Explore Cumbria and the Lake District on your next UK Holiday
Sprawling hills and stretching waters mix with picturesque towns and luscious local cuisine in the north east of England. Whether getting active with some sport, or taking time to relax, there’s something for all ages. Visit Cumbria and the Lake District to enjoy a holiday with some of the most beautiful scenery the UK has to offer.
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Things to do in Cumbria and the Lake District
Cumbria is brimming with life and tranquillity, meaning you’ll find something ideal whatever you’re looking for. Enjoy a lazy day by the lakes? Or take in some of the regional culture? There’s so much to see and do that we’ve created a list of our top attractions and activities for you to get the most out of Cumbria and the Lake District.
Places to Visit
Beatrix Potter’s House
Explore the home of one of children’s literature’s most famous authors by visiting Hill Top, in Near Sawrey. The beautifully preserved 17th century farmhouse is a National Trust site, and Potter was, in fact, close friends with one of the trust’s founding members. Step back in time as you tour her home, learn about the inspiration behind her most famous work, and marvel at dioramas as her characters are brought to life. Summer is the perfect time to visit, so you can walk through the luscious gardens surrounding Hill Top, too.
Opening in December 2014, the Lakes Distillery Company between Cockermouth and Bassenthwaite is the perfect place for you to whet your whistle with some locally produced tipple. Take a tour of the facilities and learn how their team brings a distinctly Cumbrian flavour to their award-winning whisky, gin, and vodka. To cap the day off, sample some of the finest food the Lake District has to offer, by visiting the Bistro at the Distillery. From snacks to afternoon teas and Sunday lunches, the Bistro has something for every occasion.
Wray Castle – Windermere
Gather the family for a day of history, culture, and nature at Wray Castle by Ambleside. Built in 1840, the building is actually a private house built in the gothic revival style, though it still features the grand halls, towers, and turrets for you to explore and learn about the local history. There’s something for everyone, including the Peter Rabbit Adventure for the youngest visitors and the chance to dress up in costumes and build your own castle for older kids. You can take a spot in the delightful tearoom if you’re wanting a refreshing reprieve, or simply stroll around the grounds and the banks of Lake Windermere.
Discover one of the most important World Heritage sites in England by visiting Hadrian’s Wall, one of the country’s greatest historical sites. Gain a glimpse into Roman Britain by visiting one of twelve historical sites stretching from Bowness-on-Solway all the way across the county and through to Wallsend, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Birdoswald is close to the Cumbrian border and holds the remains of a Roman fort as well as the longest surviving stretch of the wall itself. Kick up your feet in the cosy tearoom, or take a walk along the National Trail to see first-hand how the wall changed the local landscape surrounding it.
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Local Attractions in Cumbria and the Lake District
Join the near 12,000 people in attending one of the North’s best music festivals at Kendal Calling in July. Hosted in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District, the festival plays host to some of the biggest names in indie, rock, folk, and electro music each year. With acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Primal Scream, and Basement Jaxx performing in years past, watch out for the headliners when they’re released, you won’t be disappointed. Bring the kids along with you to the growing Kids Calling area of the festival, crammed full of workshops, face painting, and entertainment of all sizes – from Insect Olympics to carnival attractions!
Indulge Your Sweet Tooth
Few places in the UK can claim to be the home of sticky toffee pudding, but the Cumbrian village of Cartmel can. The Cartmel Village Shop stocks award-winning ginger, banana, chocolate, and (of course) toffee puddings, all made with 100% natural ingredients. Pair them with their stellar hampers to create the ultimate family picnic, just be sure to pick up another for when you get back home! Looking for something more savoury? Cartmel Cheeses & Bakehouse is a mainstay in Cumbrian food festivals and the perfect chance to indulge in some luxury local produce – and that’s before you step into the 450-year-old Cavendish Arms Inn.
Enjoy a Stroll and a Show
Venture to the north to discover the market town of Keswick, brimming with local produce and history. View original manuscripts from the Lake Poets and a host of Victorian artefacts in the local museum before enjoying one of the Lake District’s best walks alongside the breath-taking beauty of Derwentwater. You can even take in the views on the water itself with a quick cruise of the area, or by renting a boat yourself. Afterwards, don’t forget to catch a show at the Theatre by the Lake. There’s always a range of productions on offer, especially their Christmas shows during the winter. It also plays host to all manner of artistic entertainment, including the Keswick Film Festival, the Words by the Water Literature Festival, and the Keswick Jazz Festival.
Explore Ennerdale Valley
Pack a bag and prepare for a day of exploration and wonder in Ennerdale Valley. On the western side of the Lake District, you’ll be just a stone’s throw away from the mountains High Stile, Pillar, and Great Gable. Be sure to bring your camera to capture the breath-taking views, as well as your binoculars to spot the local wildlife. Ennerdale Valley is home to over a hundred species of wildlife, including a large colony of native red squirrels. Come evening, wrap up under the stars and witness the spectacular night sky. A stargazer’s paradise!
Get On Your Bike
Strap your helmet on and get ready to see as much of the Lake District as possible, with bike rental stations and cycle paths available all over the region. There’s no better way of exploring the scenes around you than riding right through them! Mountain biking routes can be found in Grizedale Forest and Whinlatter Forest, providing routes suitable for everyone from experienced riders to complete beginners. Partner up with Skyrides tours to learn everything you can about the area, with guided riding events every month taking you from site to site, including Poorly Bridge, Grasmere, Sizergh Castle, and more.
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It is no surprise to me that Cumbria is considered one of the most beautiful regions of the UK. And with an abundance of Northern charm, bumpy country roads and breath-taking landscapes - Cumbria, the heart of the Lake District, will always be my home away from home.
Pack your boots and a thirst for adventure and explore the glistening lakes, rugged mountains and the truly stunning coastline. Climb St Bees Head and peer over to the Scottish Highlands on a clear day and watch the waves crash down beneath you.
Don’t miss out on a day in Keswick where you can enjoy some local fudge and a drink in one of the many pubs, and don't forget your four-legged friend as this is one of the most dog-friendly towns in the whole of the UK. From here take a short walk to the hidden Derwentwater to watch the sunset from the shore, it’s just spectacular.
The South & Central Lake District is home to many charming villages like Grasmere & Hawkshead and is home to England's largest lake, Windermere, where you can take a boat tour across, or view from a local café. And for the adventure seekers, head West to conquer the highest peak, Scafell Pike.