Wheely good: cycling the Lake District for a thrilling time

What better way to see the majesty of the Lake District in idyllic Cumbria than on two wheels? More and more people are discovering the sheer joy of seeing this stunning part of England under their own steam, taking in the glorious sights on their own bicycle or a rented one – and getting some exercise along the way.

There’s a wealth of choices for the cycling enthusiast in the Lake District, and lots of places to rent a bike or two. Many people stick to the road and tour this famous area at their leisure, stopping off for lunch at charming pubs on their route. Others prefer to go off-road, and the Lake District is great for mountain as well as trail biking.

For those not familiar with the area, and especially for families who may have small children with them, a guided cycling tour is the perfect answer, and you’ll easily find a tour you can go on. Electric bikes are also available, for those who need an extra bit of power to propel them along – and you don’t have to worry about them going flat as there are ample charging points along the various routes.

The Lake District is all about winding down and soaking up the glory of nature in one of the most pristine and unspoiled places on Earth. Cycling around it as you experience this natural wonderland up close is the perfect way to do just that, leaving you entirely refreshed and invigorated.

The history of the Lake District National Park

These days, the Lake District National Park is just as much of a national treasure as the Tower of London, Noel Edmonds or Tetley Tea. Although the beautiful scenery has been there for thousands of years, the national park has not, only coming into existence a mere sixty years ago in 1951.

It is the most visited national park in the UK; 15.8 million visitors are drawn to it annually and it racks up over 23 million day visits each year. It’s also the largest national park in England and Wales, at more than 885 square miles.

Much of it is owned by the National Trust, to whom one of the area’s most famous daughters, Beatrix Potter, gifted large swathes of land on her death. As well as an association with the children’s author, it’s an area that also boasts ties to lots of popular literature from the 18th and 19th centuries.

The lake poets Wordsworth, Coleridge and friends were famously based in the area, and the romantic themes in their works were inspired by the dramatic vistas of the hills and valleys of the Lake District.

These days it’s a popular spot for hiking and fell-walking, as well as cycling and more sedentary pursuits like bird watching and photography. If you’re planning a visit, check out the cosy and comfortable accommodation offered by Borrowdale gates hotel, where you’ll find all the delights of the area right on the doorstep to be enjoyed.

Put the relax back into relaxation in the Lake District

The early travel writer, Thomas West, warned tourists to view Borrowdale’s spectacular scenery at a safe distance through their Claude Glass in his 1778 publication, which certainly encouraged many people in the 18th century to visit the Borrowdale Valley.

Since then, Borrowdale’s beauty has inspired the creation of more works of visual art and literature than any other place in Britain. Not surprising, for the home of the pencil.

Today’s visitors can see those same places of inspiration and digitally capture the Lake Districts special sights, by taking The Arts Walk. This eight mile walk is a journey through three centuries of art and takes walkers to places where J.M.W. Turner and Dora Carrington painted.

For anyone interested in going on the Arts Walk, the 4 star Borrowdale Gates hotel is the perfect base as it’s close to Derwentwater’s shores. The AA Rosette Restaurant serves Herwick lamb, Waberthwaite ham, venison from the Hoker Estate, and fresh seasonal vegetables.

Nearby too, is the inspiring Dubwath Silvermeadows nature reserve, with its boardwalks and paths leading round eight hectares of special wetlands. It’s a great place for birdwatching or for something entirely different; you may want to throw caution to the wind and join the Vintage Sports Car Club ascending the Honister Pass in a vintage Bentley or Bugatti Brecia!

Wherever your passions may lead you, the Borrowdale Gates hotel is the perfect base to return to, to help you put the “relax” back into your relaxing Lake District holiday.

3 of the best driving routes in the Lake District

If you’re looking for a special day out in the Lake District then why not take a scenic drive? On the way you’ll take in some stunning sights and enjoy nearby attractions. These great driving routes offer you a chance to explore your surroundings at your own pace.

1. Ambleside to Ullswater via Keswick

This 48 mile drive will allow you to see some of the most famous lakes the area has to offer. On the way back you’ll travel via Ullswater and Kirskstone Pass. If you’re a fan of poetry then this driving route is for you, because some of the locations have strong links to famous poet William Wordsworth.

2. Kendal to Keswick

This route is extra special! According to a special formula conceived by car rental company Avis, the journey along the A591 from Kendal to Keswick is the best drive in Britain. Plus there’s lots to see at your starting point, which is hugely popular with tourists, and at your award-winning destination.

3. Keswick to Buttermere

You’ll see a variety of stunning locations on this 33 mile driving route. You’ll begin with Keswick, which won the award for best historic town in the Landlove Magazine Awards, and Derwent Water. Your drive will then take you through the idyllic Borrowdale valley, then over Honister Pass to Buttermere, a village owned by the National Trust. Be sure to return via the lovely Newlands Valley.

Drive all day and stop overnight at the Borrowdale Gates! What are you waiting for? Let’s hit the road!