When it comes to the UK, it seems as though all eyes have been on London this year. First with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then more recently with the Olympics and Paralympics. Visitors can be forgiven for forgetting that there’s more to the UK than London, but also they’d be guilty of missing a trick.
One beautiful corner of England that many London visitors seem to overlook is the Lake District, and yet it’s surprising accessible despite being at the opposite end of the country. In just over two and a half hours, you can have left London Euston and arrived at Oxenholme the Lake District railway station. Oxenholme pretty much merges with Kendal, a beautiful market town that lies on the border of the Lake District National Park, as well as being close to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
The perfect place to stay in Kendal is in Kendal Cottages’ self-catering apartment. This is luxurious accommodation on the banks of the River Kent and with a stunning private balcony view of the river and Kendal Castle, once home to Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth wife. The castle is now in ruins but an easy walk from the apartment and free to explore. The town center is also within easy walking distance and offers a great choice of attractions, restaurants, cafés and shops.
As for the accommodation, it comes up with all the modcons you might expect from a luxury apartment: free broadband WiFi (and even free telephone for local and national calls), flat-screen TVs, an iPod docking and a Bose sound system. The fixtures and fittings are also of high quality – a kitchen with granite worktops, a dining area over the river with solid oak furniture and a relaxing lounge with Laura Ashley sofas. The highlight, though, has to be the southwest-facing balcony from where, if you’re lucky, you might spot some otters down in the river below.
And if all that wasn’t already enough, you are in one of the prettiest locations in the country, home to England’s longest lake (Windermere, just 20 minutes away) and tallest mountain (Scafell Pike). The other thing that will appeal to those travelling by train from London is that the Lake District, perhaps surprisingly, can be easily explored by public transport. There are tour companies that will take you to all the favorite spots or you can travel from Kendal thanks to regular bus and train services.
So… next time you’re in the UK, don’t just go to London. Look beyond the capital and you’ll be richly rewarded with some other wonderful delights.