Ever one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations, the Lake District is home to 12 famous lakes, ancient woodlands, and craggy Ska Fell, the highest mountain in England.
Whether it’s an action-packed walking, hiking, climbing, cycling, fishing, or sailing experience or a relaxing, get away from it break you’re after, the largest National Park in England offers a wealth of activities to suit you.
A variety of Lake District holiday parks in stunning locations provide a comfortable base for your adventures, and you will never be far from a breathtaking view.
Whether you are looking to buy a holiday home in the Lake District, or just fancy a break in the area, read on for some of the most popular things to do in the Lake District.
The Lake District is heaven for walkers of all abilities, with options ranging from the ascent of majestic Ska Fell and long treks through the fells, to a gentle stroll by the tranquil waters.
Wherever your walking boots take you, be prepared for unpredictable weather and don’t take risks. There are many beautiful, guided walks and suggested routes, family-friendly paths, and dog walks that generally don’t involve Mountain Rescue services.
Helvellyn via Striding Edge, voted the most popular walk in the Lake District, offers several routes, including River Deep Mountain High, the Corridor Route, suggested as the best route up Ska Fell, from Seathwaite and Piers Gate.
The Fairfield Horseshoe from Ambleside or Rydal provides a full day’s hike, which encompasses the craggy heights of Heron Pike, Rydal Fell, Great Rigg, Fairfield, Hart Crag, Dove Crag and High Pike with, of course, jaw-dropping views.
The Old Man of Coniston Circular via Brown Pike, Buck Pike and Dow Crag One of the most popular hikes, on a clear day you can see as far as Blackpool. Starting from the village of Coniston with views across Coniston Water, the walk crosses an abandoned quarry, taking about three hours. There are various routes to the top according to ability, children, and dogs.
Fell Side Mine, a 5-mile trail along an old mining track to a disused mine in beautiful Caldbeck Fells, a 3-hour adventure approximately, along a path which is suitable for pushchairs.
Dodd Wood, leading through woodlands to the top of Dodd Summit, and you will be rewarded with panoramic views across the fells. You can see the Bassenthwaite Ospreys from viewpoints along the way and red squirrels at the woodland feeding stations.
Scale Hill and Crummock Water Loop: a popular, peaceful walk suitable for pushchairs, you’ll have to carry your little one across the bridges or picnic on the idyllic shores of Crummock Water.
Dog-friendly walks Wastwater and Low Wood: off the beaten track, a quiet, remote walk passing Nether Wasdale with friendly pubs and great food. Dogs run free through the woodlands, which in May are carpeted with bluebells.
Elterwater and Skelwith Bridge is a 4-mile pushchair and dog-friendly walk along the Cumbria Way, circling back through scenic farmland. Pubs and tea rooms along the route offer excellent refreshments. Heughscar and the Cockpit from Pooley Bridge, a breathtaking, well-kept route leading to the ancient stones on the wild heathlands of Moor Divot above Pooley Bridge, and from the Cockpit stone circle to Heughscar with panoramic views across Ullswater
With more than 80 bodies of water, the Lake District is a natural haven for water-sports enthusiasts with a diverse range of activities on offer.
If you like getting wet, go diving, wild swimming, or participate in the Great North Swim, the UK’s largest outdoor swimming event. Have fun dragon boat racing or raft building with your friends.
Extreme Ghyll Scrambling in Eskdale, one of the most remote, beautiful Lake District National Park areas, is an exhilarating day out in the mountains for thrill-seekers.
Between Scafell Pike and Bowfell, with waterfalls, clear pools for swimming, rocks, and 8 metre jumps, you need to be fit and at least 14 years old. Kayaking on Derwentwater with Adventure Vertical, discover secluded bays and hidden gems that can only be accessed by boat. Kayaking is as gentle and relaxing or as much of a challenge as you want it to be. Expertise is on hand.
Graythwaite Adventure Cumbria’s Tourism Experience of the Year in 2019 is set in 5000 acres of stunning wooded parkland on Lake Windermere. Experiences include water sports, off-road driving, clay pigeon shooting, archery, bushcraft, and much more.
Windermere Lake Cruisers for cruises including traditional steamers and The Keswick Launch Company offer Derwent Water cruises. Steamers have been operational on Ullswater from Pooley Bridge, Howtown and Glenridding since 1855.
Bassenthwaite Sailing Club with stunning sailing waters, Bassenthwaite is a privately run club in the heart of the northern fells of the Lake District National park. There’s a licensed bar and restaurant.
Glenridding Sailing School and Boat Hire at Ullswater offer a range of sailing, canoeing, kayaking, and windsurfing. Sailboats, canoes, and kayaks for hire.
South Windermere Sailing Club is a family-friendly club in a stunning location on the shores of Lake Windermere provides training and safe sailing for adults and young people as a social programme.
Lake District White Water Rafting is a fantastic, fun, safe outdoor adventure for the whole family exploring remote areas inaccessible on foot.
Hang Gliding: It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic setting for hang gliding and paragliding. Check out Cumbria Soaring Club Cumbria Soaring Club and Airventures for training and flying opportunities.
Water Skiing Low Wood at Windermere in the Lake District’s only centre, providing all the latest equipment, including Mastercraft ski boats.
Fishing & Angling: Relax in peaceful, stunning surroundings where salmon, char, pike and halibut swim in lakes and tarns, which can be fished with a permit. Fishing courses are available.
Rocks & Ropes-Lakes Outdoor Experience: The perfect place for rock climbing, including locations such as Upper Scout Crag for beginners, Raven Crag and Gimmer White Gill. Scout Crags. Shepherds and Black Crag at Borrowdale are superb for all skill ranges, while Dow Crag close to Coniston offers more challenging multi-pitch climbs.
More Lake District Attractions
Phew! If you’re not too exhausted after all the activity, here are some must-visit attractions:
The World of Beatrix Potter is a magical attraction that brings the writer’s enchanting children’s stories to life featuring famous characters from her books. The award-winning Peter Rabbit Garden, the programme of themed events and the famous gift shop are sure to delight all generations.
Wordsworth Grasmere, where William Wordsworth and his family lived at Dove Cottage at the end of the 17th century, is a step back in time, beautifully restored to recreate what Dorothy Wordsworth described as “the loveliest spot man hath ever found.” Wordsworth was inspired to write some of his most famous poems here.
Kendal Museum of Natural History and Archaeology, one of the longest established museums in England, houses exhibitions of archaeology, animals, and plants. The story of the Lake District from prehistoric times unfolds in outstanding displays and galleries, and the Wildlife Garden and mini nature trail offer a glimpse of the diverse lake habitats.
Holker Hall and Gardens set on stunning grounds against the Lake District hills, this delightful stately home has been the Cavendish family residence for over 400 years. For antiques and history, events for all the family, and lovingly maintained Hoker Hall offers a wonderful day out.
Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories is a fascinating heritage boat museum displaying the industrial and engineering history of the Lake District, with a range of family-oriented activities.