Sally's guide to shopping in the Lake District

Hannah Jury 05 March 2021

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 head off on a Lake District shopping trip, availing yourself of the abundance of outdoor shops, shopping centres and shopping outlets on offer across the area?

Shopping in Cartmel - image copyright Tony WestImage copyright Tony West, Cumbria Tourism

Thanks to the abundance of agricultural land, there are numerous farm shops where you can stock up on local produce. One such shop is Tebay Services, made famous by Channel Four's A Lake District Farm Shop. If you're wondering where the Lake District farm shop is, you'll find it between junctions 38 and 39 on the M6, perfectly positioned for popping in on your journey back home.

We've taken a virtual tour around the Lakes, compiling a list of shopping destinations you won't want to miss if you're looking for a spot of retail therapy. Enjoy a leisurely wander around the smaller independent shops and then find a café in which to relax with a coffee, and watch the world go by. Your only problem is going to be choosing which of the Lake District's many towns and villages to spend your time in!  

Jump ahead to a Lake District shopping destination:


Shops in Keswick town centre, Cumbria

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. There is a huge range of independent Keswick shops stocking gifts, speciality foods, toys, shoes and clothing, and it has a charming little arcade called Packhouse Court. If you're specifically looking for clothes and gear for your trip, you're spoilt for choice by Keswick's outdoor shops. Trespass, Millets, Blacks, Mountain Warehouse, Nordic Outdoor and Cotswold Outdoor are just a handful of the many stores to choose from. There's also a lovely selection of galleries, so why not treat yourself to a piece of art as a souvenir of your stay?

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!


Independent shops in Penrith town centre

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! Penrith Toffee Shop is the best place for those with a sweet tooth; their secret recipe for handmade fudge and toffee has been passed down through six generations and the shop is over 100 years old! 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. 

If you're after something in particular, there are a whole host of specialist shops in the town. Perhaps you're cycling your way around the Lake District and need to pick up some equipment from Arragon's Cycle Centre, a bike shop in Penrith. Or maybe you're on the hunt for the perfect holiday read? Check out The Hedgehog Bookshop or Beckside Books, two delightful independent shops.

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.


Shops in Cockermouth town 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. If you've got little ones in tow, The Toy Shop, Cockermouth is a must-visit store, with two floors packed full of toys and games.


Carlisle shoppingImage copyright Cumbria Tourism

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. 

In Carlisle, shopping can be a day-long affair, browsing the shopping centres, wandering around the farmer's market on the first Friday of the month, and dipping in and out of the independent shops and high-street stores. The Carlisle United shop, The Blues Store, is a must for any dedicated Carlisle fan!


Windermere town centre in the Lake District

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 a Supreme Champion winner 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. The Lakeland Shop in Windermere is the flagship store of the kitchenware retailer, an absolute must-visit for the baker or home-cooking enthusiast!


Bowness-on-Windermere shops and harbour

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!


Shops in Ambleside town centre

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 is bursting 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. A range of Ambleside outdoor shops offer a great opportunity to stock up on rambling gear, or anything you may have forgotten to pack! When you're feeling weary, 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.


Shops in Grasmere village, Cumbria

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, collectables and gifts, towards the north of the village. The Heaton Cooper Studio is a particular must-see for creatives and fans of all things art. Also look out for the National Trust gift shop, Grasmere Garden Centre, Herdy, and the famous Grasmere Gingerbread shop. Don't miss Barney's Newsbox, a jigsaw shop in Grasmere; what better way to spend your evenings in your holiday cottage than to pore over a puzzle from this prestigious shop!


Shops in Hawkshead village centre

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.

The Peter Rabbit Shop in Hawkshead also draws quite the crowd; it's a delightful place for children and adults alike to enjoy the magic of Beatrix Potter's endearing characters.  


Side street of independent shops in Kendal, Cumbria

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. In town, look out for Made in Cumbria,  Beales Department Store and the specialist shops in Wainwright's Yard. There are also several charity shops in Kendal where you can pick up a pre-loved bargain.

As for Kendal shopping centres, you've got a choice! Blackhall Shopping Yard, Westmoorland Shopping Centre and Wainwright's Yard all offer something a bit different with a mixture of high street brands and independent shops.


Shops in Ulverston town square, Cumbria

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 superb 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 glassmaking demonstrations.


Cartmel village centre, Cumbria

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 Cartmel 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!


Shops on the Parade in Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria

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.

Kirkby Lonsdale

Kirkby Lonsdale shoppingImage copyright Cumbria Tourism

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 collectables and fashion too!

Stay at one of our self-catering Lake District properties

Before you set off and go touring this vast and beautiful region of England, take a look at our range of self-catering holiday cottages throughout the Lake District. Find the perfect holiday property to provide the right backdrop for your adventure, whether you plan to go shopping, boating, hiking or mountain climbing.

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?

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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