The clue to the region’s allure is in the name. A dozen or more lakes – sinuous, pretty, forbidding – vie for attention. Throw in craggy fells, tumbling waterfalls, timeless villages of whitewashed cottages, and the pull is irresistible. Even when it’s damp – and it frequently is – the scenery merely acquires a layer of misty romanticism. Its compact size (around 30 by 40 miles), together with its easy access (20 minutes from the M6), makes it one of the best places in Britain to enjoy the great outdoors whether ticking off the fells (including England’s highest), strolling a lakeshore or taking to the water.