When the sun makes an appearance in England, nobody hesitates for a split second. Flip-flips on, barbecues out, no questions asked. Set to rival the heatwave of 1976, this summer will be long remembered by Britons for its baking temperatures and Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory. In an effort to cool off, many are flocking to the beaches of Britain.
With the school holidays underway there is not a whisker of space on the coastline, every deckchair is taken and every ice cream man is stretched to capacity. After a long day playing host to children, students and dogs, Brighton beach is a scene of devastation – upended buckets and sun-umbrellas are strewn everywhere. This scene is replicated up and down Britain’s seaside resorts and city parks, so I ask you: Do you want to be cramped among the masses? Are you contemplating sightseeing in London or Manchester?
My advice to you is not to lounge on England’s crowded seasides or venture into her muggy cities, but instead head straight to the beautiful Lake District.
It would be a scandal to miss the Lakes in conditions such as these; azure skies, glassy waters and a cooling breeze ensure that a day of hiking will have you much happier than a day sweltering on the South coast. If hiking doesn’t tickle your fancy, then the Lake District has plenty more on offer; choose between mountain biking and fishing to archery or watersports. Trite as it may sound, there is something for everyone – whether that’s paragliding or dancing to Basement Jaxx at Kendal Calling music festival. There is a wealth of information on www.golakes.co.uk, where you’ll find extensive listings of local pubs, inns and breweries as well as quaint English tearooms where you can indulge without (hopefully) too much guilt.
Lake Windermere is the focal point of this region, but there is plentiful accommodation throughout the Lake District. Whether you’re after the comfort of a yurt or don’t mind back-to-basics, shiver-in-your-sleep camping, this area has all bases covered. With ample lodging and easy transport connections to airports and train stations, there really is no reason for travellers to resign themselves to those sweaty, jam-packed beaches.
Those who aren’t tempted by a jaunt around the Northern countryside, would be well advised to head to smaller cities such as Cambridge, where a punt on the River Cam followed by a picnic in the shade is a perfect way to while away a day with locals and tourists alike. I could go on to list many other options of more towns and cities to visit, but I wouldn’t want to distract you from the stunning Lake District. A word of warning: travel soon, the English sun is a fickle one and will soon take cover behind clouds. At least then the beach will be all yours.