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Things to do in Lake District

Things to Do in the Lake District

A Treasure Trove of Adventures and Experience

Located in Cumbria in the Northwest of England, the Lake District is a haven for nature lovers, adventure seekers, and those looking for a peaceful retreat.

With its breathtaking landscapes, shimmering lakes, and rich cultural heritage, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers an array of activities to suit every taste and interest.

Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a romantic getaway, or a solo expedition, the Lake District promises unforgettable experiences in all seasons.

From tranquil boat rides and scenic hikes to thrilling outdoor pursuits and cosy indoor attractions, here’s our comprehensive guide to the many fun things to do in the Lake District.

39 Fun Lake District Things To Do

1. The Cascade Spa and Leisure Club (Great for a Rainy Day)

The Cascade Spa and Leisure Club offers a perfect retreat. In the heart of the region, this luxurious facility provides a haven of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Visitors can indulge in a range of treatments, from soothing massages to revitalising facials, all performed by skilled therapists.

The club’s state-of-the-art leisure facilities include a well-equipped gym, a swimming pool, and a sauna, ensuring that your wellness routine doesn’t take a holiday.

Click here to find out more about Cascades…

Rowing Boats

2. Hiring Boats on Windermere

Experience the serene beauty of England’s largest lake by hiring a boat on Windermere.

This quintessential Lake District activity allows you to explore the tranquil waters at your own pace.

You can choose from a variety of vessels, including motorboats, rowing boats, and kayaks, to suit your preferences and skill level.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic to enjoy on one of the lake’s picturesque islands for a truly memorable Lakeland experience.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway La'al Ratty

3. Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

Step back in time and embark on a charming journey aboard the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as ‘La’al Ratty’.

This miniature steam railway offers a delightful seven-mile scenic trip from the coastal village of Ravenglass to the foot of England’s highest mountains.

As you chug along in the lovingly restored carriages, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Eskdale Valley, ancient woodlands, and rolling hills.

The journey takes about 40 minutes each way, providing ample opportunities for photography and wildlife spotting.

With seven request stops along the route, it’s also a fantastic way to access some of the area’s best walking trails.

This nostalgic ride is a must-do for both railway enthusiasts and families looking for a unique Lake District experience.

The La’al Ratty

A Pub Fire Place in the Lakes

4. Enjoy Some Local Cumbrian Delicacies

The Lake District, nestled in the heart of Cumbria, offers a mouth-watering array of local delicacies that reflect the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Savour the robust flavour of Cumberland sausage, a spiced, coiled sausage that’s been a local staple for centuries.

Indulge in the sweet and spicy notes of Grasmere Gingerbread, a unique treat that’s more biscuit than cake.

Don’t miss the chance to taste Herdwick lamb, which is prized for its distinctive flavour and is sourced from the hardy local sheep breed.

Wash it all down with a pint of locally brewed ale from one of Cumbria’s many microbreweries.

Enjoy local food here…

Afternoon Tea Backbarrow Newby Bridge

5. Treat Yourself to a Traditional English Afternoon Tea at the Whitewater Hotel

Indulge in a quintessentially British experience with a traditional afternoon tea at the Whitewater Hotel.

Nestled in the picturesque Leven Valley, this elegant establishment offers a delightful setting for this time-honoured ritual.

Sink into plush chairs as you’re served a tiered stand laden with an array of delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of exquisite pastries and cakes.

Sip on a perfectly brewed cup of tea, or perhaps treat yourself to a glass of champagne for a touch of luxury.

The Whitewater Hotel’s attention to detail and commitment to using locally sourced ingredients ensures a memorable afternoon tea experience.

Find out more about a traditional afternoon tea at the Whitewater Hotel…

Arctic char

6. Coarse Fishing in the Lake District

The Lake District offers excellent opportunities for coarse fishing enthusiasts.

With its numerous lakes, tarns, and rivers, the region is a paradise for anglers seeking a variety of freshwater species.

Try your luck at catching roach, bream, perch, pike, or tench in the peaceful surroundings of Windermere, Derwentwater, or Bassenthwaite Lake.

Many of the smaller tarns also provide ideal conditions for coarse fishing, often in more secluded settings.

Local tackle shops can provide valuable advice on the best spots and necessary permits.

