Things to Do & See in Lake District

The Lake District, located in the picturesque county of Cumbria, England, is a beloved destination for nature lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and those seeking a peaceful retreat. Renowned for its stunning landscapes, quaint villages, and rich cultural heritage, the Lake District offers an array of activities and sights that cater to all interests. Here’s a comprehensive guide to the top things to do and see in this enchanting region, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by visitors.

Lake District National Park Lakes

The Lake District National Park is home to some of the most beautiful and serene lakes in England. Each lake has its unique charm and attractions:

  • Lake Windermere: The largest natural lake in England, offering boat cruises, water sports, and breathtaking scenery.
  • Derwentwater: Known for its serene beauty, this lake is perfect for kayaking and paddleboarding, with the dramatic backdrop of Catbells.
  • Ullswater: Often compared to Lake Windermere in beauty, Ullswater offers steamer cruises and is surrounded by stunning walking routes.
  • Coniston Water: Famous for its association with author Arthur Ransome and speed record attempts by Donald Campbell, this lake offers tranquility and adventure alike.
  • Buttermere: A smaller, picturesque lake ideal for peaceful walks and photography.
    Exploring these lakes provides a deeper appreciation of the natural beauty and tranquility the Lake District has to offer.

Waterfalls in the Lake District

Exploring Nature’s Beauty in the Lake District:

Nestled within the picturesque landscapes of the Lake District lie some of England’s most enchanting waterfalls. Each cascading stream offers a unique and mesmerizing experience for visitors, beckoning them to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature. From towering falls to hidden gems tucked away in secluded corners, these natural wonders captivate the imagination and soothe the soul.

  • Aira Force: Located near Ullswater, Aira Force is a 65-foot waterfall surrounded by beautiful woodland paths, offering an accessible and popular destination for visitors.
  • Stock Ghyll Force: Situated near Ambleside, Stock Ghyll Force features a picturesque 70-foot cascade, perfect for a leisurely woodland walk and enjoying the tranquil scenery.
  • Lodore Falls: Found near Derwentwater, Lodore Falls is particularly dramatic after heavy rain and inspired the famous poem “The Cataract of Lodore” by Robert Southey.
  • Ritson’s Force: Offering a more secluded experience, Ritson’s Force in Wasdale provides a peaceful spot to enjoy nature away from the crowds.
  • Dungeon Ghyll Force: Located in the Langdale Valley, Dungeon Ghyll Force is accessible via a scenic walk and is a favorite among hikers, offering impressive views along the way.
  • These waterfalls provide excellent opportunities to experience the natural beauty of the Lake District, with breathtaking views and picturesque trails waiting to be explored.

Castles in the Lake District

Discovering Historical Treasures in the Lake District:

The Lake District’s allure extends beyond its natural splendor to include a wealth of historical landmarks, notably its captivating castles. From ancient Roman roots to Victorian grandeur, these sites offer a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage:

  • Muncaster Castle: Situated near Ravenglass, Muncaster Castle enchants visitors with its stunning gardens, bird of prey center, and a history dating back to the Roman era.
  • Sizergh Castle: Nestled near Kendal, Sizergh Castle invites exploration of medieval life through its impressive architecture, beautiful gardens, and scenic estate walks.
  • Wray Castle: Overlooking Lake Windermere, Wray Castle stands as a Victorian neo-Gothic masterpiece, providing engaging activities and breathtaking lake views for visitors to enjoy.
  • Lowther Castle: Amidst dramatic ruins and extensive gardens, Lowther Castle offers a captivating blend of history and nature, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its storied past.

Exploring these castles provides a unique opportunity to delve into the region’s rich heritage while enjoying some of the Lake District’s most picturesque settings.

