Lake District National Park : Michelin's recommendations
"I do not know of any tract of country in which, in so narrow a compass, may be found an equal variety in the influences of light and shadow upon the sublime and beautiful." - thus wrote Wordsworth, whose family lived in the village of Grasmere between 1799 and 1850. He himself lived in Dove Cottage, an early 17C inn. Other writers were also attracted to the region, among whom John Ruskin (1819-1900), author, artist and social reformer whose house near Brantwood enjoys a lovely view of Coniston Lake. Also worth a visit is Cartmel Priory, the grandest medieval (12C) building in the Lake District. As well as the Elizabethan manor, Levens Hall, next to a 13C tower, whose Topiary Gardens are unique in that the 1690 layout has been preserved intact. On your journey, savour magnificent beauty spots such as Wrynose Pass and Lake Windermere - the longest lake in England whose 16km of banks are lined in wooded slopes and bare fells and which is particularly popular among water sports enthusiasts. Further on lie Coniston Water and Derwentwater, claimed, by the poet Southey (1774-1843), to be the most beautiful lake in England. The region is strewn with traditional old villages such as Hawkshead, known for its slate-walled lanes and flower-decked cottages. Along the way, don't forget to visit Castlerigg Stone Circle, a circle of stones which is older than Stonehenge, or the outstanding ruins of the Roman fort of Hardknott (2C AD), which stands at the southern end of the pass of the same name (393m). Finally, a comprehensive picture of the region and its ecology and history can be obtained from a visit to the Lake District Visitor Centre at Brockhole, just outside of Windermere.