Rydal Mount featuring an administrative building and flowers

Encounter lakes and mountains engrained in literary classics and visit the cultural peaks of Carlisle in this picturesque county.

The natural beauty of Cumbria has inspired some of England’s best writing. Literary masters including poet William Wordsworth and children’s author Beatrix Potter used as their muses the stunning glacial valleys, mountains and wildlife of the Lake District. Travel through various quaint villages such as Ambleside, Keswick and Coniston for their individual quirks and eccentricities.

Lake District National Park has a large network of footpaths extending past lakes and mountains. Visit the largest lake in England, Windermere, which is 11 miles (17 kilometers) long. Rent boats to visit the islands and lakeside villages, such as the charming Bowness-on-Windermere. On the northern shore is Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, which has intriguing exhibits and nature trails.

From the center, drive north about 20 minutes to reach Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Learn about one of England’s most beloved poets, William Wordsworth, at his former house. Go to the Wordsworth Museum to complement your poet-themed trip. Walk east through the scenic countryside to get to his next home, Rydal Mount and Gardens. Kids might prefer the The World of Beatrix Potter™ Attraction and its rooms depicting tales from her classics, such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Carlisle is just north of the Lake District. Visit the Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery, housed in a converted 17th-ceuntury Jacobean mansion. Peruse the exhibits on human history, including artifacts from Hadrian’s Wall and Roman forts. See the Gothic windows and stone carvings of the extraordinary Carlisle Cathedral.

Cumbria is among England’s wettest areas, although the climate varies across the vast county. Expect strong winds nearer the coast and rain in the mountains. Snow covers parts of the Lake District in winter.

The county occupies a vast area in the northwestern part of England on the border with Scotland. Drive northwest from London for 300 miles (480 kilometers) to get here. Ride a train from the nation’s capital in about 4 hours.

Cumbria brings literature to life among spectacular forces of nature that decorate England’s largest national park.

Popular cities in Cumbria

Ambleside featuring night scenes, a small town or village and street scenes
Known for Lakes, Spas and Walking
This picturesque English town is an ideal base for exploring Lake Windermere and the spectacular Lake District National Park.

Reasons to visit

  • Rydal Mount
  • Ambleside Pier
  • Dove Cottage
Keswick showing markets and street scenes as well as a large group of people
Known for Friendly people, Lakes and Hills
Peruse quaint shops and cafés, learn about the Lake Poets and rent a boat in this quaint market town.

Reasons to visit

  • Derwentwater
  • Hope Park
Windermere which includes café lifestyle, heritage architecture and signage
Known for Lakes, Spas and Ferries and boats
Ride a boat around the islands of this scenic lake and visit the charming villages where some of England’s greatest writers lived.

Reasons to visit

  • Brockhole - the Lake District Visitor Centre
  • World of Beatrix Potter