You could spend years in the Lake District without seeing everything it has to offer, so whether you’re having a short weekend break or an extended three-week holiday, it’s a good idea to pack plenty into your time there and get the most out of it.
Part of the charm of the Lake District, which stretches over 900² miles and all within Cumbria, is that there is simply so much to do for visitors from all walks of life. Whether you’re an experienced hiker looking for challenging new walking trails, a family with little ones looking for fun outdoor adventures, or a couple on a romantic weekend away, the Lakes have something to offer everyone.
Here are some of the best and most popular attractions to visit if you’re staying this unique area.
One of the most iconic bodies of water in the Lakes is Coniston Water, which stretches around 5 miles long and half a mile wide. The lake is a haven for anglers and you can hire boats to cross the water from the nearby boating centre. The Old Man of Coniston mountain overlooks the lake, offering plenty of walking and hiking opportunities, and the nearby village of Coniston has pubs, shops and accommodation. The famous Victorian art critic John Ruskin once lived beside Coniston and you can visit his original home, Brantwood, complete with his original possessions and a wealth of artefacts from his life – the last three decades of which he spent in the Lakes.
Ullswater is another popular lake in the area, with rugged mountains to the south and gentle green slopes to the north. There are many walks and hikes around the lake which offer beautiful views of the area, as well as vehicular access to certain viewpoints. Ullswater is the second largest English lake at 7.5 miles long. One of the most famous nearby mountains is Helvellyn, which is a favourite among walkers. The nearest town is Glenridding, which has a host of accommodation from camping to holiday cottages and boat hire is available for much of the year.
Keswick Brewing Company is a craft brewery very close to the centre of Keswick, located near Derwent Water. The brewery offers tours for visitors to learn more about its traditional brewing methods, with the added bonus of beer tasting. Discover more about the history of this quintessentially Cumbrian business and pick up a few gifts and souvenirs too.
The World of Beatrix Potter
A day out that all the family can enjoy, a trip to the Beatrix Potter museum is a must when visiting the Lakes. The museum is located at Bowness-on-Windermere, close to the lakeside home where the author herself lived for many years. The area and its flora and fauna served as inspiration for many of her famous children’s books and illustrations: after a stroll around the area, you can visit the exhibition and charming gift shop and even take a look round her original home, Hill Top House.
Another historic house that is well worth a visit, Holker Hall in South Lakeland is the home of the Cavendish family, and has been for over four centuries. The house and its beautiful gardens are open to the public. Visitors can enjoy a wealth of beautiful antiques, furniture and paintings and a truly British garden, without the restriction of ropes and barriers. There is also a gift shop, cafe and bistro where you can grab a souvenir, coffee and cake, or lunch.
On a rainy day, the Lakes Aquarium at Windermere is a real crowd pleaser. The aquarium is home to both freshwater and marine species, many of which are native to the British Isles and is open daily. Enjoy a journey through the aquatic life of the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Lake District itself with an array of fish, amphibians, water birds and water mammals that you will rarely catch a glimpse of in the wild.
A visit to the area wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Lake Windermere – possibly the most famous of all the lakes. The lake and surrounding area have served as inspiration for artists, authors and poets for centuries – including Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth – and it’s easy to see why. At 10.5 miles long, the lake is the largest in England, and offers plenty of opportunities for boating, fishing and walking. There are several picturesque towns in the area, including Ambleside, Waterhead and Bowness-on-Windermere, where visitors can enjoy shopping, cafes and pubs as well as plenty of accommodation options.
With so much to do in this wonderful part of the country, we’ve only scratched the surface on attractions you should try and see. You’ll soon be busy booking your next visit to the Lake District and exploring everything else it has to offer.