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Ultimate guide to things to do in the Lake District holiday cottages

Ultimate guide to things to do in the Lake District

Kim 10 January 2022

If you want to know exactly what to do in the Lake District, then this is the guide for you. There are so many options that everyone and anyone can find something that they love!

Take to the fells or the lakeshores for thousands of hikes, sample local produce, explore history, go on an adrenaline-packed adventure, shop to your heart’s content, find a festival… whatever you enjoy, there’s something wonderful to do during your stay. Just browse our below guides to the best things to do in the Lake District.

And, for the cherry on top, we have a fabulous selection of holiday cottages to suit every taste too!


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Things to do by location

Things to do in Keswick

Things to do in Keswick

One of the most popular (and most beautiful) towns in the Lake District, Keswick is jam-packed with things to do. It’s also conveniently located for nearby attractions such as Whinlatter Forest and the spectacular Derwentwater Lake with plenty of things to do.

Things to do in Keswick the kids will love

Things in Keswick the kids will love

Keswick’s a real playground for kids of all ages, whether you want water activities, short walks, or fun educational activities.

Indoor activities in Keswick

Indoor activities in Keswick

Sometimes it rains a lot but, fortunately, Keswick has lots of indoor activities to keep everyone warm, dry and busy.


Your first visit to Keswick

Your first visit to Keswick

On your first visit, make sure you find the best things to do while you’re here. We’re sure it won’t be your last trip!

Keswick weekend itinerary

Keswick weekend itinerary

If you’ve only got two or three days in Keswick, then we’re here to help you fit in the best attractions.


Things to do in Windermere

Things to do in Windermere

There are plenty of Lake District tourist attractions to keep you busy around England’s longest lake. From dog-friendly attractions to exploring popular villages like Windermere or towns like Bowness, you can eat, drink and be merry around this famous lake.


Things to do in Ambleside

Things to do in Ambleside

Proudly standing at the northern end of Lake Windermere, Ambleside is characterful and quirky town where you can as easily enjoy the nightlife as you can hunt out a silent corner of the mountains. It’s just perfect for a spot of shopping, with some weird and wonderful independents sitting comfortably alongside national chains. Or, why not explore a little further afield at attractions such as Rydal Mount, once home to William Wordsworth, and The Chocolate Factory, Hawkshead?


Carlisle

Carlisle

Carlisle, Cumbria’s capital city, is a beautiful place full of lovely architecture and open spaces. From shops and evening entertainment, to a riverside and historic gems, this is a laid-back city with it all.


Grasmere

Grasmere

Grasmere is most famous for William Wordsworth and delicious gingerbread. But this little village and lake have lots more to offer, too, including art galleries, quirky restaurants, wonderful walks, and even a magical Faeryland!


Kendal

Kendal

Known as the gateway to the Lake District, Kendal holds a very special position in Cumbria. Within easy reach of three national parks, it’s an ideal base for anyone wanting to explore this corner of England.


The Solway Coast

The Solway Coast

Cumbria’s coast is a true hidden gem, and the blazing sunsets, stretches of sandy beaches, and delicious fish ‘n’ chips are not to be missed by any lover of the sea.


Things to do in Eskdale

Things to do in Eskdale

The remote valley of Eskdale is well loved thanks to its remoteness and stunning scenery. Quieter than the most popular hubs of the Lake District, it’s perfect for nature lovers and those after some solitude. There are also some wonderful attractions nearby including the quirky Eskdale & Ravenglass miniature steam railway and grand Muncaster Castle.

If you’re visiting Eskdale for the first time, we’ve got the perfect itinerary for your stay.


Things to do in Wasdale

Things to do in Wasdale

If you’re an enthusiastic walker who loves nothing more than to get out and about in the remote scenery of the Lakes, then Wasdale could be your perfect destination. Home to England’s tallest mountain (Scafell Pike), deepest lake (Wastwater) and smallest church (St Olaf’s), it’s a really breathtaking valley.


Things to do in Ullswater and the Eden Valley

Things to do in Ullswater and the Eden Valley

The beautiful lake of Ullswater is surrounded by tall mountains - including the popular Hevellyn - as well as tranquil woodland, cascading waterfalls, and pretty villages. At Pooley Bridge, you can sample a selection of 400 gins, or head into the hills to explore some ancient stone circles.


Things to do in South Cumbria

Things to do in South Cumbria

While the Lake District is rightly popular for its breathtaking scenery, just south of the national park you’ll find even more treats in store. South Cumbria, with the coastal peninsulas, is a real hidden gem, boasting miles of sandy beaches, quieter walks away from the crowds, and festivals galore.


