All beautiful places are a sum part of everything that has gone before, and the Lake District National Park is an especially fascinating place to discover. Impress your family by sharing these interesting facts about the Lake District; knowing a bit of background about your chosen holiday destination is all part of the fun. You never know what you’ll discover just walking or driving around, but you may also kick yourself if you missed out on a visit to some of the places mentioned in this compendium of cool facts about the Lake District.
Some facts are well-known whilst others are quite obscure; read on to discover the legends of the lost and found, big and small, tall and deep, tasty and curious, ugly and beautiful, high and low!
Why not stay at one of our fantastic holiday cottages in the Lake District? This way, you could visit and experience quite a few of these places, foods, and events for yourself! A holiday home gives you a comfortable backdrop to your time away; you have all your home comforts and a place to reinvigorate yourself for the next day of adventure.
At the top of England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, is the country’s most elevated war memorial. At around 3,210 feet stands the recently restored cairn, commemorating the men who fell in the Great War (the First World War). The mountain was donated along with 12 others as part of the ‘Great Gift’ back in 1919 in remembrance of the war dead.
The Bluebird K7 and its famous pilot, Donald Campbell, sank to the bottom of Coniston Water in 1967 whilst attempting to break the water speed record. In 2001, the craft was recovered and is now fully restored and housed at the Ruskin Museum in Coniston (nine months of the year). A fascinating, yet tragic story that resonated with people around the world back in the 1960s; visiting the lake and seeing the craft are humbling experiences. Campbell broke eight world records on land and water in the 1950s and '60s.
Each November, a contest to find the world’s biggest liar is held in Santon Bridge. Seek out The Bridge Inn and buy tickets to this curious festival where contestants regale the audience and judges with tall tales. The origins of this madcap event date back to the 19th century, with a publican called Will Ritson who used to keep his patrons amused with bonkers tales that included huge turnips and other potty claims! Check the local press for details - it’s very strange, and that’s the truth.
We all know that the largest lake in England is Windermere, but do you know the deepest? At 243 feet deep, Wast Water is an incredible beauty spot in the Wasdale Valley. A favourite with scuba divers and hikers looking for an extreme challenge, Wast Water is an aloof and dramatic place.
Find out more in our complete guide to the Lakes.
Dine in style on your trip to the Lakes. There are four restaurants with a Michelin-star award – these account for over half of those bestowed to establishments in the north-west of England. So, book ahead and find time to visit one or more of the following: L’Enclume (in Cartmel), Gilpin Lake House and The Samling (both in Windermere), and The Forest Side (in Grasmere).
6. The spiral sausage
The distinctive Cumberland sausage is on the official protected foods list. Its recipes are now in the pantheon and its beguiling form and taste are protected for generations to come. The spiral sausage coil with the very peppery taste and chunky constituent mix of chopped pork make it a must for all visiting carnivores.
The Lake District has birthed a variety of culinary favourites - discover more in our food and drink guide.
Pencils were invented in the Lake District, so there’s a museum, the Derwent Pencil Museum, to mark the fact. The graphite mine in Seathwaite was the source used for the first pencils. You can see the world’s longest and largest pencils and a number of peculiar exhibits that include pencils used by spies for espionage. The museum featured in the superb Ben Wheatley movie, Sightseers, from 2012.
8. Underwater villages
In 1929, a new reservoir was needed in the north west and the Mardale Valley was flooded, expanding the existing Haweswater. Two villages, Mardale Green and Measand, were degazetted and its inhabitants rehoused. When water levels are low enough during times of extreme drought, the remains of some of the buildings can be seen emerging from the depths.
9. Sticky toffee pudding alert
The sweetest of confections, the sticky toffee pudding, was born in the Lake District. Made in the 1970s by chef Francis Coulson at Sharrow Bay, the fig and light sponge dessert covered in runny, sweet toffee is an amazing taste sensation and its popularity has spread all around the world. The original recipe is kept under wraps at Sharrow Bay; you can still buy the prototype pudding in the restaurant!
There is only one official lake in the National Park and that’s Bassenthwaite Lake. All the others have different names like ‘mere’ or ‘water’. It’s a trick question to bamboozle and annoy your family with!
For more information about the Lakes, visit our guide:
Before you set off and go touring this vast and beautiful region of England, take a look at our range of self-catering holiday cottages throughout the Lake District. Find the perfect holiday property to provide the right backdrop for your Lakeland adventure, whether you plan to go boating, hiking or mountain climbing. Search our collection today.
Lake District cottages