23 Things To Do in the Lake District
23 Things To Do in the Lake District
This is part three of our Lake district series! If you’re looking for the best area to stay in, head over to our guide on “Where to stay in the Lake District” or to “Lake District Cottages“, if you’re looking for cute recommendations. In this part, it’s all about the best things to do in the Lake District.
- Star Gazing
- Haunted Castle
- Traditional Gingerbread
- Climb a Fell
- Village Tour
- UK’s Only Real Mountain Forest
- See the coast
- Stone Circle
- Pack Ponies
- Walking with Wolves
- Get on the Water
- Highest Point in England
- Lakes Distillery
- Quirky Museum
- Last Working Mine
- Castle & Museum
- Artificial Lake
- Iconic Views
- Old Bridge House
- William Wordsworth’s Home
- Unspoilt Views
1. Star Gazing
What better thing to do than star gaze where you are surrounded by mountains and barely no light pollution? Head over to the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre Dark Sky Discovery Site in Ennerdale Valley. They’ve even been known to have seen the Northern Lights!
In Winter they offer new moon phase weekends. And if it’s cold, you can sit in cosy rooms with open fires and stay in a nearby hostel overnight.
2. Haunted Castle
An 18th century build. 70 acres of woodlands, gorgeous views of Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park – yet it is a night spent only by the brave. Castle Muncaster is the UK’s most haunted castle! Would you dare to stay?
3. Traditional Gingerbread
Gingerbread was invented in 1854 by Sarah Nelson. The production is still in her family’s hand and also still in her original home! It’s not only delicious but also conveniently located in a proper chocolate-box type of village in Grasmere.
Buttermere is one of the prettiest lakes that you should definitely visit. The 4mile hike all the way around it will take you approximately 2 hours. And you can finish it off with a delicious afternoon tea in Syke Farm Tea Room.
5. Climb a Fell
A fell is a high and barren landscape feature, like a mountain or moor-covered hill. The term is mostly used in the Isle of Man, parts of northern England, Scotland, and Norway.
Great start: Orrest Head. It only takes about one hour to hike up.
6. Village Tour
There are so many cute villages in the Lake District that it’s hard to visit them all. A great thing to do is take an electric bike tour! That way you can see more villages in a shorter amount of time. It’s also a greener option than renting a car and driving from village to village. We recommend electric bikes, because it can get quite hilly and unless you want a workout, you should opt for the more relaxed e-bikes.
Lowther Castle has its own bikes for example. Check out Ruaan’s post about e-biking in Cumbria!
7. UK's only Real Mountain Forest
You will find the only “real mountain forest” in Whinlatter Forest Park. It’s best to visit April to September. And if you love a little bit of thrill, why not try the high rope courses?
8. See the Coast
If you want a totally different feel from the Lake District, a great thing to do is visit the very close by coast! Our recommendation: check out the Smugglers’ Route. It starts at Maryport, goes through Allonby and all the way to Mealsgate.
9. Stone Circle
Castlerigg Stone Circle is one of the oldest stone circled at around 5000 years. And the interesting part is that we still don’t know why or what it was built for.
You’ll get panoramic views when walking up from Keswick or simply parking nearby on the top. Sheep roam around freely. The stone circle has solar alignment. SO head there for the summer solstice for a more tranquil midsummer celebration.
10. Pack Ponies
Despite being the Queen’s favourite, the native Fell Ponies are endangered. If you’re going for short hikes or even several day camping tours, you can get ponies to carry your gear! They are looked after very well and the money helps to keep the breed going.
11. Walking with Wolves
If you’re looking for something slightly more adventurous, you can go on a walk with a pack of wolf-hybrids. Predator Experience offers 1 hour walks through the countryside to learn about their evolution, social structure and current conservation efforts.
Did you know that the last wolf in England was supposedly killed in the 14th century?
12. Get on the Water
With so many waterbodies in the Lake District, a fund thing to do is get into or onto it!
At Lake Windermere, which is the largest natural lake in England, you can self-drive or hire a row boat tour. Ullswater is known for its oldest steamer which can take you from Glenridding to Pooley bridge, connecting the most iconic walking routes. In Glenridding you can also get tickets for wildlife tours.
Ever wanted to do some slightly different? How about trying out sheepherding for a day? They have dogs trained to work with “amateur sheepherders” like us. It will give you a proper local experience and view of the area!
14. Highest Point in England
Scafell Pike is England’s highest mountain at 9878m. If you decide to climb it, prepare properly. Check the weather forecast, get decent hiking shoes, and pack some food and water for the way. On clear days you can get views of Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Isle of Man.
15. Lakes Distillery
Looking for some slightly more relaxing and maybe boozy things to do in the Lake District? Try the locally produced gins, vodka and whiskey! The Lakes Distileery only opened in 2014 but has already become a go-to destination, offering daily tours. On the weekend you can even visit the resident Alpacas!
16. Quirky Museum
This quirky museum is al about pencils. From the first ever pencil, to spy pencils from WW2 and an 8m long colouring pencil, you will learn all about pencils. They also offer courses from notable artists in residence.
17. Last Working Mine
The Honister Slate Mine is currently the last working mine in the UK. Its where green slate is extracted. They offer different tour from gentles informational options to scaling the side and inside of the mountain and crossing a terrifying infinity bridge! After all the excitement you can go visit the “highest cafe” in the National Park.
18. Castle & Museum
Kendal offers both, fascinating castle ruins on top of a hill with gorgeous views and a museum with a special exhibition showcasing the reconstruction of the castle. If you go up to visit the 12th century castle, make sure to tak a picnic with you.
19. Artificial Lake
Tarn Hows is located near Coniston Water. It was left to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter. The author best known for her children’s book The Tale of Peter Rabbit. This artificlal lake is one of the most famous spots in the Lake District thanks to its majestic views of the natural landscape. The flat, circular walk around Tarn Hows – just over 2.4km long – is accessible by wheelchair and perfect for families looking for a gentle walk.
20. Iconic Views
Wastwater, the deepest of the Lake District’s lakes, sits along the road to Wasdale Head. Wordsworth described the lake as “long, narrow, stern and desolate”. In 2007, this was voted Britain’s favourite view. The majestic lake is surrounded by mountains, including the towering Scafell Pike. Wasdale Head is a small hamlet at the head of the Wasdale Valley and an area that has historically been the starting point of many walks.
21. Old Bridge House
In Ambleside you’ll find a 17th century old bridge house. In its prime time it used to house a family with 6 children in just two rooms! If you’re looking for a break, head over to The Fulling Mill for a proper pub lunch. It’s just a stone’s throw away from the bridge house
22. William Wordworth's Home
You will find Helm Crag near Grasmere. It offers gorgeous view of the area and you can easily pop over to the nearby Dove Cottage. This is where the English poet, writer and author William Wordsworth used to live.
23. Unspoilt Views
Blea Tearn is a small, yet unspoilt little lake. You’ll find it near Ambleside. It will give you plenty of time away from the crowds.