Lake District (Cumbria) Heritage Travel Guide
If you prefer a more leisurely style of exploration, you can take a regularly scheduled boat trip on one of the lakes. Lake Windermere in particular is a popular boating destination.
Near Keswick is Castlerigg Stone Circle, an atmospheric circle of standing stones set in a natural amphitheatre of hills and peaks. The striking circle can easily be accessed from the village. Another outstanding stone circle is Long Meg and Her Daughters, near Little Salkeld. Legend tells that the stones were witches who were petrified by a wizard. The story goes on to say that the stones are uncountable, and if anyone should manage to arrive at the same total twice, the spell will be broken.
More modern by a few millenia is the World Heritage Site, Hadrian's Wall, the Roman barrier against the tribes of Scotland, which stretches from Carlisle in the west to the mouth of the River Tyne in the east. In Cumbria the best sections of the wall to visit include the remains of the Roman camp at Birdoswald. Artefacts from the Wall can also be seen at the Carlisle Museum. Carlisle itself has a tumultuous history; the town was fought over by Scots and English over the centuries, though it only surrendered to the Scots in 1745, when Bonnie Prince Charlie briefly held the city. Carlisle Castle is built around a late 11th century Norman keep, while the cathedral boasts early Norman work as well as superb medieval stained glass.
The Lakeland villages of Cumbria can be crowded with visitors in the summer months, and many of the more popular villages suffer from "tourist-itis", but there are still pockets of calm. Ambleside and Grasmere maintain a sense of serenity, and the Eden Valley presents an enjoyable refuge from the crowds. Take a trip on the old Settle to Carlisle Steam Railway or visit the historic castle of Appleby. At Stott Park visit a working bobbin mill, a reminder of Cumbria's industrial past.