Wild Swimming in the Lake District

7. Wild Swimming

Immerse yourself in the invigorating world of wild swimming in the Lake District’s pristine waters.

This exhilarating activity allows you to experience the region’s natural beauty from a unique perspective.

Plunge into the crystal-clear waters of Buttermere, Crummock Water, or Rydal Water for a refreshing dip surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

For the more adventurous, Ullswater offers longer stretches for endurance swimming.

Always prioritise safety by checking water conditions, swimming with a companion, and being aware of your limits.

Many local outdoor centres offer guided wild swimming experiences, providing expert knowledge on the best and safest spots.

Lowther Castle in Cumbria

8. Lowther Castle

Explore the captivating ruins of Lowther Castle, a striking testament to the Lake District’s rich history.

Located near Penrith, this grand 19th-century country house and its expansive gardens offer a fascinating day out for visitors of all ages.

Wander through the castle’s skeletal remains, which create a hauntingly beautiful backdrop for the meticulously restored gardens.

The 130 acres of grounds feature a variety of horticultural delights, including the intriguing ‘lost gardens’ which lay hidden for over 70 years before being rediscovered and lovingly brought back to life.

Children will adore the adventure playground, complete with a treetop walkway and slides.

For history enthusiasts, the exhibition in the stables provides insight into the castle’s colourful past and the powerful Lowther family.

Mountain Biking

9. Mountain Biking

The Lake District’s diverse terrain makes it a prime destination for mountain biking enthusiasts of all skill levels.

From gentle forest trails to challenging mountain passes, the region offers a wealth of routes to explore on two wheels.

Grizedale Forest is a popular spot, boasting a network of well-maintained trails ranging from family-friendly green routes to adrenaline-pumping black runs.

For more experienced riders, the Altura Trail in Whinlatter Forest provides thrilling descents and stunning views of Bassenthwaite Lake.

The Kentmere Loop offers a classic Lake District mountain biking experience with rocky climbs and exhilarating descents.

Many local bike shops offer rentals and guided tours, making it easy for visitors to hit the trails.

Fell Foot Park

10. Fell Foot Park

Situated at the southern tip of Lake Windermere, Fell Foot Park is a delightful lakeside haven perfect for a family day out.

This National Trust property offers a wealth of activities against the backdrop of stunning mountain views.

Visitors can enjoy gentle lakeside strolls, picnic on the expansive lawns, or relax in the scenic café overlooking the water.

For those keen on water activities, the boathouse provides row boat and kayak rentals, allowing you to explore the lake at your own pace.

Children will love the adventure playground, complete with a treehouse and slides.

The park’s pebble beach is ideal for paddling or simply soaking up the serene atmosphere.

Miles with Stiles

11. Miles without Stiles

The Lake District’s ‘Miles without Stiles’ initiative offers visitors of all abilities a fantastic opportunity to experience the region’s breathtaking landscapes.

These specially designed routes provide accessible paths free from obstacles like steps, stiles, and steep gradients, making them ideal for wheelchair users, families with pushchairs, and those with limited mobility.

With over 50 routes across the national park, ranging from short lakeside strolls to more challenging hill paths, there’s something for everyone.

Popular trails include the path around Tarn Hows, offering stunning views of the surrounding fells, and the Keswick Railway Path, which follows the old railway line along Derwentwater.

Each route is clearly graded and described, allowing visitors to choose paths that suit their abilities.

Miles Without Stiles

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway Near Backbarrow in Cumbria

12. Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Step back in time with a journey on the charming Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.

This preserved steam railway offers a nostalgic trip through the picturesque Leven Valley, connecting the village of Haverthwaite with Lakeside at the southern end of Windermere.

The lovingly restored steam locomotives and vintage carriages provide a delightful 3.2-mile journey lasting about 18 minutes.

As you chug along, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the surrounding countryside, including ancient woodlands and rolling hills.

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

The Lakes Aquarium

13. Lakes Aquarium

Dive into an underwater world at the Lakes Aquarium, situated on the southern shore of Lake Windermere.

This fascinating attraction offers visitors a chance to explore the diverse aquatic life of the Lake District and beyond.

The aquarium features various exhibits, including a recreated Lake District river and lake environment where you can observe native species like pike, perch, and eels.

A highlight is the UK’s largest collection of freshwater fish, showcasing the rich biodiversity of British waters.

