The Lake District fells provide some of the best walking and climbing in Britain but if you're looking for a more gentle break, there's no shortage of museums, country houses and villages to explore. Here we've rounded up our 10 favourite attractions to help you plan your itinerary if you're visiting the Lakes or staying in one of our Lake District Cottages.
1) Windermere Cruises
What better way to experience the magic of England's largest lake than by a leisurely cruise trip. One of our favourite attractions in the Lake District, the Windermere Lake Cruises take in magnificent views of mountain scenery, remote bays and forested islands. There are a mixture of modern and traditional launces in the fleet which offer circuits around the full length of Windermere, stopping at Waterhead, Bowness and Lakeside. Some boats also call in at Brockhole Visitor Centre. You can enjoy cruises from 45 minutes to 3 hours or if you buy a 'Freedom of the Lake' ticket can spend all day hopping on and off at different points around the lake. Discover our Windermere Cottages.
2) The Rheged Centre in Penrith.
One of the biggest attractions to open in the Lake District, Rheged is the perfect all weather, all year round destination. Set in Britain's largest grass covered building, Rheged features a giant 3D cinema, shops, cafes, childrens creative workshops and play area plus an annual programme of fairs and festivals. The shops and food hall offer crafts, food and gift ideas from local suppliers in the Lakes. Click here for our cottages nearby.
3) Ullswater Steamers
The world famous Ullswater Steamers have been running tours around Ullswater Lake for over 150 years. Cruises run from Glenridding and Pooley Bridge and call in at Howtown on the Eastern shore of the Lake as well as Aira Force waterfall. Discover all our Ullswater Cottages.
4) Tullie House
Walk in the footsteps of the Romans at this impressive museum and discover all the ancient history buried in Cumbria. Experience what life was like for the Romans and learn all about the creation of the mighty Hadrian's Wall. Further galleries house art and artefacts from the Celt, Viking and Middle Ages. Round off your day with a visit to the gift shop or enjoy a cup of tea and a scone at the cafe. The perfect place to entertain your little ones on a rainy day! Browse our Cottages in the Eden Valley.
5) Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
The L'aal Ratty opened in 1875 to carry iron ore from Eskdale to Ravenglass. The railway line was then bought by a preservation society who converted it to a narrow guage of just 15 inches! The train takes a leisurely 7 mile journey through stunning Lakeland countryside. Departing from Ravenglass, the train calls at Muncaster Hill, Irton Road, The Green, Beckfoot and finally Dalegarth station, near Boot in Eskdale. From Dalegarth, visit Stanley Ghyll and St Catherine's Church and take a walk along the River Esk.
Set amongst 30 acres of grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere, Brockhole has a host of free activities for you to enjoy. There are play areas, exhibitions, cycling and walking trails! You'll also find a Tree Top high ropes experience, mini golf, pony treks and boat rides. Brockhole has its own jetty so you can hop on one of the Windermere cruises from here too.
7) Dove Cottage
Visit the home of William Wordsworth and learn all about the poet's life in his 19th century home, Dove Cottage. This museum is full of Wordsworth's possessions and manuscripts and reveals his amazing life story from childhood, through to the French revolution and how he changed the world of literature. Exhibitions run throughout the year. Browse our cottages nearby in Grasmere.
8) Wray Castle
Sitting on the shores of Lake Windermere, Wray Castle is an interesting building full of relics of its grand history. Ideal for familes with young children, you'll find rooms with dressing up boxes and play areas. Outside, there are rope swings, grounds to build dens in and family-friendly gardens.
9) Muncaster Castle
Thought to be one of Britain's most haunted castles, Muncaster has something for the whole family to enjoy. Surrounded by acres of wild gardens famous for their bluebells, rhododendrons and azaelas, the castle is set against a backdrop of dramatic Eskdale fells. The Owl Centre is home to a number of breeds of owl and hosts daily bird displays throughout the year. The MeadowVole Maze is great for kids and thre is a cafe and a church on site.
10) Honister Slate Mine
Set at the top of the Honister Pass in Borrowdale, you can enjoy guided tours into the mine and experience its 300 year old history! You'll see how the mine works in the present day and how it still extracts slate using a mixture of modern and traditional methods. The centre is open 7 days a week, all year round. Thrillseekers will enjoy Honister's Via Ferrata! There are two different routes, one following the old miners' route along the cliff edge footpath and one which includes a trip across the 'Burma Bridges' - a wire bridge suspended 2000 feet above the Valley floor - as well as a 66 foot vertical cargo net!