Holidays in the Lake District can lead you to all sorts of unexpected delights. But with so many attractions filling this 912 square-mile region, it can be difficult knowing where to start exploring. To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of the top things to do in the Lake District so you can be prepared before you travel and return with some of the best holiday memories.
Visit the Lake District Wildlife Park
Enjoy a family day out at the Lake District Wildlife Park, near Keswick. Set within 24 acres of parkland overlooked by the Skiddaw Massif, you’ll enjoy fantastic scenery while you meet the 100 animal species that live here. Extra special experiences include up-close encounters with ring-tailed lemurs and the opportunity to go walking with alpacas. With regular keeper talks and unique species such as the Brazilian tapir, Lake District attractions don’t get much better than this
Explore Wray Castle
Get your fill of history at the National Trust site, Wray Castle. Built in 1840 in the elaborate Gothic Revival style, its turrets, towers and dramatic church-like interiors are quite the spectacle. Its scenic gardens are inhabited by some unique specimen trees and children love the onsite Peter Rabbit Adventure rooms. Wray Castle is located on the shores of Lake Windermere, so why not take a boat here and enjoy showstopping scenery en route.
See the World of Beatrix Potter
Watch your children’s eyes light up when they visit The World of Beatrix Potter. This popular attraction houses a series of exciting exhibitions featuring all the famous Beatrix Potter characters. There’s even a Peter Rabbit garden filled with heritage vegetables from the classic tales. With seasonal shows and storytelling events, it’s one of the most exciting things to do in the Lake District with kids.
Climb Scafell Pike
If you want to see the highest point in England, this is it. At 978 metres high, Scafell Pike is one of the mountains that feature in the National Three Peaks Challenge, so climbing it is not for the faint-hearted. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with incredible panoramas from the top. This area has some of the best walks in the Lake District so check out our blog for more hiking inspiration.
Taste the best gingerbread in the world
When you’re in need of a pick-me-up, stop by Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread, home to the ‘best gingerbread in the world’. Opened in 1854 by the eponymous Victorian cook, your taste buds will tingle the moment you arrive, as gingerbread aromas waft through the air. With an interesting backstory and beautiful Grasmere on its doorstep, it’s one of the top places to visit in the Lake District.
Cruise across Lake Windermere
Enjoy a cruise across Lake Windermere, the largest lake in the Lake District. With Windermere Lake Cruises, you can choose from dozens of routes, combining your voyage with an array of local attractions. Marvel at glorious woodland and mountain scenery, and why not book a relaxing sunset cruise to see the glowing crimson skies reflecting off the water.
Canoe across Derwentwater
Take your gang canoeing in Derwentwater, one of the best-known lakes which offers dramatic views of Skiddaw, Catbells and Borrowdale. At 3 miles long, you’ll find plenty of hidden inlets and beaches to explore, plus four main islands; Derwent Isle, Rampsholme Island, Lord’s Island and St. Herbert’s Island. Try Nichol End Marine for canoe hire – their rafted canoes are great for groups.
Cycle through the countryside
Explore the Lake District on two wheels with the help of Grizedale Mountain Bikes. They offer various cycle route options through the scenic Grizedale Forest and they’re located between Lake Windermere and Coniston Water which means you’ll pass plenty of lakeside scenery. If you’d prefer a gentler cycle, hire an electric bike instead.
Feast on local produce
Time your Lake District holiday right and visit Taste Cumbria, the biggest annual food and drink festival in the county. It takes place in Cockermouth in September and they also run various foodie events throughout the year. Expect around 80 stalls of local produce, pop-up restaurants, entertainment and a line-up of top chefs.
Hike one of the Wainwrights
Wainwrights, if you’re wondering, are the 214 fells that spread across the Lake District and were given this name after they were listed by guidebook author Alfred Wainwright in the 50s and 60s. Walking as many of these peaks as you can has become known as ‘peak bagging’, so why not try it for yourself? For some of the best walks in the Lake District, also check out our blog.
Has our list of things to do in the Lake District got you wanting to pack up and set off for the countryside? Well, have we got the holiday homes for you! From farmhouses to cute cottages, we’ve got a beautiful collection of places to stay in the Lake District with your family – and if you need a hand, our concierge team are here to help. We’ve even got a travel guide, if you’d like to swot up further!