The Lake District is one of the most beautiful parts of the United Kingdom. From the stunning lakes that give it its name, through to scenic mountains and picturesque villages, it’s simply a wonderful place to visit. Whether it’s England’s tallest mountain, Scafell Pike or its longest lake, Windermere, there’s true variety in the Lake District. Staying in a holiday cottage in the Lake District is one of the best ways to explore the area.
You can climb mountains, sail around lakes, eat your way through excellent local food producers and sample drinks from Lake District-based microbreweries and distilleries. Our cottage collection, in the Silverdale & Arnside Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, puts you in a prime position for a mix of things to do, whether you’re after things to do in Silverdale & Arnside or you’re using the cottage as a base to explore the Lakes.
The Best Things to Do in the Lake District
Holgates cottage collection is perfectly placed to help you discover the Lake District. From walking and cycling routes to boat trips and aquariums, we’ve put together the best things to do in the Lake District.
The Lake District has some of the best walking trails in the country, offering something for both ramblers are more experienced hikers. There are gentle strolls around lakes or more intense hikes up mountains. A few of our favourite walks in the Lake District include:
- Borger Dalr geology walk – Explore the best of the Lakes with this 4-mile walk, including amazing coloured rocks at Dalt Quarry, and stunning views over an old drained ice age lake.
- Rydal Water & Grasmere – This 6-mile hike takes in stunning views of Rydal Water and the village of Grasmere. It’s particularly stunning in Autumn as the trees are changing colour.
- Tom Gill to Tarn Hows – A short 1.6-mile walk to see the iconic viewpoint at Tarn Hows takes in stunning waterfalls and beautiful woodlands. The views include the Old Man of Coniston and Wetherlam.
- Ennerdale Lake – At 14 miles, this one is for the true adventurer, but it’s the best of what the Lakes has to offer. There’s real solitude allowing you to get close to nature and immerse yourself in the beauty of the lakes.
The National Trust has an extensive collection of walking guides across the Lake District, as does Countryfile. Both are a great option for those looking for more walks around the Lake District.
The Lake District is also covered in wonderful cycling routes. Whether you’re after something on the road or want to take your mountain bike onto something a little bumpier. Some of the cycling routes are a little more advanced than others, especially with the hilly terrain, so keep that in mind when you’re planning. A few of our favourite cycling routes are:
- Chalet Tearoom loop in Keswick – This easy 12.9-mile circular starts and ends in Keswick. It’s on good roads without any major hills, plus it ends at the Chalet Tearooms for a bite to eat.
- Grizedale Forest – This one can be as short or as long as you want, from 2 miles to 14. You’ll need a mountain bike or hybrid here, and to choose your route through the forest wisely. If you choose well, there’s something for every age group.
- Newlands & Honister – 17.5 miles may not seem too much, but this one is a little harder, with a couple of big hills to climb. The scenery is stunning and there are pubs for refreshments on the route.
It wouldn’t be a trip to the Lake District without getting out onto one of the lakes in some way and the best and easiest way to do it is with a boat trip. These boat trips vary from guided sightseeing tours to ferries designed to get you from A to B.
The bigger lakes, like Lake Windermere, have numerous boat trips to pick from. Windermere Lake Cruises stop at several locations on England’s longest lake, making it a great choice for both getting around the lake and seeing it from the water. Ullswater Steamers has been operating for 150 years on the beautiful Ullswater, on heritage steamer vessels. Coniston and Derwentwater have boat trips of their own too, so getting out on the water couldn’t be easier.
If you want to hire a boat in the Lake District then that’s an option too. You can hire boats on Windermere, Coniston, Ullswater and Derwent Water from local watersport centres. It’s worth considering your abilities and the conditions before hiring a boat and understanding the risks that you’ll be undertaking when taking your boat out onto open water.
Things to Do in the Lake District for Couples
The Lake District is the perfect place to explore as a couple, there are a number of romantic and intimate things you can do in the area. These include theatre trips, outdoor activities, museums and famous landmarks in the Lake District. Below is a list of some of our favourite things to do in the Lake District for couples.
What better way to spend a romantic evening than a trip to the theatre? The Theatre by the Lake is the perfect place to spend a slow evening, nestled beside Derwentwater in Keswick. Take in a show in the unique theatre, which has been hailed as one of the most beautifully located and friendly theatres in Britain.
With a variety of shows and festivals from local performers and visiting companies, there’s always something worth checking out.
Go Ape is a favourite for many across the country, with locations dotted around the UK. Take to the trees in Grizedale, with the Treetop Challenge or the Zip Trekking Adventure. There are tree climbing and zipline activities perfect for all ages and abilities, plus a Segway course for those looking to keep their feet closer to the ground.
Go Ape is the perfect way to do something adventurous outdoors, whether you’re after an exciting activity for a couple or the whole family.
If you want to combine stunning views, idyllic gardens, romantic literature, history and a quiet afternoon tea, then Rydal Mount & Gardens is the perfect place to visit. The house offers a peek into the life of its former resident, the poet William Wordsworth’s life, as well as beautiful views across the surrounding area. You can take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens too, before unwinding in the tearooms.
Things to Do in the Lake District in Winter
The Lake District is a great place to visit any time of the year. The winter months may not be everyone’s ideal, but for many, it’s the best time to visit. The roads are quieter, the scenery still beautiful and atmospheric, the walking still good and there’s the chance to curl up in a cosy cottage away from the bustle of the wider world. There’s also a number of activities perfect for winter in the Lake District.
