I was convinced, during our recent summer visit to the UK, of the advantages of the unseasonal downpours. This is not my natural reaction, but it was undeniable when looking out on the multiple green shades of the mossy walls, thriving woodland and fields rising to towering fells of the Lake District. Rabbits and sheep abound munching on the lush grass. The clouds hardly dared to reveal the sun, more often they topped up the vast waters during our stay. But this in no way dampened the striking beauty of the place.
The lakes are, of course, the focal point and there are many of them. Amongst them Lake Coniston, Ullswater and Lake Windermere; the latter being the largest natural lake in England and bordered by the quaint towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside, whilst the town of Windermere itself is a short distance from the water.
With such an incredible landscape come tourists - on the cruises and small boats that zig-zag the lake, at Beatrix Potters Attraction (in Bowness) and her former home, Hill Top, (where the rooms match drawings in her books), and in the quintessential brick pubs and cafes offering local ales and scones with jam and clotted cream. Nothing could be more British!
Once away from the water's edge, you can head for the hills to climb the highest peaks in England - Scafell Pike, Scafell and Helvellyn, all nearing 1000 metres in height. In fact the majority of the tallest mountains in England are found in the Lake District. It's the Jackpot for hikers!
For those looking for something less strenuous, walk around one of the many tarns, the small mountain lakes. Tarn Hows is especially picturesque. Or take a boat from Ambleside to Wray Castle (soon to be converted into a hotel) and wonder the 5 mile sheltered path alongside the western side of Lake Windermere, through lofty woodland which allows leaf-framed views across the water, until you reach a ferry that brings you to Bowness.
After a challenging hike your feet may need some pampering. I recommend you head for a Garra Rufa Fish Pedicure in Bowness. Let these tiddlers nibble at your dead skin - if you aren't too ticklish!
One mile walk from Wray Castle, or a short drive from Ambleside, brings you to the National Trust camp ground of Low Wray, found in open countryside, where there is a cluster of brightly decorated indian tipis. Details of 4 Winds Lakeside Tipis can be seen on Quirky Accom. click here These tipis have ingenious extras that whittle away any rainfall, plus cooking utensils and firewood are provided. With colourful rugs, basic furnishings and spacious interiors this accommodation is leaps and bounds ahead of your average camping adventure. Children can race around as the adults chat by the campfire, whilst totally enveloped in the wonder that is the Lake District.
For good food, try out Roberto's in Bowness and Lucy's in Ambleside.