The Duchess of Cambridge has said she loves to bring her children to this idyllic part of northwest England

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to embark on a boat trip on Lake Windermere
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Kate Middleton is back around the mountains and lakes that she loves.

The Duchess of Cambridge spent an active day on land and water in the Lake District in the rugged northwest of England.

As part of her ongoing campaign to showcase the benefits of spending time in nature, Kate kicked off the day by going mountain biking with some air cadets.

The mother of three, 39, "passionately believes that spending time outdoors plays a pivotal role in children and young people's future health and happiness, building foundations that last over a lifetime by encouraging active exploration and the opportunity to form and strengthen positive relationships," according to the palace.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Windermere Adventure Training Centre with RAF Cadets
Credit: ANDY STENNING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

When she visited the area in June 2019 with Prince William, Kate told locals that her children love the area and "walking in the fells." She also recalled how, when she was growing up, she loved to go "boulder hopping" in the countless streams that criss-cross the mountainsides.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visits the Windermere Adventure Training Centre with RAF Cadets
Credit: ANDY STENNING/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Tuesday's visit came as the RAF Air Cadets Windermere Adventure Training Centre was opened following a refit costing around $3 million (£2 million). Kate is the Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Air Force Cadets. Hundreds of cadets from around the U.K. will use the center during their visits to the spectacular Lake District "to build their confidence and leadership skills" as they work toward achieving their Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Kate's office at Kensington Palace said.

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After her morning with the air cadets, Kate was set to hear more about how the stunning lakeland area also provided healing from one of Europe's darkest chapters: the aftermath of the Holocaust.

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to embark on a boat trip on Lake Windermere
Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

She joined a boat trip with two of the Windermere Children, a group of 300 Holocaust survivors who were brought to stay in the Lake District in 1945 to help them recuperate following the atrocities they experienced in concentration camps and the ghettos of Nazi-occupied Europe.

"She was absolutely delightful," Ike Alterman, a 93-year-old survivor from Poland who was a prisoner at Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Theresienstadt, told PEOPLE. "We laughed, she asked questions and she wanted to know the answers. We talked about her kids and my kids, and how we love the lakes. I have two girls and two grandchildren. I told her what happened to me during the war and when I arrived and how I progressed in business later."

He added, "I didn't know what to expect, but we spoke like a couple of friends. She was so down-to-Earth." 

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to embark on a boat trip on Lake Windermere
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo

Arek Hersh, 92, was also joined by the Duchess on the boat. A survivor of Auschwitz, he lost his parents and his brothers and sisters — in total 81 members of his family perished. He settled in Leeds, Yorkshire, and worked as a mechanic and, in later years, as a landlord for students in the city. He is featured in the 2020 film The Windermere Children and the documentary The Windermere Children: In Their Own Words.

"It was very nice. She was very interested," he told PEOPLE. "It brought back happy memories of being on the lake."

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrives to embark on a boat trip on Lake Windermere
Credit: Chris Jackson/Getty Images

The Duchess's office explained she wanted to meet some of those who came to the area at the time and hear how they had been helped to heal from their traumatic experiences by undertaking outdoor recreation, sport and art therapy at the Calgarth Estate nearby.

That poignant part of Kate's visit to the Lake District very much fit in with both her and the other royals' desire to engender religious tolerance and understanding, as well as to find imaginative ways to educate about past atrocities.

Last year, Kate highlighted some of the incredible stories of survival amid the Nazi occupation of much of Europe when she photographed Holocaust survivors and their grandchildren.