It has been said: “you may leave the Lake District, but once you’ve been, it’ll never leave you.” This is sure to resonate with those who have stood atop Hellvellyn or watched the sun skirt across Buttermere. If you haven’t been, a trip to one of Britain’s most famous national parks is likely on your bucket list.
These are most definitely unusual times for us all. Restrictions on travel have changed everyone’s plans but we know that these changes are only temporary. Whether you are yearning to return or yet to see The Lakes for yourself, we have compiled a virtual Lake District experience that you can enjoy at home.
While not the same as being present in the natural splendour of The Lakes, we hope it provides a pleasant escape to the Cumbrian countryside and stirs up anticipation for when you can experience the real deal.
Here is a roundup of 5 things you can do now to bring the Lake District to your home.
#1 | TRY CUMBRIAN CHEESE
Cumbria has a rich heritage in farming, which has shaped both the communities and the landscape of the Lake District for centuries.
Herdwick Sheep are native to the Lake District. Known for being the hardiest of sheep and famed for their wool, they were once bred by children’s author Beatrix Potter. Fast forward to today, and many inventive Cumbrian farmers are using the ewes’ milk to produce fantastic cheeses.
The Cheese Deli in Keswick has a large variety of artisan cheeses available to try, also suitable for any allergy suffers. Try a Cumbrian classic – Eden Ivory – a creamy cheese made with ewes’ milk. Other favourites include the Black Dub Blue or Cumberland Farmhouse. There are over 90 different choices of cheese and these are available in a variety of stay at home selection boxes.
Experience the Lake District with your taste buds, try some Cumbrian cheese, perfect for any occasion, meal or snack – visit the Keswick Cheese Deli here.
#2 | A TIPPLE FROM THE LAKES DISTILLERY
A Classic Gin from the Lakes Distillery (Image: The Lakes Distillery Website)
If ever you could distil the essence of a landscape into a glass. Lovers of craft spirits, The Lakes Distillery is one to watch. This creative whisky distillery sits on the banks of the River Derwent. Among spectacular scenery, they create a mouthwatering collection of spirits that speak to the wild beauty around them. Their ethos draws upon the mesmerising power of nature, presented perfectly by Alfred Wainwright:
“”It was a moment of magic, a revelation so unexpected that I stood transfixed… I had seen landscapes of rural beauty pictured in the local art gallery, but here was no painted canvas; this was real. This was truth.”
The Lakes Distillery make a collection of Whiskies, Gins and Vodka spirits. Great on ice or in a cocktail of your choice, enjoy a tipple whilst looking forward to your next visit.
#3 | SARAH NELSON'S GRASMERE GINGERBREAD
Famous Grasmere Gingerbread from Sarah Nelson (Image: Grasmere Gingerbread Shop Website)
In our own village of Grasmere is the legend of Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread. First baked in 1854 in her then home, Church Cottage, now The Grasmere Gingerbread shop, her gingerbread has become world renowned.
Attracting celebrities to the village such as Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Ade Edmondson and many more, Grasmere Gingerbread is a unique fusion between a biscuit and cake. The spicy sticky-sweet treat is as delicious stowed in your pocket for a mid-walk snack as it is eaten as an indulgent pudding at home.
To try only the best and original Grasmere Gingerbread, the sweetness of the Lake District, visit The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop here.
#4 | EXPRESSIVE ART FROM HEATON COOPER
It is a privilege to view the unbridled beauty of the Lake District. A land of towering fells and shimmering tarns. We pinch ourselves most days. These life-affirming sights can be brought into your own home thanks to the talented Heaton Cooper family.
Based in Grasmere, William Heaton Cooper established his home and gallery in 1938 from the funding of his book – Hills of Lakeland. Growing in fame over the years, the studio is now a prime destination to visit in Grasmere, displaying original paintings from family artists through the generations – many which can be purchased today.
#5 | THE WORDS OF WORDSWORTH
Embrace the Inspiration of The Lakes from Wordsworth (Image: Wordsworth Grasmere Website)
Words resist lockdown. They have their own dimensions. From a quiet corner of our homes, we can travel across space and time with a good book. Why not visit The Lakes? Lose yourself in the charming stories of Beatrix Potter or walk the fells with Alfred Wainwright.
Of course, it would be mad to mention literature in The Lakes without acknowledging one of Britain’s most famous poets, William Wordsworth.
Nestled in Grasmere, Wordsworth lived in Dove Cottage from 1799 until he moved to Rydal Mount in 1813. Famous for poems such as ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ and ‘The World is too much with us’, Wordworth was also instrumental in ushering the Romanticism era of poetry in England (read more here).
Visitors from all over the world come to Grasmere to see where Wordsworth kindled his inspiration and where many of his original manuscripts are still on display.
The Wordsworth Trust enable thousands of people to enjoy Wordsworth’s literature from their homes. The Wordsworth blog is a treasure chest of all things Wordsworth, something that will hopefully stir your desire to visit the Museum one day. For more information visit Wordsworth Grasmere here.
LOOK FORWARD TO VISITING THE LAKE DISTRICT
When this is all over and we are given the green light to travel, perhaps you would like the full experience? Rothay Garden is located in a beautiful bolthole in Grasmere, the perfect place to relax and explore the extravagant beauty of the Lake District. In the meantime, we wish you well on your virtual travels and hope to welcome you in person soon.