There's really nothing better than switching on your 'Out of Office', leaving work behind you and taking a long visit to a beautiful place. That's exactly what I did last week and, by gosh, was it needed. Sometimes you can be so entwined in the day to day goings-on of life that you don't realise how anxious and wound up you're feeling (well, actually, I did know. I feel permanently stressed at the moment, but that's another story). So there really wasn't a better time to take a few days off and enjoy what England has to offer.
I love the Lake District. For one reason or another, there are always those places that make their way into your heart and never really leave. The places that make you wonder 'What is it like to actually live here, is it as wonderful and magical as I think?' (the answer, unfortunately is probably no). I'm like that with Paris as well. I've never been (I WILL one day) but it has a special place in my heart, full of whimsical notions of baguettes in my bike basket, strong coffee sipped whilst catching up on today's news in a quaint little cafe by the roadside and delicious, juicy Steak Frites with a glass of good French red.
I digress - The Lakes. What beauty they behold. The sight of vast lakes against the wondrous backdrop of steep mountains, formed millions of years ago, seemingly for us to enjoy and revel in. It's all I can think when I'm surrounded by hills and mountains: 'Just think how these were formed. I find it astonishing! The world crashing together and forcing up great mounds of earth; a small knock compared to the bigger mountain ranges, but magnificent all the same.'
I've been to the Lake District a few times, my mum even lived and worked there in her younger years (I think that adds to why I love it so much), and each time I enjoy it more and more. There's not much shopping (unless you love a good mountain-wear shop), but there are some lovely restaurants around (Villa Positano in Bowness-on-Windermere and The Lighthouse in Windermere to name a couple) as well as, of course, some magnificent walks. The main one we did this time was up Wansfell Pike. It's not the biggest summit in the Lakes (that's Scafell Pike) but if you take the road from Ambleside, up Wansfell and carry on around to Troutbeck and circle back to where you started, you're in for a visual treat as well as a good workout.
I'd recommend the Lake District to anyone, especially if you've never been before. I live in a relatively flat part of the UK and sometimes forget that these sorts of places exist in the UK. We're always looking for somewhere more exotic with the biggest hills, the brightest skies and the warmest sunshine to get away to, but sometimes it's those places close to home that can mean the most.