ARIA FORCE WATERFALL, LAKE DISTRICT
Probably the most famous of the Lake District waterfalls, a visit to Aira Force is a thrilling experience and also an adventure. The main force falls 70 feet from below a stone footbridge but the wonderful landscape around it was conceived by the Howard family in the late 18th century. Having transformed an old hunting lodge into what is now Lyulph’s Tower, they landscaped the area around the waterfall, planting over half a million trees and establishing a network of tracks, footpaths and bridges, with the arboretum directly below Aira Force, containing 200 specimen conifers from all over the world, added later.
The walkways that have provided spectacular views of the waterfalls for over 200 years are still in use today, owned, preserved, updated and continuously maintained by the National Trust. Following the winding paths to their dramatic destination is a fantastic way to admire the landscape and you’ll become totally mesmerised by the labyrinth of fabulous trees before being bowled over by the magnificence of the Force.
If you want to combine a visit to Aira Force with a lakeside walk, you can spend a pleasant hour getting there on foot. Alternatively, the drive is less than ten minutes from the hotel. Avoid the busiest times if you can – generally between 11am and 3pm – as the car parks fill up fast. Plus, an early arrival gives you a better chance of spotting a red squirrel. Still in danger of extinction in England, Aira Force is one of the few places where they still thrive – a lovely opportunity for children to see one in the wild.
A trip to Aira Force makes a great outing for the family, especially in fine weather. There are walks of varying lengths and picnic spots by the lake and the glade. Kids can follow the tree trail and entertain themselves with numerous activity sheets.