London Diary – Lake District and Hadrian’s Wall

After Haworth, further north we journeyed.

The famous Lake District is as beautiful up close as it is on paper. After a brief visit and lunch break at Cartmel village, we headed up to Bowness on Windermere, where we based for this visit. From there, we visited Beatrix Porter’s house museum, Hill Top Farm, William Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere, his last home, Rydal Mount in Rydall, and the town of Keswick. While the towns and villages are lovely from the ground, the best views are to be had higher up. There are different options, we did a couple of hikes, one in Grasmere from Whitemoss car park and another route in Keswick, both walks were tremendously rewarding. Last but not least, Hadrian’s Wall. It was a memorable experience following part of the epic Roman route and stepping way back into history.

Cartmel Village

Have you tried or heard of Cartmel sticky pudding? It is vastly different from the traditional Christmas pudding. While I am not crazy about Christmas pudding I love sticky pudding. So Cartmel I went and discovered much more there. The tiny village is charming and steep in history. Its ancient Priory, founded in 1188 by William Marshal, the “Earl Marshal”, is evocatively beautiful. Paying the church a visit is a must. Do also stop by Cartmel Village shop for simple but delicious lunch or all kind of flavors to take home including sticky pudding in various flavors, toffee and chocolate, etc.

 

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Bowness on Windermere

Bowness is touristy but also picturesque and convenient with many shops and restaurants. The pier is a pretty spot and popular area where you can catch one of the variety of lake cruises. We stayed at Blenheim Lodge in a quiet residential area on top of the hill with a lovely view of Lake Windermere, the largest lake in Lake District. The B&B is housed in a charming former Victoria house and very clean. Next door is a unique house featured in TV show Grand Design.

 

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Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter’s house in Near Sawrey is now a museum. The village is tiny and its neighbor Far Sawrey a few minutes away is equally diminutive. It’s a small house too, for such a famous person, which makes it even more interesting as the birth place of the imaginary world created there that has fascinated the world. The garden is wonderful. Seek out the old English roses and smell the lovely scent, divinely fragrant.

 

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Grasmere, Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount

Grasmere is a lovely, tranquil village by Lake Grasmere, where William Wordsworth lived for many years in Dove Cottage. The cottage is a low ceiling, small house with tiny rooms, which however did not in any way prevent the great poet from being prolific, it is where the famous quote came about, “Plain living and high thinking.”

William Wordsworth penned his praise for Grasmere and/or the cottage as “loveliest spot that man hadth ever found”. The cottage is near the lake but its view is currently obstructed by the buildings that had gone up between it and the lake. Only a sliver of the lake can still be seen nowadays from the garden in the back.

The entrance fee includes a guided tour of the cottage and a self guided visit to the separate museum next door. Our guide was a young woman from New Zealand, who studied in US and was at the time working as an intern at the house museum.

The roses at the cottage is also a variety of lovely fragrance.

 

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William Wordsworth’s next home is Rydal Mount in Rydal, a village a few minutes away. It is a more substantial house with a sprawling and lovely garden.

 

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Whitemoss car park is located north or Rydal Water and between Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount. From there we hiked up to the hill south of Rydal Water, then continued on westward until it peaked at south end of Lake Grasmere, where the view is stunning. You can return to the car park via the same route or descend to the lake shore and return along River Rothay. It is an easy and enjoyable walk, with plenty of fox gloves in your company along the way and maybe a deer as well.

 

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Keswick and Latrigg

Keswick is a lovely town in a picturesque setting and also known as home to Coleridge and Sotheby. We found out however Greta Hall, Coolerdige’s former home, is not open to public. A kind man overhearing us at the Info Center pointed out the direction of the house. We drove by accordingly but couldn’t see much of it.

There are more to be explored. Of the numerous viewpoints in Lake District, many take strenuous efforts. Latrigg, as one of the lowest fells, is a relatively easy to take on, and offers one of the best views in the area.

It is just under two miles from town park by the river to the peak and the path goes through some lovely woods but the climb up is quite steep especially as it gets close to the top. The view along the way is rewarding though and it builds up like a crescendo to a stunning view of Keswick and Derwentwater at the summit. The day turned chilly and it was very windy at the summit on that day, some people were paragliding, which was fun to watch, but we did not take the rest of the circular route, returning to town via same route instead.

Here is one guide for the route:

http://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0009/171792/kw-nu_latrigg_walk_4a-2-10.pdf

 

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Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian’s Wall was the Roman demarcation for its frontier on British Isle, running about 85 miles long from Bowness-on-Solway on the west to Wallsend on the east. We chose a few spots to visit.

Lanercost Priory. An old monastery beautiful even in ruin.

 

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Walltown Crags. A long stretch of what is left of the wall remains at this site and the open country views are spectacular, you can see miles and miles out, all the way to Scotland.

 

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Cawfield Roman Wall is near a village with two sign posts, Once Brewed or Twice Brewed, depending on which direction you are approaching it. You can see a long stretch of the wall here.

Housesteads Roman Fort. It is an amazing site. Along with a museum in a separate building, it brings vividly to life stories of the soldiers, officers, their families and villagers and their lives within and outside the fort, once again proving how incredibly powerful, far reaching and methodical the Romans were.

 

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