Things To Do
Thera are plenty of activities to do in the Lakes..here is our a selection...even the southern lakes are only an hour away - and with an amazing drive over the Kirkstone Pass or St John's in the Vale, if it is very snowy..
1. Aira Force
A stroll down the hill to the best waterfall in the Lakes! The walk down through woodland beside the beck is lovely.
The waterfall is an amazing sight when you reach it – water tumbling 65 feet over a ledge into a pool below in a lush, green woodland area. Head back down to the National Trust tea room and treat yourself to a coffee and a cake before walking back up the hill to High Brow or extend your walk via Gowbarrow.
2. Ullswater Steamers
Operating heritage vessels for 160 years on England’s most beautiful lake, running a serpentine course for eight miles through expansive vistas of Lakeland’s highest mountains. Helvellyn at 3,117ft (950m) crowns Ullswater, at the south-western end of the valley, standing on a mighty plateau approximately 9 miles (14.5km) in length and 4.5 miles (7km) wide. There is an all year service with varying timetable connections between Glenridding, Howtown, Pooley Bridge Piers and between Glenridding and National Trust Aira Force Pier. Cruise times vary from 20 – 120 minutes.
4. Keswick Climbing Wall / Activity Centre
Keswick Climbing Wall and Outdoor Activity Centre is situated next to the historic Castlerigg Stone Circle and offers magnificent views over to the Helvellyn Range.
With free all day parking, refreshments available, indoor and outdoor activities for all ages, experienced and qualified staff, no matter what the weather, Keswick Climbing Wall and Outdoor Activity Centre has something for everyone.
5. Pencil Museum
The home of the first pencil, visitors enter this museum through a replica graphite mine which would have served as the source of the pencil industry over three centuries ago. A journey of graphite and pencil discovery from its humble beginnings as a cottage industry to modern day production.
Discover secret WW2 pencils with hidden maps; one of the largest colour pencils in the world measuring almost 8 metres; The Queen's diamond Jubilee pencil; miniature pencil sculptures; and much more!
England’s only true mountain forest rising 790m above sea level, and there much to do here for children and Adults alike. Children will love the Gruffalo Spotter’s Trail and amazing Wild Play adventure playground with slides, climbing frames, water play, cargo nets and swings. There are biking and walking trails and a café to refuel at afterwards.
10. Lakes Wildlife Park
Set in 25 acres of glorious Lakeland scenery near Bassenthwaite Lake. With a collection of several hundred animals, including lively lemur troops, giant bison from the American plains, gibbons, zebra, deer and rare breed domestic animals, all in spacious paddocks, and a wide variety of birds of prey and reptiles.
Falconry displays, talks about the more exotic animals, with feeding of the animals taking place several times each day, tractor rides, and an adventure playground provide further interest.
Picnic, rest and indoor and outdoor restaurant and play areas are provided.
11. Lakes Distillery
Experience a distillery unlike any other..
A beautifully renovated old Victorian farmstead on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, where majestic surroundings inspire an artistic ethos. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of a working distillery, following the spirit’s journey to discover how every flavour possibility is achieved.
Tasting of the excellent Lakeland Gin is recommended.
12. Rheged Centre
The Rheged Centre is one of the largest visitor attractions in Cumbria. Named after the Ancient Kingdom of Dark Ages, Rheged is an all-weather activity centre with a 3D cinema, indoor and outdoor play area, pottery painting, art gallery, shops and cafes. There is also a huge range of creative children’s activities throughout the year such as bushcraft skills, clay making, Swallows and Amazons and Spy Academy. A full list of activities is on the website.
13. Lowther Castle
Built at the turn of the 19th century on the site of two previous houses, the castle was a grand affair boasting a room for every day of the year. Its gardens were the envy of the north.
But in 1957 the castle was demolished. Just the façade and outer walls remained standing and for over half a century, the place was empty – home only to chickens, pigs and the odd bat. The gardens were lost to wilderness.
