The Lakes (or the Lake District) is an area of amazing natural beauty located in northern England. The Lakes is world famous on account of the astounding beauty of its rural and mountain landscapes. And as you may know, its popularity is also partly due to its rich cultural heritage involving William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Robert Southey.
The Lakes also hosts England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, and deepest lake, Wast Water. All of these qualities have made the Lake District one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.
Back in the late 17th century, walking and hiking breaks in the Lake Districts were mostly enjoyed by people who lived near or in the local area, since they could easily reach the beautiful valleys and mountains the area has to offer.
But in 1778, Father Thomas West wrote the first guide to the Lake District, and this brought many more visitors to the area. The popularity of the region grew so much that in the late 18th century the local authority responded by erecting viewpoints and “station houses”, which allowed visitors to see and experience some of the Lake District’s most stunning views and landscapes.
Wordsworth wrote his first guidebook to the Lakes in 1810, and over the years this developed into a five volume work which became an invaluable tool for travellers. Of course Wordsworth also drew poetical inspiration from the Lake District – more on this in a moment!
In the early 19th century, tourism in the Lake District started booming thanks to the establishment of railway links in areas such as Kendal and Windermere. These railway links made the Lake District much more accessible to working people. To accommodate the huge numbers of visitors, new attractions and facilities were introduced; for example, the powered motor vessels on the lakes let people see a world they would never have dreamed of only a few years before, and contributed to massive economic growth in the local area.
In the early 1950s the Lake District got national park status so as to help preserve its natural beauty from unhealthy commercial and industrial influences. The M6 built along the east side of the Lakes opened up the area further and brought many more visitors by car; something of a mixed blessing, with over 14 million people travelling to the Lake District each year!
Interestingly, the Lake District is Britain’s second largest tourist attraction, with people coming from all over the world. And still, to this day, the boats on Lake Windermere are one of the most successful tourist attractions in England!
Tourism adds tens of millions of pounds to the local economy every year. And even though many people now enjoy going abroad on their holidays, the enduring appeal of the Lakes will ensure millions of people continue to visit in the years ahead. activities lake garda