Unusual things to do in the Lake District holiday cottages

Unusual things to do in the Lake District

Kim 17 March 2022

If you’re looking for some Lake District hidden gems during your stay, then you’re in luck! With a wide range of quirky and interesting activities tucked away in all sorts of corners, there are plenty of unusual excursions in the national park. Here’s our guide to things to do in the Lake District that are just a little bit different from the norm. 

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Alpaca walks in the Lake District

Alpacas in a field Photo credit: The Lakes Distillery

Get up close and personal with these fluffy creatures at one of several alpaca experiences across the Lake District. Alpacally Ever After runs walks at Derwentwater, Whinlatter Forest, and at the Lakes Distillery. Near Kendal, you’ll find Wreay Syke Alpacas, and you can enjoy a trek around the stunning Armathwaite Hall Estate with the Lake District Wildlife Park.

Kendal cottages

Climb the Mine

Inside the slate minePhoto credit: Honister Slate Mine

Get deep inside a Lake District mine and scale the walls in this excellent experience from Honister Slate Mine. Guided by friendly experts, you’ll cross rope bridges, scramble down sheer cave walls, and feel the absolute thrill of caving. For more amazing activities at Honister, take a look at their Via Ferrata and Infinity Bridge

Borrowdale cottages

Miniature train rides in the Lake District

A smaller than normal railway

There are a number of delightful miniature trains running across the Lake District. The most famous is the La’al Ratty steam train that runs from Ravenglass to Eskdale, tooting its horn as it goes. Read our full guide to steam and heritage trains in the Lake District.

Ravenglass cottages

Segway tours in the Lake District

Segway funPhoto credit: Whinlatter Forest

Fancy zipping about a forest or a quaint English village on a Segway? If you do, you’re in luck! Head to Whinlatter Forest for a Segway adventure amidst the trees. Or, if you’re near the pretty village of Cartmel, get in touch with Lakeland Segways for a tour around the gorgeous surrounding countryside.

Cartmel cottages

Lacy’s Caves

Lacy's Caves

Things don’t get any quirkier than eccentric Victorian gentry! Lieutenant-Colonel Samuel Lacy commissioned chambers to be carved into the sandstone cliffs alongside the River Eden. No one’s entirely sure what their purpose was, but they make for an unusual stop on a lovely riverside walk from Little Salkeld.

Quirky Lake District museums

Derwent Pencil MuseumPhoto credit: Derwent Pencil Museum

The Lake District has its fair share of small, quirky museums. In Keswick, the Derwent Pencil Museum covers the history of graphite mining in the area and includes a model graphite mine and giant pencil. If you’re staying in Cockermouth, pop into J. B. Banks & Son - at the back of this independent hardware shop is an amazing museum of tools and trinkets.

Other unusual Cumbrian museums include the Laurel & Hardy Museum, the Quaker Tapestry, Windermere Steamboat Museum and The Rum Story.

Keswick cottages

The Lake District’s Atlantis

The Lake District’s Atlantis

During the summer, when there’s been a dry period, head to Haweswater for the chance to see a village that was flooded to create the reservoir. When the water levels are very low, you can still walk amongst the streets and houses that are usually completely submerged.

Buddhist temple

A Buddhist temple

In Ulverston, you’ll find a gorgeous Buddhist temple. Known as the Temple for World Peace, this meditation centre is open to the public on most days. There are also guided meditations at 12.30pm and 2pm that you are welcome to join.

A traditional working farm

Cows in a field

Step back in time at Old Hall, a traditional Lakeland working farm in Bouth. The farm is worked using 19th-century methods, and the collection of historic buildings includes a steam-powered dairy! They also offer courses in historic techniques such as steam ploughing and animal husbandry. There are beautiful shire horses at the farm too, and experience days let you spend your time working with them in the fields.

Walk with wolves in the Lake District

Wolves Photo credit: Predator Experience

At Predator Experience, you’ll be able to join the wolf hybrid pack for a magical and educational walk with these fascinating creatures. Hear them howl to the skies as you learn all about their life, conservation and surroundings. The company also offers falconry, fox encounters, hawk walks and eagle experiences.

Lake District seal spotting

Grey seals

Not many people know that Cumbria has its own colony of grey seals! In the south of the county, at South Walney Nature Reserve, these chubby critters are best seen at high tide. As one of the rarest types of seal in the world, this is a really special opportunity and well worth a trip.

Restricted location open days

An isolated National Trust property

Have you ever longed to visit the house on Derwent Island as you’ve gazed at it from the banks of Derwentwater? Or perhaps you’ve discovered the remnants of Force Crag Mine on a walk in the Newlands Valley and wanted to know more? Whilst these National Trust properties are not usually accessible to the public, occasional open days are an excellent way to see part of the Lake District that many will never get the chance to visit.

Afternoon tea on an old steam train

Bassenthwaite Lake StationPhoto credit: Bassenthwaite Lake Station

Half-hidden behind the trees on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake is an impressive steam engine! Once the set for the 2017 film Murder on the Orient Express, it now sits on the site of the old Bassenthwaite Lake train station and serves meals inside the carriages and on the platform. For a very welcome service, delicious food, and a quirky eating experience, this is the spot to go!

Viking evenings in the Lake District

Viking blacksmithing

Moorforge Viking Settlement, just outside Cockermouth, hosts regular live music nights in their Viking-style longhouse. Sit around the fire and enjoy a great night or come back during the day for one of their Viking-style workshops, which include early medieval cooking and blacksmithing.

Heavy horses

A carthorse in a stables

Horse riding in the Lake District itself may not be such an unusual experience, but how about a ride on one of the massive carthorses that are known for pulling traditional farming equipment? Cumbrian Heavy Horses is an award-winning riding stables where you can head into the mountains or along the coast on one of these glorious creatures.

Ghost walks

A spooky apparition in a town

For something on the spooky side, take a ghastly ghost tour of Keswick or Cockermouth. Led by the mysterious figure of “The Lady”, you’ll see the towns in a whole other way as she brings alive the tales and legends of yesteryear.

Quirky Lake District workshops

A dressmaker

In the pretty village of Greystoke, you’ll find this Quirky Workshop where you can find all sorts of weird and wonderful craft activities to take part in. There’s everything from dressmaking and needle felting to lampshade making and hooked matting.

The workshops are very popular and fill up quickly, so don’t forget to book well in advance!

Cottages in the Lake District

If you’re excited to experience some of these wonderful quirky Lake District activities, then get ready for your getaway and a stay in a fantastic self-catering holiday cottage.

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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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