Cumbria (Lake District)
This northern county offers a rich mixture of landscapes - salt marshes, high peaks, rugged fells and quiet valleys adorned by shimmering lakes - a breathtaking place to visit and explore. Streams tumble down the western side of the Pennines, and flow as rivers to the sea - along their banks stand the ruins of ancient castles and monasteries. The mountains form a lonely landscape, but scattered villages save the region from being a complete wilderness. From lofty Helvellyn to the dark waters of Bassenthwaite Lake, the region has all the romantic charm that one expects of the Lake District. In contrast, however, toward the Scottish border, the present day peace and tranquillity belies a troubled and much harsher past. The northern extremities of Cumbria witnessed centuries of bloody conflict along the bitterly fought-over border regions. Hadrian's Wall, fortified churches and the many castles, recall the county's turbulent past, when all were at one time or another besieged by Scottish marauders.
This, then, a county guaranteed to bedazzle the visitor with the breadth of contrast within the fabric of its landscape.