Lake District Hikes

Exploring the Majestic Trails of the Lake District :

Adventurers flock to the Lake District for its exhilarating hikes, each trail offering a unique blend of challenge and scenic beauty. Here are some notable hikes that showcase the diverse terrain of this captivating region:

  • Fairfield Horseshoe: Embark on the classic 10-mile circuit of the Fairfield Horseshoe, which rewards hikers with panoramic views of surrounding valleys and shimmering lakes.
  • Blencathra via Sharp Edge: Thrill-seekers will relish the challenge of Blencathra via Sharp Edge, a steep and narrow ridge that requires both caution and skill, but offers unparalleled vistas as a reward.
  • The Langdale Pikes: Immerse yourself in the rugged landscape of the Langdale Pikes, where peaks like Harrison Stickle and Pike of Stickle provide excellent vantage points amidst dramatic scenery.
  • Haystacks: Follow in the footsteps of famed fell-walker Alfred Wainwright on the moderate hike to Haystacks, known for its striking views and picturesque tarns that dot the landscape.
  • High Street: Traverse the ancient Roman road of High Street on a high-level walk that offers sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and the chance to encounter wild ponies along the way.

These hikes offer an opportunity to immerse yourself in the raw beauty and diverse terrain of the Lake District, making them a must for any hiking enthusiast seeking adventure amidst stunning landscapes.

Water Activities in the Lake District

The Lake District is a paradise for water enthusiasts, offering an abundance of activities across its numerous lakes and waterways. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-pumping adventures or serene aquatic experiences, there’s something for everyone. Here are some top water activities to enjoy in the Lake District:

. Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP):
For a fun and engaging way to explore the lakes, try stand-up paddleboarding. Popular spots like Coniston Water and Derwentwater offer calm waters ideal for SUP. This activity combines balance and core strength, providing a great workout while immersing you in the natural beauty of the region.

. Sailing:
The larger lakes, such as Windermere and Ullswater, are excellent for sailing. With steady winds and ample space, these lakes provide perfect conditions for sailing enthusiasts. You can rent sailboats or join a sailing school to learn the ropes and enjoy the freedom of gliding across the water.

. Kayaking and Canoeing:
The Lake District is a paradise for water enthusiasts, offering countless opportunities for kayaking and canoeing. Paddle through serene waters while surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, with popular spots including Lake Windermere, Derwentwater, and Ullswater. For those seeking a more thrilling adventure, Honister Canyoning provides an exhilarating experience as you navigate through gorges, jump into plunge pools, and slide down natural rock formations. This activity combines the excitement of water sports with the rugged beauty of the Lake District, making it a must-try for adventure seekers.

. Wild Swimming:
Experience the refreshing waters of the Lake District with a wild swim. Grasmere, Buttermere, and Wast Water are popular spots for a dip, offering crystal-clear waters surrounded by breathtaking scenery. Always ensure you swim safely, checking local guidelines and conditions before diving in.

. Fishing:
Anglers will find plenty of opportunities to cast their lines in the Lake District. Windermere, Ullswater, and Bassenthwaite Lake are renowned for their rich fishing grounds. Whether you’re fly fishing for trout or coarse fishing for pike and perch, the lakes provide a serene setting for a day of fishing.

. Boat Cruises:
For a more relaxed water experience, enjoy a scenic boat cruise on Windermere or Ullswater. These cruises offer a leisurely way to take in the stunning vistas and learn about the local history and wildlife. Sunset cruises are particularly magical, providing an unforgettable way to end the day.

These water activities not only allow you to connect with the natural beauty of the Lake District but also provide a refreshing and exciting way to explore this enchanting region. Whether you’re seeking adventure or tranquility, the waters of the Lake District are waiting to be discovered.

Museums in the Lake District

Exploring Cultural Treasures in the Lake District:

While the Lake District is renowned for its natural splendor, it also harbors a trove of museums that illuminate the region’s rich history and culture. Here are a few notable museums worth exploring:

  • Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere: Delve into the world of the renowned poet William Wordsworth at the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere, where visitors can immerse themselves in his life and works.
  • Lakeland Motor Museum, Ulverston: Take a journey through time at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Ulverston, where a unique collection of vintage cars, motorcycles, and memorabilia offers insight into the history of transportation in the area.
  • Keswick Museum and Art Gallery: Discover the diverse exhibits at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery, which showcase local archaeology, geology, and art, providing a comprehensive overview of the Lake District’s heritage.
  • Derwent Pencil Museum: The Derwent Pencil Museum, dedicated to the history of pencil making, offers a unique and intriguing experience, featuring the world’s longest colored pencil measuring almost 8 meters and interactive exhibits that detail the process of pencil manufacturing.

These museums offer a perfect blend of education and entertainment, making them ideal destinations for visitors eager to delve deeper into the cultural tapestry of the Lake District.

Art Galleries in the Lake District

Exploring Artistic Expression in the Lake District:

Beyond its natural allure, the Lake District boasts a thriving arts scene, with numerous galleries showcasing a diverse array of artwork. Here are a few standout galleries worth visiting:

  • Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere: Immerse yourself in the stunning landscape paintings of the renowned Cooper family at the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, capturing the essence of the Lake District’s mountains and valleys.
  • Cookhouse Gallery, Keswick: Discover contemporary artwork by local artists at the Cookhouse Gallery in Keswick, offering a dynamic mix of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics inspired by the surrounding landscape.
  • Old Courthouse Gallery, Ambleside: Explore the work of emerging and established artists at the Old Courthouse Gallery in Ambleside, where regular exhibitions showcase a variety of styles and mediums.
  • Lakeside Gallery, Rheged, Penrith: Experience changing exhibitions of contemporary art and craft at the Lakeside Gallery at Rheged near Penrith, providing a unique cultural experience for visitors.

These art galleries offer a wonderful opportunity to delve into the creative talents inspired by the beauty of the Lake District, making them a must-visit for art enthusiasts and cultural explorers alike.

Best Walks in the Lake District

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the breathtaking landscapes of the Lake District with these top-rated walks. From challenging mountain ascents to gentle lakeside strolls, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this hiker’s paradise. Whether you’re seeking panoramic views from lofty peaks or tranquil moments by serene lakes, these walks promise unforgettable experiences amidst the natural beauty of the Lake District.

Discover some of the most stunning walks the Lake District has to offer:

  • Helvellyn Walk:
    Embark on an adventure along the iconic Helvellyn route, which features the thrilling Striding Edge ridge. This challenging yet rewarding hike offers breathtaking views from the summit, making it a favorite among experienced hikers. Traverse the dramatic landscape and soak in the beauty of the surrounding fells while experiencing the thrill of conquering one of the Lake District’s highest peaks.
  • Catbells Walk:
    Perfect for families and beginners, the Catbells walk is renowned for its relatively easy ascent and spectacular vistas over Derwentwater and Keswick. As you ascend the well-defined path, enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the charming town of Keswick and the serene waters of Derwentwater below. With its accessible route and stunning scenery, Catbells is a must-do for visitors of all ages.
  • Orrest Head Walk:
    For a shorter yet equally rewarding experience, embark on the Orrest Head walk, which offers stunning views of Lake Windermere and the surrounding fells. This gentle ascent is perfect for beginners or those looking for a leisurely stroll with breathtaking scenery. As you reach the summit, be captivated by the panoramic vistas stretching across the tranquil waters of Lake Windermere and the majestic peaks beyond. Orrest Head provides a perfect introduction to the beauty of the Lake District’s landscapes.

Boat Rides in the Lake District

Exploring the Lake District by boat is an essential part of any visit to this picturesque region. Lake Windermere, England’s largest lake, offers a variety of boat cruises, from leisurely sightseeing tours to romantic sunset cruises. Ullswater, often described as the most beautiful of the lakes, can be explored by traditional steamers or rowing boats, providing a tranquil experience surrounded by stunning scenery. Coniston Water is famous for its historic steam yacht, the Gondola, offering elegant cruises reminiscent of a bygone era. Derwentwater boasts scenic boat trips with stops at various jetties, allowing visitors to hop on and off to explore charming lakeside villages and walking trails. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or simply a unique perspective of the Lake District’s beauty, a boat ride on one of its shimmering lakes is an experience not to be missed.

Lodge Cabins in the Lake District

For a truly immersive experience, consider staying in one of the many lodge cabins scattered throughout the Lake District. These cabins offer a unique blend of comfort and nature, providing the perfect base for exploring the area:

. Forest Holidays at Grizedale Forest: Nestled in the heart of Grizedale Forest, these cabins offer luxury and seclusion, with hot tubs and stunning forest views.

. Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat: Located near Bassenthwaite Lake, this retreat features stylish cabins with modern amenities and easy access to local attractions.

. Lake District Lodge Holidays: Offering a variety of cabins across popular locations like Windermere, Coniston, and Ullswater, these lodges provide a cozy and convenient stay.

. White Cross Bay Holiday Park: Situated on the shores of Lake Windermere, this park offers a range of cabins with excellent facilities, including a swimming pool and on-site dining.

Staying in a lodge cabin allows you to wake up to the sounds of nature, enjoy scenic views right from your doorstep, and relax in a peaceful setting after a day of adventure.

Lake District Breaks

Explore the diverse and charming locations within the Lake District, perfect for a memorable city break.

  • Windermere the Lake District
    Windermere, the largest natural lake in England, is a hub for water sports, boat cruises, and scenic walks. The town itself offers charming shops, cafes, and the World of Beatrix Potter attraction.
  • Derwentwater Lake District
    Derwentwater, known for its stunning beauty, provides opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and picturesque walks around its perimeter. Nearby Keswick is a vibrant town with plenty of attractions and activities.
  • Ullswater Lake District
    Ullswater, often compared to Windermere in beauty, is ideal for steamer cruises and surrounded by beautiful walking routes, including the famous Ullswater Way. The nearby Aira Force waterfall is a must-visit.
  • Helvellyn Lake District
    Helvellyn, one of the highest peaks in the Lake District, offers challenging hikes with breathtaking views. The iconic Striding Edge ridge is a favorite among experienced hikers seeking adventure and stunning vistas.
  • Old Man of Coniston Lake District
    The Old Man of Coniston is a popular fell offering rewarding hikes with panoramic views of Coniston Water and the surrounding area. The village of Coniston provides a quaint base for exploring the region.
  • Buttermere Lake District
    Buttermere is a serene and picturesque lake ideal for peaceful walks and photography. The surrounding fells offer moderate hikes with stunning views, making it a favorite for nature lovers.
  • Grasmere Lake District
    Grasmere, famous for its connection to poet William Wordsworth, offers charming village streets, traditional tearooms, and scenic walks around Grasmere Lake. Don’t miss the delicious Grasmere Gingerbread.
  • Rannerdale Lake District
    Rannerdale is renowned for its bluebells in spring, creating a magical landscape. The Rannerdale Knotts walk offers relatively easy hiking with beautiful views of Crummock Water and Buttermere.
  • Lake District Wildlife Park
    Located near Bassenthwaite, the Lake District Wildlife Park is home to a variety of animals and offers family-friendly activities and educational experiences in a beautiful setting.
  • Tarn Hows Lake District
    Tarn Hows is a picturesque spot ideal for a leisurely walk. The circular path around the tarn provides stunning views of the surrounding fells and is accessible for all ages and abilities.
  • Wastwater Lake District
    Wastwater, the deepest lake in England, is surrounded by dramatic scenery including Scafell Pike. It’s a perfect destination for those seeking tranquility and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Rydal Lake District
    Rydal Water, near Ambleside, is a smaller lake offering peaceful walks and beautiful views. The nearby Rydal Mount, the historic home of William Wordsworth, is open to visitors.
  • Langdale Valley Lake District
    Langdale Valley is a favorite among hikers and climbers, offering a range of trails from easy walks to challenging climbs. The valley’s stunning landscapes make it a must-visit destination.
  • Hill Top Lake District
    Hill Top, the 17th-century farmhouse of Beatrix Potter, is now a museum dedicated to her life and work. Located near Sawrey, it provides a fascinating glimpse into the beloved author’s world.
  • Scafell Pike Lake District
    Scafell Pike, the highest peak in England, offers a challenging but rewarding hike with panoramic views from the summit. It’s a bucket-list destination for avid hikers.
  • Ravenglass Lake District
    Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District, offers a unique blend of coastal and rural scenery. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a popular attraction providing scenic train rides.
  • Grizedale Lake District
    Grizedale Forest offers a mix of walking and cycling trails, sculpture installations, and the Go Ape treetop adventure. It’s a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts and families.

Romantic Getaway in the Lake District

The Lake District is a perfect destination for couples seeking a romantic escape, offering an enchanting blend of natural beauty, serene landscapes, and charming accommodations. For those looking to make their stay special, consider booking one of the many romantic Lake District cottages, where cozy fireplaces and picturesque views set the stage for an unforgettable experience. Begin your romantic journey with a leisurely stroll along the shores of Lake Windermere, where you can take in the breathtaking scenery hand-in-hand. For a more intimate experience, embark on a private boat cruise and watch the sunset over the tranquil waters.

Lake District holidays for couples often include staying in romantic cabins that offer luxurious amenities, such as private hot tubs, lake views, and sumptuous breakfast spreads. Some of the most premium romantic stays in the Lake District include:

. Gilpin Hotel & Lake House – Known for its elegant rooms, private hot tubs, and beautiful lake views, this hotel offers a luxurious and intimate setting for couples.

. Linthwaite House – Set on a hilltop overlooking Lake Windermere, Linthwaite House combines modern luxury with classic charm, featuring beautifully appointed rooms and fine dining.

. The Samling – This boutique hotel offers stunning lake views, exquisite cuisine, and luxurious accommodations, perfect for a romantic escape.

. Lakeside Hotel & Spa – Located on the shores of Lake Windermere, this hotel provides a serene and romantic atmosphere with a top-notch spa and elegant dining options.

. Holbeck Ghyll – With its spectacular views of Lake Windermere, this country house hotel is renowned for its romantic ambiance, exceptional service, and gourmet dining.

Indulge in a candlelit dinner at one of the many fine dining restaurants, where you can savor gourmet cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients. Don’t miss a visit to the quaint village of Grasmere, where you can explore the historic home of poet William Wordsworth, whose romantic poetry was inspired by the very landscapes you’re enjoying.

For a truly memorable experience, take a scenic drive or a leisurely bike ride through the picturesque valleys and rolling hills, stopping at hidden gems and secluded spots along the way. Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary, a honeymoon, or simply enjoying each other’s company, the Lake District offers countless opportunities to create lasting memories of your romantic holiday. Romantic stays in the Lake District promise to be a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and timeless beauty.

Things to do in Keswick

Discover the vibrant town of Keswick and explore its surrounding attractions. Here are some must-visit places:

. Castlerigg Stone Circle: Step back in time and marvel at the ancient beauty of Castlerigg Stone Circle, one of the most atmospheric prehistoric monuments in the Lake District. Set against the backdrop of majestic fells, this Neolithic stone circle offers a mesmerizing experience and stunning views.

. Whinlatter Forest: Immerse yourself in nature at Whinlatter Forest, England’s only true mountain forest. With its network of walking and cycling trails, exhilarating mountain bike routes, and captivating wildlife, Whinlatter Forest offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventures and exploration.

. Catbells: Conquer the iconic Catbells fell and enjoy panoramic views of Derwentwater and the surrounding fells. This family-friendly hike is a favorite among visitors for its stunning vistas and relatively easy ascent, making it an ideal outdoor adventure for all ages.

. Aira Force Waterfall: Experience the beauty and power of nature at Aira Force Waterfall, a stunning cascade nestled in the heart of the Lake District. Follow the winding paths through ancient woodlands and be rewarded with the sight and sound of this majestic waterfall plunging into the rocky gorge below.

. Lake District Wildlife Park: Encounter a fascinating array of animals from around the world at the Lake District Wildlife Park. From adorable meerkats to majestic birds of prey, this award-winning wildlife park offers a memorable day out for the whole family.

. The Lakes Distillery: Discover the art of distilling at The Lakes Distillery and embark on a guided tour to learn about the production of their premium spirits. Sample a selection of whiskies, gins, and vodkas, and explore the distillery’s picturesque surroundings overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake

. Keswick Outdoor Market: Keswick is bustling with activities and attractions that cater to a wide range of interests. As a visitor, you won’t want to miss the Keswick Outdoor Market, held every Thursday and Saturday in the Market Square. This vibrant market is a treasure trove of local produce, crafts, and unique gifts. You can stroll through the stalls filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade jams, artisanal cheeses, and locally sourced meats. Additionally, the market features an array of handcrafted items, from jewelry and pottery to textiles and artwork, making it a perfect spot to find a special souvenir. The lively atmosphere, friendly vendors, and picturesque setting make the Keswick Outdoor Market a must-visit destination during your visit to Keswick in the Lake District.

To know more check Keswick Tourist Attractions here

Frequently asked questions:

1. Can you wild camp in the Lake District?
Wild camping in the Lake District is not legally permitted without the landowner’s permission, but it is often tolerated in remote areas as long as campers adhere to the Leave No Trace principles and respect the environment. It is advisable to camp high above the fells, away from popular spots, and to pitch late and leave early.

2. How many lakes are in the Lake District?
The Lake District has one official lake, Bassenthwaite Lake, with the rest of its bodies of water referred to as meres, tarns, and waters. There are sixteen main bodies of water in the region, including Windermere, Ullswater, and Derwentwater.

3. Dog-friendly places to stay in the Lake District
The Lake District offers numerous dog-friendly accommodations, including Keswick Reach Lodge Retreat, which provides dog-friendly lodges, and Forest Holidays at Grizedale Forest, which welcomes pets in many of its cabins. Many hotels and bed and breakfasts in areas like Windermere, Keswick, and Ambleside also accommodate dogs.

4. Can you swim in the lakes in the Lake District?
Yes, swimming is allowed in many of the lakes in the Lake District, such as Windermere, Ullswater, and Derwentwater. However, it is important to be aware of local conditions and safety guidelines, as some areas may have restrictions or specific safety concerns.

5. Can you camp in the Lake District?
Yes, there are numerous campsites throughout the Lake District, offering a range of facilities from basic to fully equipped sites with amenities. Wild camping is also practiced in more remote areas, but it should be done responsibly and in accordance with local guidelines and the Leave No Trace principles.

6. Can you swim in Lake Windermere?
Yes, you can swim in Lake Windermere. It is a popular spot for open water swimming, especially during the warmer months. Always be cautious of boat traffic, follow safety guidelines, and be aware of the water conditions before swimming.

7. Where is the Lake District in England?
The Lake District is located in the county of Cumbria in North West England. It is renowned for its stunning landscapes, including mountains, lakes, and forests, and is a popular destination for outdoor activities and nature exploration.

8. Walks for beginners in the Lake District
The Lake District offers several beginner-friendly walks, such as the Catbells walk, which provides stunning views of Derwentwater with a relatively easy ascent. Another great option is the Orrest Head walk near Windermere, which offers panoramic views after a short, gentle climb.

9. Can you fish in the Lake District?
Yes, fishing is permitted in many lakes and rivers in the Lake District, including Windermere and Ullswater. Anglers must have a valid Environment Agency rod license, and some lakes, like Derwentwater, also require a permit from local associations such as the Keswick Angling Association. Always check for any local regulations or restrictions before fishing.

10. Lake District for disabled visitors
The Lake District is increasingly accessible for disabled visitors, with many attractions and accommodations offering facilities for those with mobility issues. Accessible trails, such as the Tarn Hows circular path, provide scenic routes suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. Additionally, many visitor centers and boats on Windermere and Derwentwater are equipped to accommodate disabled visitors.

11. What day is Keswick outdoor market on
Keswick Outdoor Market, held every Thursday and Saturday in the Market Square