this diary with acknowledgement to University College and all those who have contributed to the Brewster Award and make this trip happened. This trip was the perfect opportunity and wonderful experience to me and my family.