An expert guide to a weekend in the Lake District

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Scenic beauty for adventurers and romantics

The clue to the region’s allure is in the name. A dozen or more lakes – sinuous, pretty, forbidding – vie for attention. Throw in craggy fells, tumbling waterfalls, timeless villages of whitewashed cottages, and the pull is irresistible. Even when it’s damp – and it frequently is – the scenery merely acquires a layer of misty romanticism. Its compact size (around 30 by 40 miles), together with its easy access (20 minutes from the M6), makes it one of the best places in Britain to enjoy the great outdoors whether ticking off the fells (including England’s highest), strolling a lakeshore or taking to the water.

It’s not all high-energy stuff though. Writers were drawn and inspired by its beauty, so you can nose around the homes of children’s author Beatrix Potter or poet William Wordsworth. There are quirky museums (from steamboats to pencils), absurdly pretty villages (including Cartmel and Hawkshead) with Instagrammable views plus – the ultimate relaxation – lake cruises. Base yourself in a lakeside town if you want variety, or a valley village for the big outdoors.

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