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The Most Beautiful Corner of England

The Lake District is consistently voted the UK’s best holiday destination and it really is a remarkable corner of north-west England, one that seems to have a disproportionate share of grandeur, beauty, iconic images and national affection.

It doesn’t just have England’s highest mountain (Scafell Pike), largest (Windermere) and deepest (Wastwater) lakes; it’s also deeply rooted in the English psyche. Few English people couldn’t recite the first few lines of William Wordsworth’s classic; “I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills, When all at once I saw a crowd, A host, of golden daffodils…” written on the banks of Ullswater lake.

But there are additional subliminal influences from classic childhood stories, set in the Lake District. The lovable Beatrix Potter characters – Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, Tom Kitten et al; the Swallows and Amazons adventures of Arthur Ramsome or the classic television series about Postman Pat by John Cunliffe.

Walking, climbing or just admiring the fells and messing about in boats are the main reason people visit the Lakes and there are short walks or strenuous whole day scrambles.

And as Wordworth's poem ends …“In vacant or in pensive mood, They (lakes & fells) flash upon that inward eye”… meaning that no matter where you are the unforgettable sights and memories of the Lake District will be with you forever.

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I’ve been writing about travel for the past 14 years and have travelled extensively from [A]ustralia to [Z]imbabwe. I’ve been around the world a few of times and have written widely for the international press in America, Australia and the UK, for newspapers, magazines and websites.I am also the author of a definitive guide to Wildlife Conservation Volunteering (Bradt, 2012) and have worked on volunteer projects in South America, Africa, India and Europe. Working from a riverboat on the Amazon has to be my favourite conservation project – a bit of comfort and luxury at the end of the day after getting filthy ploughing through the muddy jungle.I think the best way of getting around is travelling by train, not just because it’s eco-friendly but because I enjoy the journey as much as the destination. I’ve written a lot about train travel and am a contributing author to Great Railway Journeys of the World (Time Out 2009). My enthusiasm for travelling on trains culminated in 2011 – 2012 when I travelled around the world by train - from London to Sydney. This was the most amazing trip I’ve ever done and I spent three months because I couldn’t stop myself getting off to explore what couldn’t be seen from the window.Naturally it’s now a book!

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