Even if it’s too cold and wet outside, the Keswick Museum will be there to welcome visitors. Following a refurbishment in 2014 the museum reopened to the public to showcase life in the local area. The collection is a mixture of images and items that represent the local landscape and natural history, the lives of local people, the industrial history of the area and art from people in the area.
Only a small portion of the wider collection is ever on display at any one time, so it’s always worth a revisit to look at new exhibits.
Winter is the best time to see the Lake District’s waterfalls, and Lodore Falls is a great example of these. Located near Derwentwater, you can witness a brilliant cascade of water falling into the Borrowdale Valley.
These falls drastically reduce in the summer, especially if there are prolonged periods without rainfall, so winter is by far the best time to view them.
The National Trust property, Wray Castle, is located near the shores of Windermere. It’s a mock-Gothic castle that’s ready to welcome visitors to its extensive grounds and historical interiors. There’s a cycle trail, viewpoint and multiple walking trails around the grounds. Inside the castle, you’ll find activities for all the family.
You can even arrive at Wray Castle by boat!
Things to Do in the Lake District When It Rains
A rainy day can happen all year round. The Lakes, while beautiful, are known for their rainfall. Even if you’re caught in a sudden summer downpour, or you find your trip covered with rain clouds, there’s something to do in the Lake District, whether it’s soaking in the atmosphere the rain brings to the scenery or opting for one of the area’s excellent indoor activities.
Discover the secrets of the deep at the Lakes Aquarium. This particular aquarium has a focus on freshwater life and you can learn all about the lakes in the area and the creatures that live in them. There’s even a tunnel that recreates the bottom of Lake Windermere that you can walk through.
The aquarium also has areas based on the shoreline, with a focus on the nearby shores of the Lake District, plus tanks that feature species from all over the world like Asia and the Americas. You can spot short-clawed otters and piranhas, to name a few.
Beatrix Potter is a household name throughout the UK, having created many much-loved characters. You can explore the World of Beatrix Potter in any weather, but it’s ideal for a rainy day. This unique experience will allow you to learn everything you could ever want to know about Beatrix Potter and the characters that she made famous.
Along with exhibits, there’s a Peter Rabbit garden and a theatre putting on shows inspired by her characters and stories.
The Rheged Center in Penrith is the perfect place to spend a rainy day in the Lakes. It’s a large centre that offers a blend of different activities, from food to film, play areas and shopping. There’s something here for everyone in the family, with a good number of options for distracting energetic kids when it’s wet outside.
The food hall showcases some of the best local food vendors, while the cinema shows all the latest box office hits amongst other more unusual films. There’s a family theatre too and a selection of indoor and outdoor play areas and pottery painting. There are shops available as well, offering toys, clothes and all sorts of other useful items.
Unusual Things to Do in the Lake District
There’s really something for everyone in the Lake District. There’s a whole host of quirky and unusual things to do in the area too, for those who don’t want a more traditional day out. You can get up close and personal with an alpaca, or ask the fairies for a wish. We’ve gone over some of our favourite unusual things to do in the Lakes.
If you want to meet an alpaca then Alpacaly Ever After is the place for you. Rescuing and rehoming alpacas is their speciality. They want to make sure that alpacas are living in the very best circumstances possible. You’ll be able to meet & greet alpacas or go alpaca trekking. You get to have a fun day out while supporting a sanctuary.
If unusual geology is more your vibe, then the Fairy Steps at Slack Head will be right up your street. Taking a path up from Beetham village you’ll find two sets of steps going up between the sheer rock face. It’s said that if you can walk up the steps without touching the sides, a fairy will grant you a wish. This may be easier said than done, but it’s certainly worth a try!
The whole area is steeped in Roman history, and one of the best examples of this is the Hardknott Roman Fort. The remains of the fort are incredibly well preserved and the position of the fort itself is one that’s not to be missed. If you’re a history buff, or simply want to see something a little different, then Hardknott Roman Fort is for you.
Fun Things to Do in the Lake District
The Lake District is ideal for letting your adventurous side take over. It’s jam-packed with fun and exhilarating things to do. You can abseil down cliffs, go ghyll scrambling or on a 4×4 driving experience. There’s something to get your pulse racing.
Keswick Extreme Outdoor Activities are ideal for the thrill-seekers amongst us. They specialise in group activities like ghyll scrambling, white water tubing or caving. They’ve got a whole range of activities available, for all ability levels. They can take you rock climbing if you want to stay dry, or into the depths of a mine or caves, helping you explore the Lake District from all angles.
The team at Crags Adventures specialise in canyoning and are one of the best outdoor activity providers in the area. They offer the chance to go ghyll scrambling, gorge walking and canyoning with experienced guides. You’ll find yourself scrambling up rocks and throwing yourself into plunge pools, so be prepared to get wet!
Take yourself off-road in an ex-army 4×4 vehicle. KANKKU specialises in helping you explore the Lake District from behind the wheel of a car, but without being tied to the road. They offer a selection of self-drive, guided or team tours, so you can experience the Lakes in a truly unique way. These off-road trails can be demanding, but they can help you discover large parts of the Lake District that aren’t accessible otherwise.