The underwater tunnel provides an immersive experience, allowing you to walk beneath Windermere’s waters and observe diving ducks and other lake dwellers.

For those interested in more exotic species, the aquarium also houses tropical displays with colourful fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

Lakes Aquarium

Outdoor Activities Near Newby Bridge Ulverston

14. Watersports in the Lake District

The Lake District’s abundant waters offer a paradise for watersports enthusiasts.

With its numerous lakes, tarns, and rivers, the region provides endless opportunities for aquatic adventures.

Windermere, England’s largest lake, is a hub for various activities including sailing, windsurfing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Coniston Water is popular for kayaking and canoeing, allowing you to explore its tranquil shores and wooded islands.

For those seeking a bit more excitement, waterskiing and wakeboarding are available on Ullswater, while Derwentwater is ideal for wild swimming.

Many local centres offer equipment hire and lessons for beginners, ensuring everyone can enjoy the waters safely.

15. Windermere Jetty Museum

Discover the rich maritime heritage of England’s largest lake at the Windermere Jetty Museum.

This state-of-the-art facility, situated on the shores of Windermere, houses a fascinating collection of boats and steam launches that have graced these waters for over 200 years.

The museum’s striking contemporary design complements its historic contents, creating a unique visitor experience.

Inside, you’ll find meticulously restored vessels, from Victorian steam launches to record-breaking speedboats.

The museum’s interactive exhibits bring to life the stories of the people who built, owned, and sailed these craft.

A highlight is the working conservation workshop, where you can watch skilled craftspeople restore vintage boats using traditional techniques.

16. The Royalty Cinema

Experience the magic of cinema in a historic setting at The Royalty Cinema in Bowness-on-Windermere.

This charming picture house, dating back to 1927, offers a unique blend of vintage charm and modern technology.

With its preserved Art Deco features and plush red velvet seats, The Royalty provides a nostalgic atmosphere for enjoying the latest releases and classic films.

The single-screen theatre creates an intimate viewing experience, making it a perfect rainy-day activity or evening entertainment option in the Lake District.

17. Adventure Activities at Honister

Honister Slate Mine offers exhilarating experiences in the heart of the Lake District.

Tackle the Via Ferrata, a challenging climbing route up Fleetwith Pike, available in Classic or Xtreme versions.

Brave the Infinity Bridge, a suspended walkway high above the valley, or zoom down one of England’s longest zip wires for a bird’s-eye view of the landscape.

Underground mine tours provide insight into the area’s industrial heritage.

Tour Lakes Distillery

18. Tour Lakes Distillery

Experience the craft of spirit-making at The Lakes Distillery near Bassenthwaite Lake.

This modern facility offers engaging tours showcasing the production of their award-winning whisky, gin, and vodka.

Learn about the distillery’s history, sustainable practices, and local ingredients that make its spirits unique.

The tour concludes with a tasting session, allowing you to sample their range of products.

 

The Lakes Distillery

19. Pony Trekking in the Lake District

Experience the Lake District’s stunning landscapes on horseback with pony trekking.

These guided rides, suitable for beginners and experienced riders, traverse scenic trails and offer unique views of fells and valleys.

Local stables provide well-trained ponies and expert guides, ensuring a safe and enjoyable adventure for all ages.

It’s a memorable way to explore the countryside and connect with nature.

Ambleside

20. Visit the Local Lake District Towns and Villages

Explore the charming towns and villages that dot the Lake District landscape.

From the bustling streets of Ambleside and Keswick to the quaint charm of Grasmere and Hawkshead, each locality offers its own unique character.

Browse independent shops, sample local cuisine in cosy cafes, and soak in the authentic Cumbrian atmosphere.

These picturesque settlements provide a perfect blend of history, culture, and scenic beauty, offering a glimpse into traditional Lake District life.

Grange-over-Sands United Kingdom

21. Holker Hall & Gardens

Discover the grandeur of Holker Hall, a Victorian country house surrounded by 25 acres of stunning gardens.

Tour the opulent interiors, showcasing fine art and antiques.

Explore the meticulously landscaped grounds, featuring formal gardens, woodland walks, and a labyrinth.

The estate also hosts seasonal events and houses a café serving local produce.

Holker Hall offers a perfect blend of history, horticulture, and Cumbrian heritage in a picturesque setting.

