It inspired writers such as childhood favourite Beatrix Potter and poet William Wordsworth, and has recently been named a Unesco World Heritage site.
And driving through the forboding hills to explore the Lake District, it is easy to see why the area leaves such a lasting impression on the 18 million people who visit every year.
Although there is officially only one lake in the national park – Bassenthwaite – that doesn’t stop scores of visitors from flocking to the vast array of other spectacular waters such as Buttermere, Ullswater and Windermere.
For our stay, we were based at Brigham Holiday Park near Cockermouth, a market town to the north-west of the Lake District best known for its castle and variety of independent shops.
The family-run holiday park is just two miles from the town and is set off the main road, making it a perfect spot to relax after a busy day of exploring the lakes, hills and coast.
Over the last five years, owner Jimmy Stewart has built it up to a five-star standard and spent £1.5million improving it.
During that time, he has also seen a huge increase in people investing in a holiday home – and believes the park is the ideal, affordable option.
Our caravan – which the owner sub-lets – featured a large living area with dining kitchen, twin room, double room with an en suite and a shower room.
Outside on the decking, there was ample room for a barbecue, deck chairs and even a hot tub.
But during our three-night trip, we did not have time to kick back in the bubbles as we are determined to cram in as many nearby sights as possible, starting in Keswick.
The town has a real market feel to it, and after a wander past the varied range of shops, we headed down to Derwentwater for a cruise. The boat was packed with visitors from across the world, and despite the grey weather, the trip offered fantastic views of Skiddaw. There was also the option to get off at one of the eight jetties around the three-mile lake to walk to landmarks such as Ashness Bridge and Lingholm, the holiday home of Beatrix Potter.
The award-winning Theatre by the Lake is on the edge of Derwentwater, and Crow and Fitz parks are also nearby, giving families a space to relax as they take in the views, play pitch and putt, hunt the wooden sculptures or admire the colourful gardens.
Feeling the chill after an hour or so on the water, we headed to the Derwent Pencil Museum, which is also in Keswick.
Visitors enter through a replica graphite mine which would have served as the source of the pencil industry 300 years ago, and are cleverly taken through the history of graphite and pencils – while also learning how they were used in the Second World War to hide maps – through a quiz. Visitors young and old were hunting for the answers of the quiz on the storyboards, ensuring all the exhibits were thoroughly pored over.
For my travel companion – an avid Outlander fan – a highlight of our tour of the Keswick area was Castlerigg Stone Circle. The Neolithic stone circle is thought to have been constructed in 3000BC, and even if time travel adventures are not your forte, the spot offers spectacular 360 degree views of the surrounding countryside.
Other spots nearby worth visiting include Whinlatter Forest, for some lovely walks or adventurous bike trails, and Surprise View at Derwent, an idyllic spot overlooking the lake we had cruised on just hours before.
Determined to squeeze in one more stop before heading back to our caravan, we set off for the famous Buttermere.
Scale Force, the highest waterfall in the Lake District, is about an hour’s walk around the lake and well worth the effort.
The lake itself is beautifully moody, with reflections from the surrounding falls shining in the late afternoon sun.
Leaving it behind, we took a twisty road out of the village and accidentally came across Newlands Pass. With stunning scenery on either side, a dramatic waterfall and plenty of twists and turns in the road, it was a joy to drive along. Refreshed after another cosy night in our luxury caravan, we made the 10-minute journey to the Lakes Distillery, which opened two years ago.
The team worked to painstakingly restore an old farm into the distillery, which uses water from the nearby River Derwent to produce whisky, gin and vodka.
The friendly staff are proud to show off the buildings and their products, with a video also charting the journey from river to glass. There is also a shop packed with goodies, a bistro and even a field of alpacas to delight the younger crowd.
After an enjoyable morning, we headed further afield – taking in Grasmere, Ambleside and Pooley Bridge.
Brigham Holiday Park provided us with an excellent gateway to exploring the Lake District, and would be the ideal base for a family hoping to get away for a few days or looking for a second home.