Immortalized by Wordsworth and other English Romantic poets, as well as by the landscape painters Constable and Turner, the Lake District is one of the loveliest areas of Britain. Chiefly a national park (dotted with charming villages), this astonishingly picturesque region is a walker’s paradise. Steep glacial valleys backdropped by cloud-shrouded peaks contain the deep and enigmatic lakes that give the area its name. Due to its proximity to major cities such as Manchester, the Lake District becomes overcrowded in summer and on weekends for much of the year. I prefer spring, when the tops of the hills — here known as “fells,” a word derived from Old Norse — are still touched with snow and the crowds have yet to arrive.
Visit the Home of Beatrix Potter
Beloved by children (and many grown-ups) the world over, author Beatrix Potter lived in a charming 17th-century farmhouse called Hill Top, near the town of Hawkshead. Now managed by the National Trust, it remains much as it was when she died.
Visit the Home of William Wordsworth
This same countryside provided inspiration for one of England’s greatest poets, William Wordsworth. His home in Grasmere, Dove Cottage, also provided a haven for his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge and for his beloved sister, Dorothy. The home is filled with family effects.
Ancient Fortresses, Barracks and Bathhouses
Begun in A.D. 122, Hadrian’s Wall extends for nearly 80 miles across northern England. But this Roman fortification is much more than just a wall. It connects a series of ancient fortresses, barracks and bathhouses, the ruins of which are still extremely atmospheric.