The movie Supernova has been picking up critical acclaim and award nominations. The somber but incredibly powerful tale stars Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth as a same-sex couple, Tusker and Sam.
Together for 20 years, and after Tusker receives a diagnosis of early-onset dementia, the two men decide to hire an RV and take a tour of England’s Lake District. They want to spend one potentially final, happy vacation together, visiting friends, family, and places that have meaning to them.
Written and directed by Harry Macqueen, Supernova is a beautifully shot work. Besides being a moving love story that anyone with a heart can relate to, it also showcases the stunning beauty of the county of Cumbria, with many lingering shots of the awe-inspiring scenery.
If you’re visiting the UK, you’ll find Cumbria in the northwest of England, just beneath the border with Scotland.
This rural part of the country offers arguably England’s most stunning landscapes. If you want to explore it yourself after coronavirus restrictions are eased, here are five suggestions to follow in the footsteps of the Supernova couple.
The rural, market town of Keswick dates back 700 years. It is nestled in the very center of the Lake District and was the location for the bulk of filming for Supernova, and where the cast also stayed.
“I’d never been up to the Lake District before, and I have to say I was in awe,” Stanley Tucci said in an interview about the movie. “We all stayed in these holiday homes on this little river, and even though it rained every day and kept getting colder and colder, to the point that it started to snow towards the end, I didn’t mind it because I loved being there.”
The Lake District is a mixture of lakes, mountains and forests. The region’s 16 glacial lakes lie in long ribbons among its fells, moors, and green valleys. The area was designated as a National Park in the early 1950s (all 900 square miles), and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.
Keswick lies between Skiddaw mountain and the lake Derwentwater, just a ten-minute away. It still offers a popular market every Thursday and Saturday, plus plenty of outdoor activity options, with marinas for watersports, mountain bike hire, paragliding, and plenty of boot hire for hikers. There’s also a museum and art gallery.
2. Lake Windemere
At over 10 miles long, one mile wide, and 65 meters deep, Lake Windermere, is the biggest lake in England. It forms one of the region’s South Lakes. A good place to start your exploration is at Brockhole, the Lake District’s own Visitor Center. Besides offering all the information you could possibly need, Brockhole has its own tea rooms, terraced gardens stretching down to the lake, a treetop trek, bike and boat hire, kayaking, and indoor caving.
More adventure activities can be found at Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead. Take an 18-minute ride in a beautiful old steam train that runs between Windemere’s Lakeside Pier, Newby Bridge and Haverthwaite Village. Hire a rowing boat, book a ride on a pleasure steamer, or take a picnic to Fell Foot Park. If it happens to be raining, Wray Castle is a great attraction that offers cover from the elements.
3. Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top home
The Lake District has proved a haven for writers, poets, painters, and other creatives for hundreds of years (Tucci players an acclaimed writer in Supernova). One of the most famous Lake District residents is Beatrix Potter (1866-1943).
Potter used to visit the region as a child on holiday and fell in love with it. She bought a home there, Hill Top, in 1905, following the success of her first children’s books. She went on to buy the neighboring Castle Farm and several other properties in nearby Sawrey, including her later home, Castle Cottage.
Hill Top has been preserved exactly as it was when Potter died in 1943 and is one of the region’s most popular tourist sites. If visiting, perhaps stop off for lunch or dinner at the neighboring Tower Bank Arms. You’ll also find a Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, and a family-friendly World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness on Windermere.
Fans of the romantic poets can also visit a former home of William Wordsworth, Dove Cottage, in Grasmere.
Like Keswick, Ambleside is another Lake District town that is hugely popular with tourists. Many choose to use it as their base to explore the wider area. It offers a distinctive, Cumbrian sense of time and place, with many of its older buildings built from limestone, granite, and red sandstone. From Ambleside, you can catch a ferry across Lake Windermere to Bowness and Newby Bridge. You can even, during the summer months, take a horsedrawn cart from Ambleside to Waterhead Pier.
A short walk from Ambleside is Stock Ghyll Force, a stunning, 70-foot waterfall, and the eight acres of Stagshaw Gardens. Again, the town offers plenty of opportunities to join outdoor activities, such as abseiling and climbing or to hire hiking equipment.
5. Immerse yourself in a historic home
The Lake District offers numerous stately homes, manor houses and castles. Parts of Dalemain House and Gardens, in Penrith, date back to the 12th century. Holker Hall is an Elizabethan-style manor house in Cartmel, with stunning landscaped gardens full of rare conifers and rhododendrons.
Hutton-In-The-Forest, in Penrith, is another stately home with parts dating back to medieval times, and an interior designed by the hugely influential Victorian designer William Morris. Other awe-inspiring buildings to visit include Levens Hall in Levens, Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass and Sizergh Castle near Kendal.