The best things to do in the Lake District for summer holiday cottages

The best things to do in the Lake District for summer

Kim 05 June 2024

Is there any better time of year to visit the Lake District than summer, with the sun glinting off beautiful Cumbrian lakes, the countryside showing off its vibrant hues and the mountains overseeing everything in the haze?

Any time of year in the Lake District is a good time of year, but summer definitely crowns the seasons. It’s so much more lovely discovering the national park’s many villages, towns, walking trails and hills when the sun is shining and there’s not a drop of rain to dampen your spirits.

And after you’ve spent a day exploring and getting to know our beautiful corner of the world, why not retire to one of our homely Lake District cottages to put your feet up and relax?

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Summer walks

Aerial view across Innominate Tarn on Haystacks

Finding a pretty route to walk is easy, as the national park lends itself to exploring on foot, with majestic views and rolling hills pretty much wherever you are.

Grasmere circular

Reflections of the sky in the still waters of Grasmere

If you’re looking for more of a stroll, the easy circular route around Grasmere – so beloved of Dorothy and William Wordsworth – will give you a real flavour of Lake District life and introduce you to the varied landscape.

Buttermere circular

The sun glistening on Buttermere

Or why not enjoy an easy walk around Buttermere, with the mountains surrounding you? Then, for more seasoned walkers, continue on to Haystacks, the favourite mountain of author Alfred Wainwright.

Ambleside to Troutbeck

White farmhouse on the approach to Ambleside from Troutbeck

Ambleside to Troutbeck will afford you great views of Windermere and the surrounding hills, as well as taking you through Troutbeck village where you can stop for a cuppa and cake at The Old Post Office Tearoom.

The Ullswater Way

Two people walking along the Ullswater Way

The Ullswater Way is a stunning route for experienced walkers. But don’t despair if you’re more of a novice, as you can choose to walk sections and then hop on an Ullswater Steamer for parts of it. The route isn’t difficult, but it is long – 20 miles – so if you’re going to do the whole thing, then allow a full day.

Derwentwater circular

View across Derwentwater from the pathway beside the lake

Equally, the walk around Derwentwater will reward you with fabulous views. At 10 miles, you can enjoy the full loop or walk part of it and take a Keswick Launch boat back to your starting point, stopping off to explore at any of the eight jetties along the way. Stay nearby at one of our Keswick cottages.

Summer events

The Lake District comes alive every summer with a variety of events encompassing music, food festivals, horse racing, farming, outdoor theatre and the arts. Many pubs and hotels host live music, with local bands, including The Swan Hotel at Windermere.

Two images side by side; Muncaster Castle on the left and boat at Maryport harbour on the right

Outdoor summer concerts

Close up of a saxophone player at an outdoor summer concert

This year the Lake District Summer Music Festival runs from 26 July until 4 August, with concerts taking place in a variety of venues in Ambleside, Grasmere, Windermere, Coniston, Ulverston, Hawkshead and more. Outdoor concerts make the most of warmer weather, with Folk In The Forest on 3 August in Whinlatter Forest showcasing music from local artists and Cumberlandia folk weekend (16 – 18 August) taking place at Rivendell, near Workington.

Taste of the Sea

The harbour at Maryport

Taste of the Sea in Maryport from 10 to 11 August brings together cookery demonstrations, food stalls, a producers’ market and live music. It’s one of four food festivals held in Cumbria during the year and is definitely not one to miss for foodie fans.

The Cumbria Steam Gathering

Close up of red and green steam engines

Vintage vehicle enthusiasts are going to love The Cumbria Steam Gathering, which takes place in Flookburgh, Grange-over-Sands on 27 and 28 July and each year attracts around 20,000 visitors. Highlights will include classic vehicles and machinery, trucks and even lawn mower racing!

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle perched on hill top with views to the Cumbrian coast

The historic grounds and buildings of Muncaster Castle  near Ravenglass are a great location for any summer activity. As well as lots of exciting events – including outdoor theatre, sports activities and music festivals – the grounds include beautiful gardens, play areas, orienteering, bird displays, and an owl centre.

Summer boat trips

Boat trips on Coniston, Ullswater, Derwentwater and Windermere are always popular and in summer you can often combine a tour of the lake with an evening meal or activity.

