The Lake District has long since been a favourite with writers, artists, poets and, of course, holidaymakers. But when is the best time to visit? Summer days can be beautiful but also busy... the Winter months can be equally stunning yet much quieter, and the Autumn colours should not be missed, particularly if you’re an avid photographer. However, one of the best times to visit is coming up right now... so, without further ado, why not consider a trip this May?
Why in May, you might wonder? Well... it’s a really beautiful time of year. The Easter rush has passed and the Summer influx has yet to come. The days are getting longer, typically with more sunshine and less rain. (Historically, May is one of the driest months of the year in Cumbria.) And whilst the host of golden daffodils might be past their best, there are carpets of bluebells springing up everywhere. England is the best place in the world to see bluebells and the woodlands of the Lake District offer some fantastic examples. Trees are also in bloom, rhododendrons are flowering, and the white blossom of the damon trees in the Lyth Valley are not to be missed.
Also with the tourist season now fully underway (the main season runs from April to the end of October), the local calendars are brimming with all manner of events, whether you enjoy outdoor pursuits or something a little more laid back.
For those who enjoy a rigorous challenge, there’s the Fred Whitton Challenge, a cycling sportive on the 13th May. It takes in 112 miles of road cycling over some of the toughest routes in the Lake District, with the fastest completing the route in around 6 hours. If two wheels aren’t your thing, but you still enjoy a tough challenge, you could tackle the Brathay Windermere Marathon on 20th May - it’s a full marathon (26.2 miles) but much tougher
than the more well-known marathons such as London, because it takes in a number of climbs along the way. And, if you’re really brave (and extremely fit!), you could tackle the ‘10 in 10’ (11th-20th May) which requires you to do the Brathay Windermere Marathon 10 times in 10 consecutive days!
If, like most people, you prefer a more sedate and relaxing introduction to the Lake District, don’t despair... there’s lots of other things going on to whet your appetite. There’s the Keswick Jazz Festival (3rd-6th May) in the north of the county, the Cartmel Medieval Festival (4th and 5th May), the Cross Bay Walk across Morecambe Bay (2 weekends in May), Music on the Terrace at Brochole near Ambleside (22nd May), Kendal Farmers Market (25th May) and the Westmorland County Show not far from Kendal (26th and 27th May).
Whatever your preference, May is a truly wonderful time to visit the area and see what the Lake District has to offer.Paul Johnson is owner of a beautiful riverside apartment in Kendal, on the edge of the Lake District National Park