Things to do in Arnside & Silverdale

Things to do in Arnside and Silverdale

The Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is well worth a visit whether you’re staying there specifically or just passing by. This natural habitat borders Morecambe Bay and straddles the counties of Cumbria and Lancashire. It has long sandy beaches, interesting wildlife, and plenty of things to see and do.


Things to do in the North Pennines

Things to do in the North Pennines

Cumbria is so spectacular partly thanks to its range of landscapes and plethora of protected areas. One such region is the North Pennines, its mountains rising up on the north-east edge of the county and offering a playground for outdoor adventurers, hikers, and cyclists. The North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also home to England’s highest market town, Alston!


Things to do by type

WalkingCredit: David Bentley

Walking

Walking is one of the top things to do in the Lake District, whether that’s up on the high fells, following winding rivers through the valleys, or strolling through enchanting woodlands. Fortunately, there are more than enough walking options available: take your pick from our guides!


Eating and drinkingCredit: Cranstons

Eating and drinking

Artisan suppliers, crystal-clear waters, a rich farming history… the food and drink on offer in the Lake District will have your mouth watering in no time at all! We love the quality local meats, foraged vegetables from the landscape, and whiskeys distilled from our unique waters. Take a look at the food lover’s guide to the Lake District to see just what’s on offer or browse or full list of foodie guides.


Pack a picnic


Pack a picnic

Get a basket, fill it with some sarnies and cake, and head into the countryside.


Lake District beer gardens

Wind down after a day out at a fantastic beer garden. 

Afternoon tea


Afternoon tea

Warm scones, bubbly champers, clotted cream. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself!

Lake District breweries

Lake District breweries

Sample some hoppy wonders with famous names like Jennings as well as independent microbreweries.



Natural wonders

Natural wonders

Everywhere you go in the Lake District you’ll find spectacular scenery: lakes, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests… get ready to have your breath taken away!

Scenic drives

Scenic drives

The high passes and twisting country roads of the Lake District make for a unique drive, and the views you’ll see along the way are just wonderful. If you don’t fancy driving, take a look at our guide to the best views by public transport.


Stars in the Lake District

Star light, star bright

Look to the heavens and admire the twinkling lights that shine in the pitch-black skies.

Waterfalls

Wonderful waterfalls

Often best viewed after heavy rain, the Lake District’s waterfalls are a truly mystical sight.


Heritage and cultureCredit: Askham Hall

Heritage and culture

Between mysterious stone circles, grand country houses and crumbling castle ruins, the Lake District holds all sorts of clues and insights into our ancestors’ lives.

Protected places

The National Trust's Sizergh Castle

The National Trust

Looking after huge areas of the Lake District, the National Trust has played a big part in protecting the national park and its culture.

English Heritage's Hadrian's Wall

English Heritage

English Heritage tells 6,000 years of Cumbria’s history, and its properties include some of the most iconic in the country.


Homes and gardens

Hutton-in-the-Forest

Historic houses

From the grandiose to the humble, Cumbria’s historic houses each have epic stories to tell.

Holker Hall

Beautiful gardens

Smell the flowers and admire the blooms in one of the Lake District’s spectacular gardens.


Historic marvels

Carlisle Castle

The best historic sites

Ancient works, Roman remains, industrial heritage... Whatever historic era sparks your interest, the Lake District and Cumbria is bound to have something to draw you in.


Brougham Castle

Castles

From ghostly encounters to Tudor wives, Cumbria's castles tell some incredible stories.

Long Meg Stone Circle

Stone circles

The Lake District is home to some of the oldest and most spectacular stone circles in the country.


Full steam ahead

Full steam ahead

The horn toots and the steam blasts: there’s nothing quite like a ride on a steam engine to release your inner child! The Lake District has plenty of heritage lines where you can step back in time onto both leisure and working trains.


Outdoor adventure

Outdoor adventure and sports

The national park is one big playground, with all sorts of sports and adventure activities. You can try some Lake District water activities or stay dry on land: the thrills are to be had either way!


Outdoor activity centres

Outdoor activity centres

Get your fill of exciting adventures at one of the Lake District’s activity centres, with things to keep you busy all day long!

Outdoor activities and adventures

Outdoor activities and adventures

For adventure activities, the Lake District is king. In the water, on dry land, up in the skies or deep inside mountains: it’s all here!



Cycling and biking

Cycling and biking

Zipping along on two wheels is a fabulously fun way to see more and get some thrills while you’re at it! The forests, mountains and country roads are calling for your bicycles.


