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!
Things to do by location
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 lake of Derwentwater.
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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 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
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
Credit: David Bentley
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 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
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.
Warm scones, bubbly champers, clotted cream. It’s the perfect way to treat yourself!
Lake District breweries
Sample some hoppy wonders with famous names like Jennings as well as independent microbreweries.
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!
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.
Star light, star bright
Look to the heavens and admire the twinkling lights that shine in the pitch-black skies.
Often best viewed after heavy rain, the Lake District’s waterfalls are a truly mystical sight.
Credit: 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.
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 tells 6,000 years of Cumbria’s history, and its properties include some of the most iconic in the country.
Homes and gardens
From the grandiose to the humble, Cumbria’s historic houses each have epic stories to tell.
Smell the flowers and admire the blooms in one of the Lake District’s spectacular gardens.
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.
From ghostly encounters to Tudor wives, Cumbria's castles tell some incredible stories.
The Lake District is home to some of the oldest and most spectacular stone circles in the country.
Outdoor adventure and sports
The Lake District is one big playground, with all sorts of sports and adventure activities. You can try something brand new or experience an existing hobby in a new and exciting location. The thrills are all there!
If you’re seeking some fun things to do in the Lake District with the whole family, make sure you take a look at these excellent attractions!
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
All ages will love what’s on offer in one of the Lake District’s most popular towns.
Days out with toddlers
For the littlest ones in your group, take a look at these fantastic activities.
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.
Credit: Lakeland Arts
When things are a bit damp and dreary inside, there are plenty of Lake District attractions where you’ll have a roof over your head! Enjoy yourself while staying toasty and warm with one of these rainy-day activities.
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, or splash out with a bit of retail therapy.
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.
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.
Credit: 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.
Secret Lake District
Shh, don’t tell anyone! Here are our pick of the best ‘secret’ spots in the Lake District.
Pick your own
Choose your own tasty treats for dinner or a picnic at Cumbria’s pick-your-own farms.
Get hands on or watch from a distance: it might surprise you what critters you’ll find in the Lakes!
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.