If you’re planning a trip to the UK it might be tempting to head straight for London before taking a couple of days to visit some of the bigger cities like Manchester, Liverpool or Edinburgh. Whilst all of these places are certainly worth exploring it is worth pointing out that there are some regions of the UK that are so beautiful and wild that they simply cannot be missed. One such area is Cumbria.
Cumbria is a massive county that contains some of the wildest and most awe-inspiring landscapes in all of Britain, if not Europe. Carved out by glaciers in the previous ice age and then battered by thousands of years of rain and wind from the Atlantic, Cumbria is an expanse of long sweeping valleys, never-ending horizons and slate topped fells divided up by ancient dry stone walls and elegant decaying ruins. It is a county that contains more history than many countries around the world and it is a place that represents the true England. It has been occupied variously by cavemen, stone age tribes, Vikings, druids, Romans and has had near constant battles fought there from the Middle Ages onwards. As a result it has some of the most fantastic castles, forts and historical sites you will find on any tour anywhere in the world. Equally, it is a region so blessed with natural beauty that you will find it hard to take even a fraction of it in during your holiday.
Nevertheless, if you were to pick highlights that you simply must-see, then make sure you spend a day or two walking in the hills. Try to get to as many of the peaks as you can, including Scafell Pike, the highest point in England and spend some time walking in the magnificent Eden Valley before heading to the Lake District. Once in the Lake District you will need at least three or four days to take in the beauty (you will probably need a couple of days just to get through all the poetry written about the Lake District!) so put aside some time to cycle, walk, sail, row, canoe or even just splash about in any of the 12 great Lakes and the valleys and mountains all around you. The Lake District National Park is Britain’s most wondrous Area of Outstanding Natural beauty and it absolutely should not be rushed.
If you do wish to go off and see some of the historic sites then make certain you get to see Hadrian’s Wall, Carlisle Castle, Furness Abbey and as many as possible of the hundreds of remaining Roman, Celtic and Prehistoric archaeological sites and stone circles.
Cumbria is fascinating, beautiful and not to be missed.