On your bike

On your bike

There’s an abundance of cycling routes in the Lake District, including rocky mountain biking, road cycling, and easy-to-navigate cycle paths.


Mountain biking

Mountain biking

Explore the thrills of the forests and hills on full suspension with one of these exciting mountain biking trails.

Climbing high

Climbing high

The Lake District has some of the highest roads in the country, promising challenging ascents and thrilling descents.



Group activities

Group activities

Gather your friends and family together ready to enjoy some excellent group activities in the Lake District! There’ll be something to please every single member of your party.


Activities for couples

Activities for couples

Whether you’re a traditionally romantic couple, or a pair seeking high-thrill pursuits, you and your other half can spend memorable quality time together at these Lake District attractions.


Group activities

Gather your friends and family together ready to enjoy some excellent group activities in the Lake District! There’ll be something to please every single member of your party.

Activities for couples

Whether you’re a traditionally romantic couple, or a pair seeking high-thrill pursuits, you and your other half can spend memorable quality time together at these Lake District attractions.


Shopping

Pick up some delicious local produce, find high-quality outdoor gear, or explore delightful independent shops. The Lake District has everything from boutiques to popular high street names.

Retail therapy

Wherever you’re staying, read our location guide to the best Cumbrian shops.

Fresh, local food

Pick up freshly picked fruit or fine cuts of meat at one of these incredible farm shops.


Family-friendly attractions

Family-friendly attractions

If you’re seeking some fun things to do with parents, kids and grandparents too, make sure you take a look at these excellent Lake District activities for families!

Family-friendly fell walks

Family-friendly fell walks

Little legs can’t always cope with the tallest mountains, but there are plenty of wonderful Lake District walks for all ages and abilities!


Keswick with kids

Keswick with kids

All ages will love what’s on offer in one of the Lake District’s most popular towns.

Days out with toddlers

Days out with toddlers

For the littlest ones in your group, take a look at these fantastic activities.


Dog-friendly attractions

Dog-friendly attractions

The Lake District is known for being extremely dog friendly, which means lots of activities that your pooch can join in with too! Our guide to the best dog-friendly attractions will provide plenty of inspiration.


Rainy daysCredit: Lakeland Arts

Indoor activities

When things are a bit damp and dreary outside, there are plenty of wet-weather attractions where you’ll have a roof over your head! Enjoy yourself while staying toasty and warm with one of these indoor activities in the Lake District.


When it rains

Don’t let the rain put a dampener on your holiday! Just take a look at all these fabulous Lake District activities for when it’s wet outside.



Activities in Keswick

Activities in Keswick

If you’re staying in Keswick, you’ll find an abundance of things to do when the heavens open.

Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing

Get a taste of the Lake District’s crags and cliffs without battling the weather at an indoor climbing centre.


Pamper and relax

Pamper and relax

Looking for a relaxing time during your holiday? We’ve got you covered there, too. Take your pick of the best spas in the Lake District, try out a bit of  retail therapy , or simply sit back and gaze at the stars.


Great North Swim

Events

The Lake District hosts hundreds of events every year, from tasty food and beer festivals to amazing cultural celebrations. Take a look at what’s on this year or browse our pick of the best annual events.


Ambleside

Cumbrian towns

The towns of the Lake District and Cumbria each have their own special character. From the sandstone buildings in the east of the county to the iconic Honister Slate properties in the north, every town is a unique place to visit. They also have their very own plethora of attractions including shops, museums, historic homes, walking, and cultural events.


Unusual things to doCredit: Alpacaly Ever After

Quirky and unusual things to do

Looking for something a little bit different? These unique activities are bound to make memorable Lake District days out.

Conishead Priory

Secret Lake District

Shh, don’t tell anyone! Here are our pick of the best ‘secret’ spots in the Lake District.

Alpacas and llamas

Alpacas and llamas

Alpacas and llamas may not be the first animals you think of seeing in the Lakes, but there are plenty of opportunities to meet these friendly fluffy fellows!


Pick your own strawberries

Pick your own

Choose your own tasty treats for dinner or a picnic at Cumbria’s pick-your-own farms.

Lake District Wildlife park

Animal magic

Get hands on or watch from a distance: it might surprise you what critters you’ll find in the Lakes!


Escape to the Lakes

Make the most of this wonderful holiday destination with so much to do! Go hiking, cycling, seek out magical waterfalls and meet a host of animals on your adventures in the Lake District. 

From luxurious hot tub retreats with lake views to large country houses fit for all the family, you'll be spoilt for choice in our cottage collection. Get inspired by clicking through the link below. 

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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