22. Orienteering at Whinlatter

Experience the thrill of navigation at Whinlatter Forest, England’s only true mountain forest.

With permanent orienteering courses suitable for beginners to experts, visitors can test their map-reading skills while exploring stunning woodland trails.

The forest offers varying difficulty levels, from family-friendly routes to challenging courses for experienced orienteers. Maps and compasses are available at the visitor centre.

Lake District Wildlife Park

23. Visit the Lake District Wildlife Park

Explore over 100 species of animals at this family-friendly park near Bassenthwaite Lake.

See rare breeds and endangered species, including lemurs, otters, and birds of prey. Enjoy daily animal talks, feeding sessions, and bird-of-prey flying displays.

The park offers hands-on experiences and a large adventure playground for children.

Lake Windermere from Brockhole

24. Activities at Brockhole

Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre, offers a diverse range of activities for all ages.

Try the exhilarating Treetop Trek, enjoy water sports on Windermere, or explore the adventure playground.

The site features beautiful gardens, a café with lake views, and an exhibition about the Lake District.

With archery, mini-golf, and bike hire also available, Brockhole provides a perfect family day out with stunning scenery and varied entertainment options all in one location.

Paddleboarding in the Lakes

25. Paddleboarding on Lake Windermere

Experience the tranquillity of England’s largest lake from a unique perspective.

Stand-up paddleboarding on Windermere offers a peaceful way to explore its shores and bays.

Suitable for beginners and experienced paddlers alike, it’s an excellent full-body workout with stunning views.

Many local providers offer equipment hire and lessons.

Castlerigg Stone Circle

26. Explore Castlerigg Stone Circle

Discover one of Britain’s oldest and most atmospheric stone circles, dating back to 3000 BC.

Set against a backdrop of stunning mountain scenery, Castlerigg offers panoramic views of Helvellyn and High Seat.

The site consists of 38 stones in a circular formation, with a rectangular arrangement within.

It’s free to visit and open year-round, providing a mystical and photogenic experience.

Early morning or sunset visits often offer the most dramatic lighting for this ancient and enigmatic Neolithic monument.

Windermere lake cruises

27. Lake Cruise on Windermere with Windermere Lake Cruises

Enjoy a scenic voyage on England’s largest lake with Windermere Lake Cruises. Choose from a variety of routes, from short trips to full lake tours.

Admire stunning views of mountains, secluded bays, and wooded islands from the comfort of modern or traditional vessels.

Cruises depart regularly from Bowness, Ambleside, and Lakeside, and you can combine your trip with local attractions.

It’s a relaxing way to experience the beauty of Windermere and the surrounding landscape, suitable for all ages and weather conditions.

Windermere Lake Cruises

28. Windermere Golf Club

Experience golfing amidst breathtaking Lake District scenery at Windermere Golf Club.

This 18-hole course offers challenging play and spectacular views of the surrounding fells and glimpses of Lake Windermere.

The course features natural hazards and undulating terrain, providing an enjoyable test for golfers of all abilities.

29. Indoor Climbing Walls

Challenge yourself on the Lake District’s indoor climbing walls, perfect for all weather conditions.

Kendal Wall and Keswick Climbing Wall offer a range of routes for beginners to experts.

Both feature bouldering areas and roped climbs, with equipment hire and instruction available.

These centres provide a safe environment to develop skills or simply enjoy a fun, physical activity.

A Cumbrian fell view

30. Hike Up a Lakeland Fell

Experience the essence of the Lake District by conquering one of its iconic fells.

From gentle slopes to challenging peaks, there’s a hike for every ability.

Popular options include Catbells for beginners, Helvellyn for experienced hikers, and Scafell Pike for the ambitious.

Enjoy panoramic views, diverse flora, and a sense of achievement.

31. Lakes Laser Tag

Experience adrenaline-pumping fun at Lakes Laser Tag, located in Ambleside.

This indoor arena offers exciting laser combat games suitable for all ages.

Navigate through a multi-level battlefield, complete with obstacles and hiding spots, as you compete against friends or family.

32. Escape Room at Cliffhanger Rooms

Test your wits at Cliffhanger Rooms in Keswick, offering immersive escape room experiences.

Work together in small groups to solve puzzles, crack codes, and uncover clues within a time limit.

Choose from themed rooms with varying difficulty levels, suitable for families, friends, or team-building events.

