Top 10 Must-Try Lake District Activities and Experiences

You could easily spend weeks on end exploring the pretty towns and epic scenery of the Lake District. But if you only have a short break, what would we recommend? Here are a selection of our favourite activities and things to see on your next visit.

Discover some of England’s prettiest villages and towns

For anyone who dreams about simpler living, with less traffic, more space and more time to relax, the region’s villages and smaller towns are a delight.  Enjoy a good ramble in Grasmere, Ambleside or Windermere for cute independent shops, or stop for a cream tea or a pint of real ale in a classic old inn.

Take to the Waters

 The views alone are enough to make visitors stop and stare for hours, but you really haven’t experienced the Lake District until you’ve been out on the water. For the most relaxing option, you could book a peaceful cruise. Or for the more adventurous, how about hiring kayaks or canoes? Our Lake District by Water blog has several great suggestions.  

Hike to the Heights

Regardless of whether you are the most casual walker, or a dedicated hiker, a journey on foot is a must to escape the crowds and experience the Cumbrian countryside to the full. If you’re feeling brave, a full day excursion on the high ground takes a little planning but is so rewarding. Easy routes and shorter walks are within the abilities of the vast majority though, such as the journey to Alcock Tarn, not much more than a mile from Rothay Garden.

Get to market

For centuries various street markets of the Lake District have been a regional institution. Why not shop like a local and visit for yourself? From Kendall to Keswick, there are plenty to visit for yourself. Ideal for sampling local delicacies or taking home a treat for yourself or a loved one! Click here for a list of over a dozen local markets in Cumbria.

Treat yourself to gourmet dining, Lake District style

Place the region’s finest produce in the hands of its finest chefs and the results can be spectacular. This is our philosophy at Rothay Garden, where we aim to bring great flavours and timeless Cumbrian ingredients to your plate, from classic game to fresh fish. The perfect treat after a long day of walking or sightseeing, we think. Click here to see our sample menus.

Have a brush with art

Whether you love to collect it or simply admire it, the Lake District has plenty of galleries, studios and exhibitions. Right on our doorstep here in Grasmere and Ambleside are several great places to see and buy art, including the Lakes Art Gallery and Heaton Cooper Studio. Meanwhile, there are also some superb sites to see everything from classic landscapes to contemporary photography. Our blog post on Lake District Galleries and Art Attractions is a must read for any art lover.

Bring a fishing rod

With all those beautiful waters, there is a good variety of coarse and fly fishing in the Lake District. The bigger lakes can be vast, deep and cold however, representing a real challenge. Hence your best best for a days sport tend to be the smaller tarns up in the hills. Our fishing blog has some wonderful tips and places to go fishing. 

Enjoy a close encounter with Lake District Legends

While anyone can track down famous figures on Wikipedia these days, it is a wholly different experience to actually visit the real places where the luminaries of the past lived. Whether you fancy visiting Wordsworth’s residence at Dove Cottage (above) or seeing Brantwood, the very site where John Ruskin lived, there are some wonderful heritage sites to enjoy.

Discover colourful Cumbrian traditions and customs

Another aspect of life in the Lake District much loved by visitors is the survival of classic traditions across the towns and villages. There is the Rushbearing ceremony each year, for example, or perhaps you might enjoy a day of traditional Lakeland games from wrestling to fell running. Our previous roundup of annual summer events and traditions has several neat ideas.

Make it eventful

Besides all the usual attractions and things to see in the Lake District most of the season, there are also those special events and one offs. These vary from food and music festivals, through to newer gems such as the Lakes Comic Art Festival. See our Lake District Calendar of Events for the best of the bunch this year.

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