There are many varied activities at the Lake District Visitor Centre, including an outdoor adventure playground, paddling in the lake or exploring the gardens. Boats are available to hire, as well as bikes with a good selection of tag alongs and child bikes. Inside there is an indoor soft play and learning section for under 5’s and a creativity space. Regular events take place the Visitor Centre so it’s worth checking what is going on before you visit.
15. Wray Castle
Perfect for a rainy day, Wray Castle is a real revelation. Set on the banks of Lake Windermere, the National Trust inherited Wray Castle without any furniture or fittings, so they have turned it into a childrens paradise by having a different activity in each room. These include table tennis, giant games, dressing up, arts and crafts and the Peter Rabbit Adventure. Peter Rabbit fans can play in Mr McGregor’s garden, have a snooze in Peter Rabbit’s bed and see where he lives. Outside, there is a great woodland playground, and toddlers can feed the ducks and paddle in Lake Windermere.
16. Hill Top
Beatrix purchased Hill Top in 1905 and it remained a working farm during her lifetime and still is today. It was one of 15 Lake District farms she left to the National Trust on her death in 1943.
This 17th-century farmhouse in the village of Near Sawrey is where Potter lived, wrote and based many of her best-loved stories. Children are greeted at the door with a bookmarked copy of The Tale of Samuel Whiskers and encouraged to spot the things in its illustrations: grandfather clock, Welsh dresser, Oriental rug … but the whole village is like a game of Potter I-spy, from the dolls’ house in The Tale of Two Bad Mice to the rhubarb patch where Jemima Puddle-Duck hid her eggs.
17. Grizedale Forest
Grizedale forest in the heart of the Lake District World Heritage Site, offers an unrivalled day out for everyone
Breath-taking views, stunning artwork and endless forest trails, come and discover all that Grizedale has to offer!
Explore the forest on two wheels, foot or horse back and keep your eyes peeled along the way for unique sculptures which are dotted throughout the forest. For more of a challenge, test your nerve and swing among the trees on one of the Go Ape courses.
18. Fell Foot
This National Trust lakeside park is a fantastic day out in the Lake District. Take a picnic, a ball and a frisbee and spend the day paddling in the lake, feeding the ducks and playing in the playground. There are boats available to hire and the views of Lake Windermere and the mountains are spectacular.
19. Lakeland Motor Museum
Explore a fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century - cycles, motorbikes, motor cars and automobilia.
Housed in a converted mill in the heart of the Lake District, minutes from Lake Windermere.
Much more than just a motor museum, the local history and period shopping displays, authentic recreations and picturesque riverside cafe makes it a great day out for the whole family.
20. Lakeland & Haverthwaite Railway
The railway is in the picturesque Leven Valley at the southern end of Windermere. The historic branch line began in 1970 when a small band of staff and volunteers took over operations.
The L&HR runs from Haverthwaite at the southern end of the line via Newby Bridge to Lakeside at the southern end of Windermere. Some services are timed to connect with sailings of the diesel excursion vessels or steam vessels on Windermere, sailing from Lakeside to Bowness and Ambleside.
21. Beatrix Potter
Peter Rabbit fans will love seeing their hero and his friends at the World of Peter Rabbit in Windermere. Walk through Mr MacGregor’s garden and meet Jemima Puddleduck, Mr Todd, Jeremy Fisher and other characters from Beatrix Potter’s books in this beautifully designed exhibition. Older children will enjoying taking part in the Peter Rabbit Activity Trail. Keep an eye out for the Peter Rabbit Tea Parties which take place throughout the year!
22. Lakeland Wildlife Oasis
With over 100 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is a unique and exciting blend of wildlife and interactive hands-on displays.
Located just five minutes off junction 35 of the M6, the zoo is home to lush indoor tropical halls, walkthrough enclosures and picturesque outdoor spaces – making the zoo great fun no matter the weather!
23. Coniston Boating Centre
Coniston is an atmospheric location with spectacular scenic views of The Eastern Fells of Fairfield and Helvellyn. Explore the lake by boat. You can take a historic boat tour on the National Trust’s Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola, or simply enjoy one of the hourly Coniston Launch boat trips.
