Map of lakes in CumbriaSpring is the perfect time to see the incredible English countryside, and there’s nowhere better to witness this sublime natural beauty than in Cumbria. Famous as the home of the Lake District, a national park containing not only the famous lakes but also England’s highest mountains, and steeped in history – both real and literary – it’s no wonder that Cumbria is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.

With its incredibly diverse range of habitats from coastal marshlands to high mountain peaks, Cumbria has a spectacular amount of wildlife and is one of the best places in England for bird watching. There’s also a fantastic range of outdoor activities for all abilities so whether you’re into hiking, cycling, horse-riding or rock climbing there is something for everyone. Rock climbing can even be experienced at one of the indoor centres if the British weather is unaccommodating.

There are many ways to explore the Lake District, from cruises around the lakes –try the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water, it was the inspiration for Captain Flint’s houseboat in ‘Swallows and Amazons’ –to steam railways through the countryside, both of which are especially great for families with little ones who can’t walk too far.

Stay at…

Cumbria offers a wide range of accommodation for any budget, whether you’re looking for cosy lakeside cottages, luxury spa hotels or cheerful B&Bs. There is also a great selection of alternative accommodation within the National Park. Why not try glamping in the forest in traditional but stylish yurts, or hiring a VW Camper for the week?

Eat at…

The Two Michelin Star L’enclume in Cartmel was named ‘Best Restaurant’ in the UK by the Good Food Guide 2014, and is a must-visit for any foodie staying in Cumbria this year. The restaurant, owned by renowned chef Simon Rogan, uses only local ingredients and has its own 15 acre farm growing the fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers that create his exquisite dishes – all of which are picked hours before being served. Set in an idyllic riverside location, L’enclume is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion, and you can even stay over in one of their individually designed and furnished rooms.

Map of Hadrians Wall

Explore…

The Lake District
Obviously, the Lake District is at the top of this list, with its fantastic walking opportunities from gentle strolls to scrambling walks along high ridges – look into volunteer guided walks that will take you around the most popular walking trails and give you insider knowledge for free! The west shoreline of Lake Windermere makes a particularly spectacular location for a day-long wander.

Hadrian’s Wall
Stretching seventy-three miles across the north of England, from Newcastle to North West Cumbria, Hadrian’s Wall is the most important Roman monument in Britain. Dating back to the 120’s AD and still standing today, the wall is an incredible reminder of the capabilities of one of the world’s greatest empires.

Hill Top and The World of Beatrix Potter
Both make a great family attraction! Visit the home of the great children’s author and the setting of some of her original tales before becoming part of the tales themselves at the World of Beatrix Potter; an indoor recreation of Potter’s books that immerses visitors in her countryside, allowing children to stop for tea with Mrs Tiggywinkle, and explore Mr McGregor’s garden. The exhibit also gives an insight into the life of the author, how she was inspired by the nature around her and the contribution she made towards its preservation.

Hutton-in-the-Forest
Situated in the North East of the Lake District, Hutton-in-the-Forest is filled with rich history. The historic home of Lord and Lady Inglewood was originally a medieval stronghold, and has been altered and added to over time, making the resulting house a demonstration of architecture from the 17th century to the present day. The spectacular house and gardens are a museum of their past, housing fine collections of antiques belonging to the former inhabitants, which, legend has it include the Green Knight that Sir Gawain visited in the Arthurian Tale.

Don’t miss…

The Great Peter Rabbit Easter Egg Hunt 2014
This yearly event sees 50 handcrafted ceramic eggs hidden across the Lake District. Beginning on the 16th April, the hunt continues until all the eggs are found, and there are some incredible prizes to be won including stays at top Lake District hotels. If you’ll be in the area at the time and would like to enter it is simple; just download an Egg Hunt Map with clues by donating a minimum of £2 to WaterAid and get searching!

Planning your own trip to Cumbria? Let us know what has made it onto your ‘must see’ list!

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