1 Going to the Lake District and not walking for the sake of it is like visiting Dublin and not testing out the Guinness. Lace up your walking boots and make a march on Scafell Pike, England’s tallest summit. For gentler gradients stay lakeside and if you need incentive, find a pub to mark the finishing line (see below).

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2 Cumbrians are serious about their real ale and most decent pubs will have several varieties on tap. If you like your drinking holes chromatosed, you could be struggling but if you’re happy by a crackling fire in an ‘Old Man’s Pub’ you’ll find one round every corner.

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3 Keats, Coleridge and De Quincey all sought inspiration in the Lake District but William Wordsworth is the area’s most famous literary son. See his houses at Rydal Mount near Ambleside and Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Fans of Beatrix Potter should head to her former home, Hilltop Farm in Near Sawrey or the museum in Hawkeshead.

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4 Grizedale, the largest forest in the Lake District, doesn’t leave you short of things to do. Hire a bike and speed round the 6000 acres of woodland or follow an elaborate trail of 90 sculptures on foot. For less earthly pursuits, make like Tarzan and swing through the tree tops on Go Ape, a mile-long network of rope bridges and death slides that stretches through the tree canopy.

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5 It might sound like there’s only one lake, but there are 16 major lakes and many more tarns. Make the most of the blanket ban on motorised watersports by learning to sail at the various schools by Coniston Water or Windermere Lake (England’s longest). If you’re brave enough to take a dip, swim to Coniston’s Peel Island (better known as Wild Cat Island in Arthur Ransom’s Swallows And Amazons) for some cliff-diving.

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The essentials

Time from London: 3 hours
Getting there: Train from Euston to Oxenholme/Penrith
What to say: Where can I buy an anorak/walking boots?
Price of a beer: ££££