The Lake District, in northwest England, has been a tourist hotspot for over 300 years. The vast national resource center is known to be one of the earliest vacation destinations in the world and was made a UNESCO heritage site in 2017. Over time, the resort has grown into a major tourist destination not just for the English, but for travelers worldwide. On the face of it, the Lake District doesn’t seem to be the perfect holiday destination; the resort is located in the wettest part of the UK and summer doesn’t really get hot there either, but the Lake District still sees an estimated 12 million visitors annually. So what exactly makes the Lake District such a popular destination? To understand what makes it so famous, Lakeland Tours, a company of Lake District tour guides, has helped us learn more about the history of the region.
History of the Lake District
The county of Cumbria, where the Lake District is located, was formed from older counties of Westmorland, Cumberland, and parts of northern Lancashire. The Lake District was established within Cumbria in 1951. The earliest settlers at the Lake District are said to have inhabited the area about 5000 years ago, where fine stones were used to make axes for labor and trade.
The building of the Townend House in Troutbeck began in the 15th century. Canals and railways were also built in the region to enable easy and fast transportation for wealthy members of society, which encouraged many entrepreneurs and business owners around England to move their businesses to the Lake District area, and by the 19th century, the Lake District was home to large communities and successful businesses.
By late 18th and early 19th centuries, the Lake District was already a famous tourism destination all across the United Kingdom. Several documentaries and guides by the likes of Daniel Defoe and William Wordsworth further enhanced the region’s reputation. During this time, the lakes also became strongly associated with English poets and writers who wrote poems describing the lakes’ beauty.
Tourism grew rapidly through the 19th century, and by the 20th century, the region had began to receive foreign visitors. To prevent commercial and industrial exploitation, the Lake District was named a national park. The park has retained its nature and beauty through to the modern day and now records tourist numbers in the millions.
What Makes the Lake District a Tourist Site?
The Lake District and Cumbria in general first became a major tourist site during the 19th century. Entrepreneurs from all over the UK brought business to the region, which boosted trade in the area, with people from London and Manchester coming to Cumbria to trade all sorts of goods.
There was also a small mining industry in the region during the 18th and 19th centuries, which further boosted trade in the region. Railways were built during this time to transport tourists and traders from the Lake District to London and the greater Manchester area. The advent of the motorcycle and cars in the 20th century also made it easier for tourists to make it to the Lake District.
What Is the Lake District Famous for?
Today, the Lake District is known most for its scenic views and recreational opportunities, such as hiking, swimming, birding etc. But the resort might have never been the tourist attraction it is today if not for the influence of the Lake Poets.
The Lake Poets were residents of the Lake District in the early 19th century, and included English poets William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and Robert Southey. The poets spent a majority of their lives living at the resort and would often write poems describing the lakes’ beauty, which attracted fans of their poetry to the lakes.
William Wordsworth’s “Guides Through the District of the Lakes” was undoubtedly the most influential poem from the Lake Poets, as it sparked massive tourism and brought thousands of people to the region. The lakes became closely associated with the Lake Poets, as their poems served as manuals on how to visit and enjoy the lakes.
In the modern day, however, the Lake District is simply known as the biggest and most beautiful national park in the UK. Just calling it a lake might be a little misleading, as the resort has valleys, beautiful peaks, and wildlife, and is one of the very best national parks worldwide.
The Lake District is one of the most historic places in England and the United Kingdom as a whole. The lake is famous for its many attractions, which bring an average of 15 million visitors to the resort yearly. With some of the best outdoor experiences on offer, the Lake District should be a must-visit for tourists.
For more information on visiting the Lake District, check out the Lake District National Park website.