Lake District

mountainous region in North West England, UK

The The Lake District, also known as The Lakes or Lakeland, is an English national park of unique cultural significance. As the first British centre of scenery-tourism, and as the home of the Lake Poets, it played a large part in forming the modern English-speaking world's relationship with Nature.


  • Here is beauty indeed – Beauty lying in the lap of Horrour!
  • Here is Skiddaw and then, between thickets and parks, the delightful Lake Windermere, which I drew on an evening so sweet and peaceful that I felt uneasy with happiness; the sunset was combing the curly wavelets with a golden comb, and here the pilgrim sat by the quiet reeds and had no desire to go home again, so dazing and peaceful was the water.
    • Karel Čapek, trans. Paul Selver, Letters from England (London: Geoffrey Bles, 1925) pp. 150-1.
  • Know, too, that when a pilgrim strays,
    In morning mist or evening maze,
    Along the mountain lone,
    That fairy fortress often mocks
    His gaze upon the castled rocks
    Of the Valley of Saint John.
    • Walter Scott The Bridal of Triermain (1813), Canto 3, Conclusion, st. 1.
They found God to be a God both of the hills and valleys, and nowhere more present than in the mountains of Cumberland.
  • I rode over to Lorton, a little village at the foot of a high mountain. Many came from a considerable distance, and I believe did not repent of their labour; for they found God to be a God both of the hills and valleys, and no where more present than in the mountains of Cumberland.
    • John Wesley, journal entry for May 15, 1759; in The Works of the Reverend John Wesley, A.M. (New York: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1840) vol. 4, p. 23.
  • It was customary, I am told, to dash by [the Lakes] with an exclamation or two of "Oh, how fine!" &c. – or as a gentleman said to Robin Partridge the day after we were upon Windermere, "Good God! how delightful! – how charming! – I could live here for ever! – Row on, row on, row on, row on;" and, after passing one hour of exclamations upon the Lake, and half an hour at Ambleside, he ordered his horses into his phaeton, and flew off to take (I doubt not) an equally flying view of Derwentwater.
    • Joseph Budworth, Preface to A Fortnight's Ramble to the Lakes (London: J. Nichols, 1795).
Nor were these hills high and formidable only, but they had a kind of an unhospitable terror in them.
  • Nor were these hills high and formidable only, but they had a kind of an unhospitable terror in them. Here were no rich pleasant valleys between them, as among the Alps; no lead mines and veins of rich oar, as in the Peak; no coal pits, as in the hills about Hallifax, much less gold, as in the Andes, but all barren and wild, of no use or advantage either to man or beast…Here we entred Westmoreland, a country eminent only for being the wildest, most barren and frightful of any that I have passed over in England, or even in Wales it self.
  • Right before me is a great camp of single mountains – each in shape resembles a Giant's Tent; and to the left, but closer to it far than the Bassenthwaite Water to my right, is the lake of Keswick, with its islands and white sails, and glossy lights of evening – crowned with green meadows. But the three remaining sides are encircled by the most fantastic mountains, that ever earthquakes made in sport; as fantastic, as if Nature had laughed herself into the convulsion, in which they were made.
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge, letter to Samuel Purkis, July 29, 1800; Earl Leslie Griggs (ed.) Collected Letters of Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1956-1971) vol. 1, pp. 614-15.
  • Skiddaw shews its vast base, and bounding all that part of the vale, rises gently to a height that sinks the neighboring hills; opens a pleasing front, smooth and verdant, smiling over the country like a gentle generous lord, while the fells of Borrowdale frown on it like a hardened tyrant.
    • Thomas Pennant A Tour in Scotland, and Voyage to the Hebrides (London: Benjamin White, [1774-6] 1790) p. 46.
  • The full perfection of Keswick consists of three circumstances, beauty, horror, and immensity united…But to give you a complete idea of these three perfections, as they are joined in Keswick, would require the united powers of Claude, Salvator, and Poussin. The first should throw his delicate sunshine over the cultivated vales, the scattered cots, the groves, the lake, and wooded islands. The second should dash out the horror of the rugged cliffs, the steeps, the hanging woods, and foaming waterfalls; while the grand pencil of Poussin should crown the whole with the majesty of the impending mountains.
    • John Brown A Description of the Lake at Keswick (and the Adjacent Country) in Cumberland (1767); cited from Thomas West A Guide to the Lakes (Kendal: W. Pennington, 1821) pp. 194-5.
A glorious region, of which I had only seen the similitude in dreams.
  • The Lake country is a glorious region, of which I had only seen the similitude in dreams, waking or sleeping…I longed to slip out unseen, and to run away by myself in amongst the hills and dales.
  • The whole view is entirely of the horrid kind. Not a tree appeared to add the least chearfulness to it. With regard to the adorning of such a scene with figures, nothing could suit it better than a group of banditti. Of all the scenes I ever saw, this was the most adapted to the perpetration of some dreadful deed.
    • William Gilpin Observations, Relative Chiefly to Picturesque Beauty (London: R. Blamire, 1786) vol. 1, p. 166.
    • Of the view southward from Dunmail Raise.
  • We have clambered up to the top of Skiddaw, & I have waded up the bed of Lodore. In fine I have satisfied myself, that there is such a thing as that, which tourists call romantic, which I very much suspected before.
    • Charles Lamb, letter to Thomas Manning, September 24, 1802; Edwin W. Marrs, Jr. (ed.) The Letters of Charles and Mary Anne Lamb (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1975-8) vol. 2, p. 69.
Symbols of the power, the vitality, the force of nature.
  • With Wordsworth, the mountains of Cumberland passed into World Literature, became, like the music of Beethoven and the paintings of Turner, symbols of the power, the vitality, the force of nature and super-nature which haunted and compelled the imagination of the nineteenth century.
  • Your sport, my Lord, I cannot take,
    For I must go and hunt a lake;
    And while you chase the flying deer,
    I must fly off to Windermere.
    Instead of hallooing to a fox,
    I must catch echoes from the rocks;
    With curious eye and active scent,
    I on the Picturesque am bent.
    • William Combe The Tour of Doctor Syntax in Search of the Picturesque (London: Ackermann, [1812] 1844) p. 142.
  • The trees of Lakeland contribute much to the matchless beauty of the district, and indeed it would be difficult to imagine the setting of some of the lakes and many of the valleys without them.
    • W.A.Poucher (Lake land Scrapbook, 1950, Pub. Chapman Hall)
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