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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.