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My velvet escape travel tip” is a guest series about what the name ‘Velvet Escape’ evokes and what that would be in the hometown of the guest writer. With this series, I hope to uncover travel tips from places around the world to help visitors have a truly local experience.

Rydal Water
Wooden bench with a view over Rydal Water

A little wooden seat overlooking Rydal Water in the heart of the Lake District in Cumbria, England – now why should I choose this particular seat above this particular lake from all the places in the world, as my special Velvet Escape?

There is no simple answer – and maybe that is part of the magic this place holds for me. I first went to the Lakes when I was a teenager and I remember walking around the lake then – but we walked around lots of water and up fells (moors) and across the fields and all over the place …

Dragons Cave
Dragons Cave

When we moved to Cumbria 14 years ago, I took my young son for one of his first proper walks around the lake – we ventured up to the ‘Dragon’s Cave’ (well, we told him a dragon lived there!) and over the stepping stones. In the ensuing years, I took him to many other places, and we found that dragons had lairs throughout Cumbria …

… and yet, when I am looking for peace and quiet, for a spot that feels ‘away from it all’ and yet is easily accessible, when I want to ‘recollect in tranquillity’ to paraphrase Wordsworth, who lived nearby, this is the place I go to – my little wooden seat. I get a great feeling of peace here; it restores my equilibrium in a gentle and comforting way.

Nab Cottage
Nab Cottage

Whatever the weather, the views are glorious; a perfect distillation of man in harmony with nature. The lake is small enough to walk round easily. To do so, you can take the high path past the Dragon’s Cave, or wander along the shoreline and feed the swans and ducks. On the far side you can traverse the medieval Coffin Route (to St Oswald’s Church) and look down onto the lake, before visiting Dove Cottage or Rydal Mount where Wordsworth lived – or maybe have a refreshing beverage in one of the many tea shops or pubs in nearby Grasmere.

So, that is my Velvet Escape – and when you do visit the Lake District, which you must because it is simply one great big Velvet Escape, then take time out to find that bench and reflect on one of the loveliest views on earth.

About this week’s guest writer
Zoe Dawes Zoë Dawes is a lover of all forms of travel – Mind, Body and Spirit. Living and working in and around one of the most beautiful parts of the world, the Lake District, in the North West of England, ensures that she gets a daily dose of all three. “Originally an English teacher, I escaped one day to go and discover my inner Mamma Mia in Greece, spending 4 happy and fun-filled years working English in Athens and exploring the Greek Isles and surrounding area.

Zoë now runs her own business, Chartwell Coaching specialising in helping others to become inspiring leaders and recapture their passion for living. With a quirky take on life and travel, she writes articles and blogs regularly for various travel organisations in the UK and around the world. She recently launched her own travel blog: The Quirky Traveller. You can also follow Zoë on Twitter.

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