No trip to the Lake District is complete without a ride across Coniston Water
There is such an array of attractions in the Lake District you could easily do a full tour based on its literary landmarks alone.
Beatrix Potter’s cottage at Hill Top House is a lovely, tiny place, with its own vegetable garden.
It was left to the National Trust by Potter and it was here she wrote The Tale Of Tom Kitten and The Tale Of Jemima Puddle-Duck.
It is a dark little house, there was no electricity, filled with notes and sketches used in the books.
In Grasmere visit the poet William Wordsworth’s grave and stop for a hot chocolate in Kendal at the famous 1657 Chocolate House.
For many the Lakes are about a walking holiday, boots, kagoules, maps and flasks.
But you can also cheat and do it by car.
Visit Victorian art critic, painter and philanthropist John Ruskin’s imposing house Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston Water.
Ruskin designed the amazing gardens himself and they stretch over 250 acres with spectacular views so you can spend hours simply wandering around.
You can also have a trip on the water on the Steam Yacht Gondola.
The Castle Green Hotel in Kendal, Cumbria
Brantwood itself is sprawling and atmospheric, full of beautiful art and furniture and packed full of Ruskin memorabilia.
In his study are his collections of pressed flowers, rocks and butterflies.
But no trip to the Lakes is complete without a ride across the water, which we did on nearby Windermere.
The largest natural lake in England, it is surrounded by spectacular hills.
It has 18 islands, covers 5.69 square miles and is truly one of the most beautiful places in England.
Coniston’s Black Bull Inn and Hotel
Dine in the Greenhouse Restaurant within the Castle Green Hotel (01539 734 000/castlegreen.co.uk) which has two AA stars.
Mostly the menu is locally sourced and specialities include Cartmel lamb, beef cheek and sea bream.
The Black Bull Inn and Hotel in Coniston is packed with memorabilia about the intrepid Donald Campbell who broke the world water speed record six times, four of them on Coniston.
He was killed there in 1967 making another attempt in his Bluebird K7.
We drank to his bravery with a pint of Coniston Brewery Bluebird Bitter.
One of the Castle Green Hotel’s tastefully renovated bedroom
The Castle Green Hotel (as above) nestles into the hillside in Kendal.
With fabulous views it is an ideal base for exploring Coniston Water and Windermere.
Set in 14 acres of gardens, the hotel is family run and has recently had a complete refit.
Some have four posters, others, giant photographs of wildflowers as headboards.
There’s a woodland trail, a pool and a great fitness centre.
Doubles from £99.
● Cumbria tourism: visitcumbria.com