The Lake District is the most popular National Park in the UK, with over 16 million visitors exploring its scenic villages and towns each year.
Windermere is a great place to base yourself if you plan to travel around the Lake District, and a wide choice of holiday cottages in Windermere are available to suit all tastes and budgets.
Windermere is a beautiful location if you are planning a special celebration or a ro-mantic weekend, and many couples choose to book their wedding or honeymoon close to the lake.
Windermere first became known as a ´tourist resort´ when wealthy Victorians began spending weekends and leisure time in the region. They believed that the fresh mountain air was beneficial to their health, and many bought properties in the area – many of which still stand today.
Over the years the small town has merged with Bowness-on-Windermere even though both places have completely separate centres.
The town is also home to a great choice of restaurants, country pubs, serving real ales and home-made Cumbrian cuisine. The famous Windermere Steamers at Bowness Bay operate the full length of Windermere. A short walk from Windermere is Orrest Head, with its stunning views over the lake. This was the first summit in Lakeland visited by famous walker and local writer, Alfred Wainwright.
Still the same tiny village which was so loved by local author and poet, William Wordsworth, Hawkshead has changed little since the late 1800´s.
Cars are still banned from the village and visitors have to park on the outskirts. Alt-hough tourism is now the main industry in the village – Hawkshead Grammar was where Wordsworth went to school – the traditional inns, tea rooms and gift shops retain their original charm.
The Old Grammar School was founded in 1585 by the Archbishop of York, Edwin Sandys, and the ground floor classroom still exhibits the original desks from Words-worth´s time there – many of which are covered in carvings by the boys.The Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead is situated in the former office of solicitor, William Heelis who married Potter in 1913, and remains largely unchanged since then.
The small hamlet of Buttermere is situated between the lakes of Buttermere and Crummock Water. Buttermere Lake is owned by the National Trust, and literally means ´the Lake by the dairy pastures.´
The story of the ´Buttermere Beauty´ is legendary in the Lakes. Mary Robinson, the stunning daughter of the Fish Hotel´s landlord, became known as the ´Beauty of But-termere.´ After turning down many prospective suitors, Mary went on to marry Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander Augustus Hope in 1802. Unknown to Mary, he was ac-tually an imposter and a bigamist who was later hanged in Carlisle for forgery.
Grasmere is one of the most visited villages in the Lake District, thanks mainly to Dove Cottage, the former home of William Wordsworth (1770-1850).
The village offers a wide choice of gift shops, restaurants, cafés, tea rooms and pubs, and possibly one of the most famous gingerbread shops in the world, situated at the entrance to St Oswald´s Church.
Most of the houses, shops and hostelries date back to the 19th and early 20th century, and the surrounding farms are even older. The village church dates back to the 13th Century.
William Wordsworth and his much loved sister Dorothy moved into Dove Cottage in 1799 and left in 1808 for larger premises at Allen Bank. They lived here for two years with fellow poet, Samuel Coleridge, moving to the Old Rectory, then Rydal Mount in 1813.
William died in 1850 while out walking, and his simple tombstone can be seen in the churchyard of St Oswald´s Church. A piece of land between the church and the river has also been renovated and turned into a place of peace called the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden, where visitors can purchase a share and have an engraved stone set in the path. Romantic Windermere Cottages provide perfect accommodation if you want to cel-ebrate a special occasion with a loved one.