Despite not knowing too much about the Lake District, I knew it was the most sensible place to stop on our way from Manchester to Edinburgh. After all, driving through the English countryside has been on the top of my bucket list for years. And finally, I got to experience it. Although, quite honestly, I would have appreciated at least a few more days to really absorb all of its beauty and history. The Lake District is best known for its lakes, forests and fells (mountains), and its associations with Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin and other English poets. Todd and I explored the southwest corner of the district, hitting up Windermere and Ullswater lakes . . .
The Lake District is a surprising mere hour and a half drive from Manchester, so if you're brave enough to operate a vehicle on the other side of the road (thanks, Todd!), I highly recommend renting a car and experiencing the scenic route on your own time. However, give yourself plenty of time to get to your final destination (ours was Ullswater Lake) as you'll want to stop at all the quaint little towns along the way. Just northeast of Windermere Lake, the largest natural lake in the Lakes District and in England, you'll want to visit the tiniest village of Grasmere, home of the world famous Grasmere Gingerbread. Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread in 1854 in the village from where it gets its name and they've been continuing to make her biscuit like gingerbread the same way ever since. Grab some fresh gingerbread, take in the beautiful scenery and hit the road again!
Set on northwest shores of Ullswater is Another Place, our final destination in the Lake District. The Georgian house, which was recently refurbished into a breathtakingly beautiful 40 room resort, is all about connecting guests to the surrounding elements by way of swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, sailing, hiking, and cycling. I appreciate that the vibe here is anything but posh and exclusive, despite the incredibly stylish interiors and elegant ambience. Another Place is actually refreshingly laid back, casual and very family friendly, with an almost camp-like feel. I loved the different common areas, where guests could play board games fireside, enjoy the sunset over the fells with a cocktail, or just read a book poolside. I couldn't help but plan my next visit with my family.
There's a plethora of places to explore in the Lake District - I honestly believe you can spend weeks here and still not experience everything this region has to offer. There is one place, however, that must not be missed and that is the Stott Park Bobbin Mill. The 19th century bobbin mill, located southwest of Windermere Lake, once provided millions wooden bobbins to the ever growing textile, weaving and spinning industry in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Today, the mill is a working museum brought to life by tours and demonstrations run by English Heritage. It is, in one word, fascinating!