One of the best things about books is that they can take us to world-wide settings without leaving the sofa. However, if you are eager to turn some of your favorite literature into real life locations, then I think you’ll enjoy reading my new Literary Wanderlust segment– starting with bookish things to do in the Lake District of England.
But first, a short backstory:
For the 2017-2018 school year, my husband and I took a sabbatical from classroom teaching to travel to settings we had only ever read about and taught for so many years. According to our school’s sabbatical policy, the (unpaid) year away needed to better our teaching practice in some way to be approved. Being an English teacher (me) and history teacher (my husband), we knew that traveling abroad could be the best education we would ever receive, and we were right. Essentially, as a well past college-aged couple, we planned our own study-abroad course, and it forever changed us.
Over the course of this year, I’m going to revisit our travels and share some literary wanderlust inspiration with the ELA teachers who read my blog and follow me on Instagram. Our first stop is Windermere, England, and I hope you enjoy this list of bookish things to do in the Lake District of England!
Bookish things to do in the Lake District of England
1. Stay at the Mortal Man where Wordsworth and Coleridge frequented
As we pulled up to The Mortal Man Inn, I felt like I was in a dream. Still to this day, this is one of our FAVORITE accommodations EVER. It’s quaint, book-themed (paying homage to Wordsworth and Coleridge), has an incredible restaurant, a fun outdoor beer garden, and the most quintessential English pub you’ve ever seen. Oh, and all this is perched on a hill overlooking the countryside of England where you are free to hike amongst the sheep that dot the landscape. Let me reiterate, an absolute DREAM! The only downside to staying in idyllic locations is that you won’t be able to walk to town from here, so you’ll either need a rental car (strongly advise against) or get a taxi to and from the rest of the Lake District literary locations you’ll see in this list. But don’t let this deter you! Aaron and I met the most lovely taxi driver during our Lake District trip and are still FB friends with her to this day! You never know how kismet will come into play when you veer off the path a bit.
2. Hike the countryside for pastoral poetry inspiration
One of my favorite lesson plans in this Dolly Parton’s America unit is the day we get to read pastoral poetry and make connections to “My Tennessee Mountain Home.” Years later, I cannot read pastoral poetry without my mind’s eye going back to hiking through picturesque sheep pastures with my love. We were able to walk right from the Mortal Man into the surrounding countryside and had the best time!
3. Explore Dove Cottage and Museum, home of William Wordsworth
The reason the Lake District of England was even on my radar was because of Dove Cottage. Being a British Literature teacher, I was very familiar with William Wordsworth, and Dove Cottage is on a lot of literary destination lists. While it might seem silly to plan an entire trip around one literary stop, I came to realize this was a fantastic traveling strategy. As you can probably tell from this post, I fell in LOVE with the Lake District of England. Without narrowing down my travel research, I probably would have never gone to this area of England. Having one obscure interest (in this case literature related sites) to direct your research, truly helps make travel more personal and serendipitous!
4. Visit Beatrix Potter sites to spark Peter Rabbit wonder
If you were a fan of the Peter Rabbit books as a child, then you’ll love visiting the Beatrix Potter sites in the Lake District. There are public buses that take people from one little village to another around this area and as we passed her cottage and farm, it felt like we had stepped into one of her storybooks! Everything is just so sweet and charming!
5. Browse Fred’s Ambleside Bookshop
No list of bookish things to do in the Lake District of England would be complete without a bookstore stop! There are several quaint bookshops on this list, but Fred’s won my top choice because of the little lake poet nook! ~all the heart eyes~
6. Have afternoon tea at The Wild Boar
One of my biggest travel regrets for England was that we didn’t do a proper afternoon tea. Being on a pretty tight budget, I didn’t think this was worth splurging on, but I wish we would have done at least one! Listen to this Rick Steves episode, and you’ll understand why! That said, while we didn’t actually do tea at The Wild Boar, it was fun for me to research the best places for an afternoon tea in the Lake District so that I can dream about returning one day. 🙂
If this post has sparked literary wanderlust in you and you want to travel more with points, I’m going to share my favorite travel credit cards. I use my travel credit card like a debit card and pay the entire balance each month. As always, please protect your finances and make the best decision for your spending tendencies. For me, this has proven to be a fantastic way to travel more for free because I’m usually able to cover the flight costs using only points.
These are my favorite cards because of their SIMPLICITY. To use your points, all you have to do is purchase a hotel, flight, or anything travel related on any site you wish then log into your CC account and click “erase my purchase.” Magic!
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