10 Best things to do in the Lake District

The Lake District. The name alone conjures up somewhere tranquil and beautiful, made famous by painters and poets. And it is, but it’s more than that. Bordered by the Irish Sea and the Pennines it’s also an area of wild and rugged vistas, full of historic towns and villages, stunning walking routes, fabulous food and super places to stay that are part of Further Afield. Check out our Top 10 things to do in The Lake District some of which are top tips from our partners in the region.

Take a boat tour of Lake Windermere

Windermere is the largest of the lakes and with all that water getting out there on it is almost essential. Kayaking, sailing, wild swimming or how about sedate cruise around the lake? You can board from several spots and you can use the trips to explore the lakeside towns.

Discover more about boat tours on Windermere 

Visit Dove Cottage

In the late 18th century Wordsworth and his sister moved to this idyllic cottage on the edge of Grasmere. It’s a beautiful cottage, restored and recreating the ambience of the period of Wordsworth’s residence. There’s rooms to explore in the cottage and there’s a stunning garden on the slopes behind, plus from 2021 there’s a museum dedicated to Wordsworth and his works.

Plan a visit to Dove Cottage in Grasmere

A walk around Lake Buttermere

Big sigh. It’s just so beautiful here. Buttermere and its lake are a truly lovely way to spend a few hours. The walk around the lake is an easy two hours and it takes in some fabulous scenery. It’s a circular walk, so once you’re back in Buttermere head to the (dog friendly) bar at the Bridge Hotel.

Check out the details of the walk around Lake Buttermere through the National Trust 

Discover the cuisine of The Lakes

It might not spring to the front of your mind when considering the UK’s gourmet meccas, but there’s a surprising number of local dishes to try in and around The Lake District. From a unique gingerbread to Windermere Char – a type of fish mainly found in the lakes – along with plenty of lamb dishes and of course the menu at The Punch Bowl Inn. 

Read more about the cuisine of The Lakes and neighbouring Cumbria

Sample a Tea Room

Any fan of Withnail and I will know that there are tea rooms in Penrith… but they’re elsewhere too! Across the regions there are plenty of fantastic places for a cuppa after you’ve been tramping the trails or exploring the markets. We’ve picked Mr H’s in Ambleside because the reviews are sparkling and the pictures of their cakes make us want to get in the car and drive there – plus they’re fans of the pooch so check out their Instagram feed:

Mr H’s Instagram feed has info on their cakes and cool things to buy 

The Ruskin Museum, Coniston

In the centre of Coniston, close to the lovely Coniston Water, is this treasure of a museum. Full of history, stories and artefacts from across the area it’s a fascinating way to spend an afternoon – especially a rainy one, of which the The Lake District has its fair share.

Find out more about the Ruskin Museum 

Try Fell Walking

The description of fells as “high and barren landscape feature, such as a mountain range or moor-covered hills” doesn’t really do them justice. Across the region there are officially 214 fells or varying levels of hiking difficulty, but Catbells (above) is a good starter if you’re not an expert. The freedom and space helps sooth the soul.

Find out more about the Fells of Cumbria and The Lake District 

Three insider tips from Further Afield in The Lake District 

Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Caroline and Jonathan from The Cedar Manor hotel on the shores of Lake Windermere include this steam railway in their list of local attractions. Head to Haverthwaite Station near Ulverston and jump on the train to take a trip down memory lane around the lake.

Find out more about a trip on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Townend House, Troutbeck

Helen and Richard of Hart Barn and Stone Cottage recommend a visit to this gem of an historic house. In the same family for 400 years before it passed to the National Trust, the house is overloaded with original features and contents. The house isn’t a huge stately pile, but more a traditional Cumbrian farmhouse which bears witness to its owners’ social changes. Fascinating.

Find out more about Townend

Gummer’s How and Scout’s Scar

The team at the Punch Bowl Inn suggest heading up Gummer’s How or Scout’s Scar for amazing views (and the chance to walk off a wonderful lunch in their restaurant). They also suggest a spot of wild swimming at High Dam.

Find out more about the walks at Gummer’s Howe 


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