Tongue and Kentmere Fells, Lake District, Cumbria, England (David Toase/Getty)

English Lake District (iStockphoto)

Lake District Reflections (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Lake District

In the 19th century, when famed poet William Wordsworth lived in Grasmere Village, he called northwest England’s Lake District "the loveliest place on Earth." The cluster of stone country cottages and gardens set among rolling green mountains, moors, and cerulean pockets of water was idyllic then, and, thankfully, hasn't changed much. The region offers a slice of the past: its landscape has been protected as a national park—the country's largest—and its rural communities seem preserved in a simpler time. Across the district are old-fashioned villages just as pretty as Wordsworth's hometown, with lively market squares full of vegetable and craft vendors, 12th-century stone churches, and antique stores. In between, ribbons of water wind between low-lying hills and poetic pastures full of grazing sheep.

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