Lockdown Literature from The Lakes

Reading to Inspire Your Next Lakeland Stay

It’s somewhat of an understatement to say that the Lake District is celebrated for its literary connections – few destinations are as closely linked to literature. If the landscapes that have influenced literary giants past and present are on your ‘to-visit’ list you may enjoy our compilation of Lakeland reads to bring you a taste of Cumbria in book-form. Soak up the Lakes from your sofa until we see you again.


The Lake District Murder by John Bude

A classic 1930s mystery set amongst the stunning scenery of the Lake District with murder disguised as a suicide at the heart of the story. Let yourself be transported back to a time where crimes were solved by the power of leg-work, logical thinking and old-fashioned methods.


The Lake District Mysteries Series by Martin Edwards

A series of seven crime mysteries set in and around England’s Lake District, featuring Detective Chief Inspector Hannah Scarlett, leader of the Cumbria Constabulary Cold Case Review Team and historian Daniel Kind. Gentle, though by no means cosy, classic crime writing with the added bonus of attractive scenery.


The Grave Tattoo by Val McDermid

Back in Cumbria, the extremely heavy summer rains have unearthed the mummified body of a tattooed sailor in a peat bog. Could it be the body of one of the town’s legendary fugitives, Fletcher Christian? Scholar and native Lakelander Jane Gresham feels compelled to finally discover the truth about the myths and buried secrets rooted in her hometown. What she never expected was to find herself at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. A great read for mystery lovers with the added bonus of a Lakeland backdrop thrown in.


All Quiet on the Orient Express by Magnus Mills

Dive into a world of quirky characters in a story that centres on a man who finds himself stalled in the Lake District at the end of summer. He becomes enmeshed in the local culture and there follows a plot that’s powered by polite and at times sinister Britishness – with a subtle twist. Wry and darkly humorous.


An April Shroud by Reginald Hill

This is the fourth in the series of crime novels about Detective Inspector Peter Pascoe and his outrageous superintendent, Andrew Dalziel. On an enforced holiday, Dalziel’s car breaks down and he finds himself stranded in the Lake District and up to his ears in a case of embezzlement and murder. Another classic from one of Britain’s most consistently excellent crime novelists.


Lake District Mysteries by Rebecca Tope

Florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown moves up to the beautiful Lake District to escape personal tragedy, but soon finds herself acting as amateur sleuth, caught up in murders, mysteries and new tragedies in this seemingly peaceful setting. There are nine in the series by cosy crime writer Rebecca Tope that bring out a darker side to this majestic location.


I Never Knew That About the Lake District by Christopher Winn

Learn about the hidden places, the secrets and legends, wild characters and human stories that haunt England’s most mountainous region – from England’s wettest place to the country’s highest point and the resting place of Poet Laureates. A perfect introduction to the Lake District, this is a great choice for anyone wanting to discover the people and places that make the region so special.


Home at Grasmere: The Journal of Dorothy Wordsworth and the Poems of William Wordsworth

No selection of books about the Lake District would be complete without the appearance of the poet William Wordsworth. If you are a fan of Wordsworth’s poetry a visit to Dove Cottage his home in Grasmere is a must for your Lake District itinerary. This fabulous book includes extracts from Dorothy Wordsworth’s Journal (a writer in her own right) and a selection of her brother William’s poems and provides a vivid portrayal not only of what was what like to be the sister of a highly respected poet but also of what it was like to live at the beginning of the nineteenth century.


Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells Collection, 50th Anniversary Edition (7 book set) by Alfred Wainwright

Timeless masterpieces, these completely unabridged and unedited maps and text are just how Wainwright, fell-walking legend of his own lifetime, wrote them. To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the first guide the entire series of seven original volumes was reissued from the original plates. The books detail walks with clear maps to show the route and easy to follow walk descriptions – perfect to get planning your next route post-lockdown!


For Children

A Beatrix Potter Treasury by Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter is of course synonymous with the Lake District. This beautiful hard-backed treasury contains ten of her favourite illustrated tales as well as background on Beatrix Potter’s life story and the people and places that inspired her writing including photographs, original drawings, and letters.


Swallows and Amazons Collection (12 books set) by Arthur Ransome 

A summer of unforgettable discoveries and captivating adventures in small wooden boats for the children from two British families on holiday in the Lake District. The Walker children, aboard the Swallow battle it out with the Blackett sisters, aka the Amazon pirates. Magical reading for the young and young at heart.