It's not all about climbing mountains and pretty teashops! There is plenty to see and do in all weather and for a wide range of interests. Here are some of our recommendations:
You can hire all manner of boats on Derwentwater, Coniston, Windermere and Ullswater and all four of these lakes offer cruises on large steam boats. Windermere has a steamboat museum with plenty to see. The gondolas on Coniston are particularly spectacular with beautiful saloons to sit in. The Ullswater steamers have a well stocked bar on board and the Derwent Launches are perfect for hopping on and off to explore the shores of the lakes.
Horse riding and Pony Trekking
There are several centres offering riding and trekking in stunning locations. Bradley’s Farm near Ennerdale will take you over the quiet Western Fells. Sockbridge Pony trekking centre offer a spectacular route over High Street and also some peaceful treks in the Eden Valley fells.
Historical Houses and Castles
Carlisle Castle is steeped in history from Roman times to the Border Reivers and offers guided tours. The castle is in close proximity to Hadrian’s Wall. The literary links of the area are strong and many of the properties owned by Wordsworth, John Ruskin and the like are open to the public.
The Lake District has a rich history when it comes to famous literary figures. Wordsworth, Beatrix Potter and John Ruskin were all inspired by the surroundings. You can visit the famous settings of their work and the homes they lived in. Brantwood was home to John Ruskin, a leading art critic and philanthropist of the Victorian era. Muncaster Castle is easily reached from the coast and from Eskdale with beautiful gardens and a famous Owl Sanctuary.
The west coast enjoys spectacular sunsets so whilst you may not find yourself sunbathing on the Cumbrian Riviera, you will certainly be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery. Chose from stunning cliffs, plentiful bird watching, fishing villages and sandy beaches.
Theatre and Cinema
Keswick is home to the prestigious Theatre by the Lake, which is host to a wide and varied programme throughout the year. There is a beautiful cinema in the town centre (opposite our office!) which shows alternative films alongside mainstream releases. In Ambleside you will find the delightful Zefferellis Cinema with an attached restaurant specialising in vegetarian Mediterranean food and comes highly recommended by the author.
Ambleside and Keswick are understandably popular for outdoor gear shops but both offer a great selection of other shops too. Quirky independent shops, cool clothes shops and brilliant bookshops. There seems to be an upsurge in shops selling lovely homeware items and so much choice too! Kendal has a traditional pedestrianised town centre and an indoor shopping centre featuring many big high street names. There is also the K Village factory outlet centre just out of the town centre. Cockermouth is a popular choice for antique shopping, with Mitchells Auction house and several other antique shops on the high street and in the town centre
The South Lakes Wild Animal Park (Dalton in Furness) and Trotter's World of Animals (Bassenthwaite) are good examples of wildlife parks with a keen eye for conservation and animal welfare. They make for a great day out whether you are a family on holiday or not. The Owl Sanctuary at Muncaster Castle is a world leader in owl conservation and there are around 40 different types of owl to see.