girl reading a book in a tent

Our Pick of Books Inspired by the Lake District

13 November 2020Local area

The Lakes dramatic landscape has inspired writers for centuries. While you’re unable to visit us, our team has compiled a list of their top 10 Lake District books. We hope they’ll immerse you in the beauty of the area, help you find your adventurous spirit, learn a few fast facts and teach you about local life.  There’s something for everyone from Arthur Ransome (although our top pick here isn’t the obvious choice) and the Herdy Shepherd, to a few more thrilling, murder mystery choices.

We’d love to hear about your favourite Lake District reads too – tag us in on social media @parkcliffe!

1. Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome

Part of the famous Swallows and Amazons series, many people consider ‘Pigeon Post’ to be Arthur Ransome‘s best book. The book is part of the adventure genre and set amongst the Coniston Fells somewhere near the Coppermines valley with a shocking and brilliant finale.

2. The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams

The Plague Dogs is narrated by two dogs, Snitter and Rowf, who have narrowly escaped from a government research station that has an animal testing facility – located in the book – near Grizedale Forest. In the book, there are various maps which are drawn by Alfred Wainwright.

3. The Windermere Witness by Rebecca Tope

This popular book is about a woman called Simmy who is a wedding florist and finds herself to be a prime witness in a murder investigation. This is the first Lake District mystery book written by Tope who has a further four mystery books to her name, which continue to follow Simmy in some rather creepy goings on.

4. The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks

The first son of a shepherd, who was the first son of a shepherd himself, James Rebank’s and his family have lived and worked in and all over the Lake District for generations. James Rebank’s takes us through a shepherd’s year and gives us an honest and unique account of this rural life, so many of us now know so little about.

Guardian Review

5. I Never Knew That About the Lake District by Christopher Winn

Full to the brim with interesting facts and knowledge about the area’s landmarks and the history behind some of your favourite Lake District spots, this book is perfect ‘coffee table book’ to take a look in after your day exploring the Lakes.

6. The English Lakes: A History by Ian Thompson

Don’t run from the title, we know it sounds as if it could be a little heavy but this book is great to read in small sections. The book is filled with old images of the Lake District and boats on the various Lakes. Thompson takes us back to the time where the Lake District was believed to be an inhospitable and dangerous landscape, the first travellers to the Lake District, the Lake District Poets, first rock-climbing and walking adventurers and the start of the conservation.

7. The Arsenic Labyrinth by Martin Edwards

A classic whodunit style story, historian Daniel finds a dark and cold winter in the Lake District tough with pressure on his current relationship rising. Daniel fears she might just leave, just like that other young woman Emma Bestwick all those years ago. Now, where did she go? Who knows. A case never solved is dug up as calls to the local newspaper dropping hints about Bestwick’s death bring the Cold Case Team and Daniel together again – but someone is desperate to keep the secrets of the past in the past.

8. The Coffin Trail by Martin Edwards

Daniel and his new love interest, Miranda, escape to the Lake District buying Tarn Cottage in Brackdale hoping to live the dream. But the past is coming crawling back. The Cold Case Team look into an old crime and the skeletons lying in Brackdale start to shake and rattle. Daniel and the Cold Case Team risk their lives to find a murderer prepared to kill again to hide an outrageous secret.

9. The Lake District Murder by Ernest Elmore

The book begins with a finding of a faceless body in a lonely and isolated garage. Inspector Meredith then starts a complex investigation – but every clue seems to lead to another puzzle. What was this? Murder? Suicide? What was the dead man’s plans? Why was he trying to flee the country? Follow the investigation and find out what happens against the idyllic landscape of the Lakes.

10. The Lake District Quiz Book by David Felton

635 questions to test your knowledge on people, places, culture and customs of Cumbria. The Lake District Quiz Book asks questions such as what fell was put on the market for £1.5 million in 2015? And, what is the highest pub in Lakeland?