Lonely Planet Writer

The UK's picturesque Lake District named a Unesco World Heritage Site

Already a favourite destination among travellers for centuries, the UK’s famous Lake District has now been named a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Wooden stile and stone wall with Lake Windermere in background with sun rising above horizon.
The Lake District has been given heritage status. Image by ©Daniel_Kay/Shutterstock

The picturesque region is also the UK’s most popular national park, drawing in millions of visitors each year. While outdoor pursuits like hiking are often on the top of visitors’ to-do lists, many people also visit for the area’s literary connections. Many writers, like William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Beatrix Potter, were greatly inspired by the Lake District.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee met in Krakow, Poland last week and added a number of sites to the World Heritage List. The final additions included the Lake District, and the Aphrodisias in Turkey, and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site in Brazil. Unesco also extended two sites: Strasbourg, a European urban scene; and the Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau.

Of the recent additions, the Lake District is probably one of the more popular attractions. The mountainous region in the northwest of England was shaped by glaciers in the Ice Age and subsequently by agriculture through the years. According to Unesco: “the combined work of nature and human activity has produced a harmonious landscape in which the mountains are mirrored in the lakes. Grand houses, gardens and parks have been purposely created to enhance the beauty of this landscape. This landscape was greatly appreciated from the 18th century onwards by the Picturesque, and later Romantic movements, which celebrated it in paintings, drawings and words. It also inspired an awareness of the importance of beautiful landscapes and triggered early efforts to preserve them”.

Langdale Pikes seen from boulders in Langdale Valley.
The UK’s Lake District has been acknowledged for world heritage status. Image by ©Justin Foulkes/Lonely Planet

Visitors to the Lake District can take part in outdoor pursuits for a range of abilities. There are also a number of family-friendly attractions, like the World of Beatrix Potter or the Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway.