Sally's guide to shopping in the Lake District
The main reason to visit the Lake District has to be the spectacular outdoors, but that doesn't mean we don't enjoy a relaxed shopping day as well! If you're having a rest day, why not take a wander around the area's smaller independent shops and then find a café in which to relax with a coffee, and watch the world go by. You're only problem is going to be choosing which of the Lake District's many towns and villages to spend your time in!
The market town of Keswick has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere, whichever day of the week you choose to visit, and a traditional market is held on Saturdays. It has a huge range of independent shops stocking gifts, speciality foods, toys, shoes, clothing and outdoor wear, and has a charming little arcade called Packhouse Court. Keswick has two parks to enjoy on a beautiful sunny day, Fitz Park and Hope Park, an enormous range of cafés, restaurants and pubs, and is close enough to the lake that you can even enjoy a stroll to the magnificent views from Friar's Crag - combining shopping and great views in a single day out! keswick.org
View our cottages in and around Keswick.
Penrith prides itself on its range of small independent shops, stocking everything from books to sweets - to tease your taste buds, it has an artisan bakery, cake shop, and even its very own smokery! Look out for the adorable Devonshire Arcade, an original indoor Victorian shopping arcade in the centre of town, which is home to small boutiques and food retailers. Penrith holds farmers' markets on the third Tuesday of the month (between March and December) in Market Square, and you can also find out about the town's history through the town trail.
Outside of Penrith itself, other great places to visit nearby include Larch Cottage Nurseries and its Red Barn Gallery and gift shop, and The Rheged Centre.
The birthplace of William Wordsworth, the historic town of Cockermouth boasts many locally owned speciality shops and is full of character - look out for the tiny but fascinating museum to the rear of JB Banks, the hardware store! Cockermouth is home to events including the Taste Cumbria food festival and Woolfest, a celebration of British wool.
Take a look at our properties in Cockermouth.
The historic city of Carlisle is north of the Lake District, but well worth a visit! Home to The Lanes Shopping Centre, the city has it all from big names to independent boutiques, and there are a number of delightful cafés hidden away just off the pedestrian-only zone. discovercarlisle.co.uk
The bustling village of Windermere is home to art galleries, a dress agency, Peter Hall & Son bespoke furniture makers, gift shops and two butchers - including this year's Supreme Champion at the British Pie Awards, Huddleston's Butchers! If you love a quality shoe shop, don't miss out on a visit to Gina Ricci, which stocks an enviable range of stylish shoes, handbags and accessories! You'll be absolutely spoilt for choice with cafés too, with outside tables a firm favourite at Café Italia and The Lighthouse, situated at opposite ends of the main street. Windermere is also home to the flagship store of the kitchenware retailer Lakeland, an absolute must-visit for the baker or home-cooking enthusiast!
Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the busiest areas of the Lake District at peak times, and has a lot to offer. Shops to look out for include Lakeland Leather, a Laura Ashley gift store, Pretty Things (fashion and accessories), The Herdy Company, Peter Rabbit & Friends, Bryson's bakery, Bath House, and Love the Lakes for a wide selection of local gifts. Combine a shopping trip with a boat ride with Windermere Lake Cruises, or a visit to The World of Beatrix Potter exhibition, an experience that will leave a smile on children's faces for the rest of their holiday!
Take a look at our cottages in the Windermere area.
As you travel a little further north of Windermere, you reach the small town of Ambleside where you begin to get a taste of the Lake District fells. The town bursts with shops containing outdoor clothing and footwear, books, gifts and bits and pieces for the home, and has a relaxed but vibrant atmosphere - it is also a university town, being home to one of the University of Cumbria campuses. Look out for yummy treats at The Apple Pie Café & Bakery near Bridge House! Just outside Ambleside itself, you can also pay a visit to Hayes Garden World, a real treat for the green-fingered amongst us! It has a lovely balcony on which to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea on a warm, sunny day.
As you reach Grasmere, the fells really start to make their presence felt! This delightful little village has a small road weaving its way through its centre, and is completely surrounded on all sides by dramatic hills. You'll find lots of small shops of interest here, including a pretty little arcade containing books, collectibles and gifts, towards the north of the village. The Heaton Cooper Studio is a particular must-see for the artists amongst us! Also look out for the National Trust gift shop, Grasmere Garden Village, Herdy, and the famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop!
View our cottages in the Grasmere area.
On the west side of Lake Windermere, Hawkshead is a firm favourite amongst visitors for its charming buildings and tiny streets. It's also a great place to find outdoor seating at a café or pub and soak up the atmosphere - after all, what's the rush?! Look out for Hawkshead Relish (for jams, pickles, chutneys and more!), The National Trust, and Poppi Red, a gift and tea shop.
Kendal is a historic market town to the south of the Lake District and is known locally as 'The Auld Grey Town' because many of its buildings were built from the local grey limestone! The town is full of character, much of which comes from its historic yards, hiding all manner of intriguing finds from cafés to specialist craft makers! You'll find just about anything you want or need in Kendal, from high street favourites such as Marks and Spencer, through to outdoor market stalls on a Wednesday and Saturday. You could also make time to visit the town's K Village, which contains outlet stores and the Terrazzo café, bar and restaurant, (you can see its mouth-watering menu online) and is just south of the town itself. In town, look out for Made in Cumbria, the Beales department store and the specialist shops in Wainwright's Yard.
Take a look at our properties in the South East Lake District.
Just south of the Lakes, Ulverston is home to a number of the small and sometimes quirky shops that have so often been driven out of bigger high streets across the country. The town has a super atmosphere, and you can't beat a walk to the Sir John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill - although steep, it's well worth the effort as you can look down onto the town and right across Morecambe Bay! Also look out for Cumbria Crystal, just outside the town, which has a factory shop and glass making demonstrations.
The charming village of Cartmel is the home of the renowned Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, which you can buy along with a feast of other locally produced goodies at the Carmel Village Shop. Cartmel has high-end gift shops, shops with toys and beautiful items for the home, and is even a favourite of Radio 2's DJ Chris Evans! Hidden away in Unsworth's Yard, you'll find a microbrewery, Cartmel Cheeses and a delightful kitchenware and wine store!
Situated on the edge of Morecambe Bay, this small town has a charming main street of shops, and pretty ornamental gardens next to the station, which enjoy Grange's unique microclimate. The town became a seaside resort with the arrival of the railway in the 1850s, and you can take a relaxed scenic walk along the prom. Look out for The Hazelmere Café and Bakery (from which you can take back a cake or two!) and Davenport's boutique for clothes.
Set in beautiful countryside between the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales, Kirkby Lonsdale has a unique atmosphere, with its beautiful stone buildings, tiny streets and lanes. There are a number of shops to explore, with items for the home, antiques and collectibles and fashion too! kirkbylonsdale.co.uk
View our cottages in and around Kirkby Lonsdale.
Wherever you're planning to spend time in the Lake District, we're bound to have your ideal cottage in the perfect location - take a look at our selection by visiting our online search facility. And if you enjoyed our shopping post, why not explore the Lake District through your taste buds in our delicious blog post, The Food Lover's Guide to the Lake District!