Let Taylor Swift inspire your UK break
The 19th century had William Wordsworth and the 20th had Beatrix Potter. In 2020, a new generation of artist has arrived to strengthen the Lake District’s reputation as a place of peace and inspiration.
Pop icon Taylor Swift has fallen in love with England’s Lake District – and in her new single the lakes, she shows the world her appreciation.
‘Take me to the Lakes,’ she sings, ‘where all the poets went to die,’ in lyrics possibly inspired by her 2012 trip to Cumbria with former One Direction singer Harry Styles.
Swift describes England’s largest national park, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, as a place of liberation from technology. ‘I’m not cut out for all these cynical clones,’ she sings, ‘these hunters with cell phones.’
Visitors from across the world have had similar experiences of the Lakes – and since the coronavirus pandemic interrupted many international travel plans, lots of UK tourists are rediscovering the beautiful and remote landscapes of Britain.
There are many types of Lake District breaks, including summer hiking holidays and cool winter wonderland escapes in cosy country lodges. However, taking a Taylor Swift themed staycation could make for an inspiring itinerary.
What are my words worth? Taking the Wordsworth tour
Taylor Swift references William Wordsworth, the famous romantic poet, throughout her song. The writer, who composed poems such as I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud based on his experiences living in the Lake District, is still celebrated throughout the region.
Visit Wordsworth House in Cockermouth to see his place of birth, or head to Dove Cottage in Grasmere to experience the setting where he lived and worked, which is now home to the Wordsworth Museum.
Other locations, such as Glencoyne Bay and the Long Med and Her Daughters Stone Circle,served as artistic fuel for Wordsworth. Since Taylow Swift calls the Lake District a place ‘where all the poets come to die,’ you may also wish to visit Wordsworth’s grave at St Oswald’s Church.
The perfect place to cry: Lake Windermere
Swift calls the peaks that frame Windermere, England’s largest lake, ‘the perfect place to cry,’ which reflects the ethereal nature of the landscape. When its vast, glassy surface reflects the heavens, Windermere seems to express deep emotions.
The Langdale Pikes magnetise lovers of natural beauty, but there’s plenty else to see and do near the waters. The Windermere Jetty Museum tells stories of local boating culture, while Claife Heights and Orrest Head are popular hills for hiking.
Watch wisteria grow: Flora and fauna of the Lake District
There’s more to the national park than water, as Swift observes. Nature lovers can find montane flora nestled into the hills, some of which is extremely rare. For instance, the Alpine catchfly can be found on Hobcarton Crag – it’s one of just two British populations. Other rarities include pyramidal bugle and interrupted clubmoss.
Trek into the Lake District’s more remote corners and you might spot a red deer, peregrine falcon or nesting ospreys.
Bathe in cliffside pools: Chasing hidden waterfalls and swim spots
Taylor Swift took her ‘calamitous love and insurmountable grief’ for a swim in the Lake District’s crystalline pools, but you could simply take a friend or partner. The Lake District is home to dozens of waterfalls, many of which are accompanied by plunge pools.
Aira Force, near Ullswater, is an especially poetic place – it inspired Wordsworth’s poem Airey-Force Valley.
Booking a Lake District wild swimming tour can make the experience safer and help to ensure you have all the required kit, such as a wetsuit, which is especially important for beginners. This way, you can walk with peace of mind as you follow in Taylor Swift’s footsteps.