Aerial view of boat sailing across Windermere


Green and red steamer Ullswater Steamer next to Glenridding Pier

Tuck into a fish and chip supper on a cruise from Pooley Bridge , or Glenridding Pier with Ullswater Steamers and enjoy live music with your meal. If sipping rather than supper is more to your taste then why not partake of a gin cruise from Pooley Bridge, with gin tastings from local distilleries?


Blue and white cruiser on Windermere with wooden boats in the foreground

Windermere Lake Cruises offers a summer evening cruise to watch the sunset over the lake from late May until the end of August, or enjoy a buffet and dance cruise with live music every Saturday until the end of August (leaves from Bowness Pier).


Boats lined up by a jetty on Coniston

On Coniston, follow in the footsteps of Donald Campbell and his water speed records in this tribute cruise, or explore sites made famous in the books and movie, Swallows and Amazons. Campbells on Coniston is available on Mondays and Wednesdays and the Swallows and Amazons cruise sets sail on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Wooden rowing boats on the shores of Derwentwater

Buy a ticket for a Keswick Launch Co cruise on Derwentwater and you can stop off en route to explore at any of the eight jetties situated around the lake – or combine your trip with a visit to The Lingholm Estate where Beatrix Potter spent her summers and which served as inspiration for her writing.

Family-friendly summer activities

There’s always something to keep the kids amused in the Lake District, from climbing to pony trekking and alpaca walking to cycling in the Cumbrian countryside.

Collage with people in red rowing boat on right hand side and young boy surrounded by meerkats on left hand side

Take to the water

Pair of young girls on a blue and white paddleboard

Experience fun on the water with paddleboard beginner sessions on Derwentwater throughout the summer, or take a trip in a canoe (family versions available). It’s also possible to hire boats on some of the lakes, including Coniston, Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater, whether you prefer a motor boat, kayak or rowing boat. Learn to sail at Learn to sail at Glenridding or try wild swimming – adults rather than children – which is allowed in most lakes with the exception of Haweswater, Thirlmere and Ennerdale Water.

Family-friendly attractions for younger children

Child peeping out from behind the plants in a maize maze

Family attractions include The World Of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-On-Windermere where little ones can have tea with Peter Rabbit, see their favourite characters and explore Mr McGregor’s garden, and The Lake District Wildlife Park next to Bassenthwaite Lake, where children can learn about the animals and watch bird of prey displays. The Maize Maze at Lakeland Farm Park opens for the summer on 17 July. The park also has indoor and outdoor play areas, trampolines, tractor rides and karting, and youngsters can buy feed to give to the farm animals.

Activities for older kids

A treetop trail in the forest

Older kids and teens will love Zip World at Windermere and Go Ape at Grizedale Forest, while novice rock climbers can learn their skills at Keswick Climbing Wall or Kendal Wall before venturing out to go ghyll scrambling, abseiling or experience the Lake District’s amazing outdoor climbing locations. Honister is home to lots of exciting activities including the UK’s original Via Ferrata experience and The Infinity Bridge which is suspended 1,000 feet above the Borrowdale Valley.

Romantic summer activities

With its majestic mountains, tranquil waters and stunning sunsets, the Lake District is an ideal romantic destination, especially in summer when the weather is at its best and less likely to dampen your ardour.

Couple looking out over Alcock Tarn

Spend time together on Windermere

Steamer on a sunset cruise across Windermere

An evening cruise on Windermere is a spectacular way to spend an evening with your love, or hire a rowing boat and go out just the two of you. You can even book a boat for your wedding reception and host your guests as you sail across the lake, which has to be the ultimate romantic trip!

Discover Wordsworth’s Lake District

White exterior of Dove Cottage, surrounded by woodland

Enjoy a scenic walk around Grasmere then visit Dove Cottage, once home to romantic poet William Wordsworth, or take a picnic to Glencoyne Bay on Ullswater, where the poet happened upon the hundreds of daffodils that inspired his most famous work.

Enjoy a romantic dinner

Couple clinking glasses of red wine together

Watch the sunset from one of the fells before finishing your walk with a romantic meal à deux at one of the many award-winning Cumbrian restaurants within the national park. Or, on days when the weather leaves a lot to be desired, cosy up in a traditional Lake District pub.

The Lake District in summer

Stones on Ullswater with Lakeland fell in the background

The Lake District is one of the best places you could hope to visit this summer, whether your planning a short romantic getaway or a longer dog-friendly holiday that the whole family can enjoy. Plan your trip now and book your perfect stay at one of our hand-picked holiday cottages.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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