Muncaster Castle

33. Muncaster Castle

Explore the historic Muncaster Castle, a medieval fortress with stunning gardens overlooking the Eskdale Valley.

Tour the castle’s opulent rooms, filled with art and antiques. Enjoy daily bird of prey displays in the grounds. The extensive gardens feature a maze and bluebell woods.

Known for its ghostly tales, the castle offers evening ghost tours.

With a playground and special events throughout the year, Muncaster provides a mix of history, nature, and family entertainment in a picturesque Lake District setting.

Visit Muncaster Castle

34. The Home of Wordsworth

Visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere, the former home of renowned poet William Wordsworth.

Explore the cottage where Wordsworth lived and wrote some of his most famous poems. The adjacent Wordsworth Museum houses original manuscripts and personal belongings.

Wander through the charming garden that inspired much of his nature poetry. Guided tours offer insights into the poet’s life and work.

Mountain Goat Lake District Tours

35. Enjoy a Lake District Tour with Mountain Goat

Experience the best of the Lake District with Mountain Goat’s guided tours.

These comprehensive excursions cover key attractions and hidden gems across the region. Knowledgeable drivers provide commentary on local history, culture, and landscapes.

Choose from a variety of routes, including Ten Lakes Spectacular, High Adventure, and Beatrix Potter’s Favourite Countryside.

Tours depart from major towns and accommodate small groups in comfortable minibuses.

Enjoy a Lake District Tour With Mountain Goat Tours.

36. The World of Beatrix Potter

Step into the enchanting world of Beatrix Potter at this delightful attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Experience life-sized recreations of scenes from Potter’s beloved stories featuring Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and other iconic characters.

The interactive exhibits bring her tales to life through sound and animation. Explore the Peter Rabbit garden and enjoy the tea room serving themed treats.

With a gift shop offering unique merchandise, it’s a magical experience for fans of all ages, providing insight into Potter’s life and her connection to the Lake District.

37. Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Enjoy family fun at Lakeland Maze Farm Park near Kendal.

The main attraction is the giant maize maze, redesigned annually with a new theme. Beyond the maze, meet and feed a variety of farm animals, including sheep, goats, and rabbits.

Kids can burn energy on go-karts, in the indoor play barn, or on outdoor play equipment.

38. The Kitchen & Walled Garden at The Lingholm Estate

Discover this hidden gem on the western shore of Derwentwater.

The Lingholm Estate, once a holiday home for Beatrix Potter, features a beautifully restored Victorian walled garden that inspired her tales.

The contemporary glass-walled café offers stunning views of the garden and serves locally sourced, seasonal dishes.

Explore the octagonal garden, home to a variety of plants and vegetables used in the kitchen.

A Lake District Ghyll

39. Ghyll Scrambling

Experience an exhilarating adventure in the Lake District’s mountain streams with ghyll scrambling.

This activity involves climbing up (or down) water-filled gorges, navigating natural obstacles, and plunging into pools.

It’s a thrilling way to explore hidden parts of the landscape, suitable for beginners and experienced scramblers alike.

Local guides provide equipment and ensure safety as you leap, slide, and splash your way through scenic ravines.

The Whitewater Hotel

Where to Stay in the Lake District

The Whitewater Hotel, situated in the scenic Leven Valley, offers a perfect blend of luxury and convenience for Lake District visitors.

Featuring comfortable rooms, stunning views, and a spa and leisure club, it’s an ideal base for exploring the region.

Its riverside location provides tranquillity, while proximity to attractions like Lake Windermere ensures easy access to key sites.

With exceptional dining featuring local Cumbrian cuisine, the Whitewater Hotel caters to both relaxation seekers and adventure enthusiasts, embodying the essence of Lake District hospitality.

The Whitewater Hotel in Newby Bridge…

Some Final Notes on What to do in the Lake District

The Lake District offers an incredible array of activities to suit every taste and interest.

From tranquil lake cruises and historic sites to adrenaline-pumping adventures and charming villages, this stunning corner of England offers something for everyone.

Whether you’re seeking relaxation, outdoor thrills, cultural experiences, or family fun, the Lake District’s diverse attractions ensure a memorable visit.

So pack your walking boots, bring your sense of adventure, and prepare to be captivated by the natural beauty and rich experiences that await in the Lake District.

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