Coniston Water has plenty of history to offer, including the story of the water speed record of 1939 and the legendary Campbell Bluebird disappearance.
24. Muncaster Castle
Cross the Hardknott and Wrynose Pass over the mountains to the Western Lake District for a day out at Muncaster Castle. Children will have fun running around in the wide open space in the beautiful gardens, playing in the adventure playground and getting lost in the maze. Don’t miss the Bird of Prey displays including the World of Owls and Sky Hunters.
25. Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
No holiday is complete without a trip on a train, and the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (affectionately known as “La’al Ratty) is one of the best for young children. Start off in the coastal town of Ravenglass and take the 15” narrow gauge railway on a 7 mile journey into the Cumbrian countryside. Have a snack at the café and watch the steam trains before heading back.
26. Lakes Aquarium
Find out about the marine life which lives beneath the water at the Lakes Aquarium near Newby Bridge. As well as learning about life in the lakes, see sea turtles, otters, rays and a fascinating colony of leaf cutter ants. The underwater tunnel is a real highlight as you can walk through the tunnel and see fish and ducks swimming above your head. Combine a trip to the Lakes Aquarium with a ride on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway (Lakeside station is just outside the Aquarium) or the Windermere steamer.
27. South Lakes Zoo
Hand feed giraffes and kangaroos, see tigers, lions, leopards and jaguars, and enter the condor and vulture enclosure at the South Lakes Safari Zoo. The best thing about this safari zoo is that the animals roam free in massive enclosures so you can get really close to them. There is also an adventure playground and plenty of animal talks throughout the day.
28. Lakeland Maze Farm
Open weekends from Easter to September, and every day during school holidays, the Lakeland Maze Farm Park has animals, trampolines, go karts, tractor rides and of course a maze for you to enjoy! There is also an indoor soft play area, sandpit and pets barn and a mini straw bale maze. A great day out in the summer months.
Enjoy a lake cruise on one of the Keswick Launches and experience the beauty of Derwentwater with breathtaking views of the surrounding fells - Skiddaw, England’s fourth highest mountain, Catbells, and the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’.
Take the 50 minute round boat trip or disembark at one of the eight jetties en-route and take a lakeland walk via well-marked paths to famous landmarks such as Ashness Bridge, Lodore Falls, Grange, Brandlehow and Lingholm.
Derwentwater is 3 miles long, 1.5 miles wide and 72 feet at its deepest point. Cruises sail past its four islands, now owned by the National Trust and each with its own special history; Derwent, Lord’s, St Herberts and Rampsholme
32.Long Meg and her Daughters
One of around 1,300 stone circles in the British Isles and Brittany, it was constructed as a partof a megalithic tradition that lasted from 3,300 to 900 BCE, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The stone circle is the sixth-largest example known from this part of north-western Europe, It primarily consists of 59 stones (of which 27 remain upright) set in an oval shape measuring 340 ft (100 m) on its long axis. There may originally have been as many as 70 stones. Long Meg herself is a 12 ft (3.6 m) high monolith of red sandstone 80 ft (25 m) to the southwest of the circle made by her Daughters. Long Meg is marked with examples of megalithic art including a cup and ring mark, a spiral and rings of concentric circles.
Atmospheric farmhouse full of quirky objects and fascinating stories
The Brownes of Townend in the Troutbeck Valley were just an ordinary farming family: but their home and belongings bring to life more than 400 years of extraordinary stories. As you approach Townend - a traditional Lake District stone and slate farmhouse, you'll understand why Beatrix Potter described Troutbeck Valley as her favourite.
Once inside, you are welcomed into the farmhouse kitchen with a real fire - burning most afternoons - and a quirky collection of domestic tools. Throughout the house, intricately carved furniture provides a window into the personality of George Browne. The library contains the family’s well-used collection of books, including 45 that are the only remaining copies in the world. Outside, the colourful cottage-style garden is a lovely place to while away some time among the flowers.