Escape to the Lakes – The First Tourists
In 1800 Coleridge complained that the Lakes were ‘alive and swarming with tourist’.
A summer ‘tour to the Lakes’ had become a fashionable adventure among the upper classes anxious to escape the suffocating towns.
In this entertaining book Robert Gambles portrays what it was like to be a tourist in those days.
Visitors were warned that the country was ‘wild, barren and frightful’, but guide books took them to picturesque beauty spots, ancient stone circles, spa resorts and the first tourist attractions. The Victorian lady sketched, studied botany, walked to distant waterfalls and climbed the highest fells.
Ruskin did not want ‘the ill-educated masses…to see Helvellyn while they are drunk’. Until then the genteel tourists could record in their journals how they had consumed buttered sops, thrilled to the echoes of gunfire, found fleas in their beds, and enjoyed a hearty picnic on the summit of Fairfield.
Black & white illustrations