What to do on holiday in the Lake District
The Lake District is a playground of relaxation, fun, adventure, great food, superb hospitality, unique culture, fresh air and mesmerising scenery.
Here are the top 5 things to do when visiting the award-winning Lake District National Park.
1.) Bag a Wainwright
Holiday cottages in the Lake District provide the ideal walking base to bag yourself a coveted Wainwright peak, as many of the most popular walks can be accessed right from your doorstep. Of course, you’ll need to make sure you choose accommodation close to a local Lakeland pub to sample the famous Lake District hospitality, fine ales, Cumberland sausage or Herdwick Lamb. This will be well deserved after climbing the 950m ascent of Helvellyn – a popular fell that featured in the first of Alfred Wainwright’s famous hand-printed books, ‘A Pictorial Guide to the Lakeland Fells’. Wainwright was of course a fan of a good post walk pint!
2.) Shop ‘til you Drop
The Lake District is one of the UK’s premier shopping destinations for all things outdoor, from specialist climbing crampons to the latest North Face hoodie. If you’re after some new walking boots, make sure you wear them in before taking to the fells. Even a gentle lakeside stroll in brand new boots can leave you reaching for the plasters.
Head to Keswick or Ambleside for the widest selection of outdoor gear. Bowness-on-Windermere is all about ‘boutique shopping’, whilst Cartmel, home to some great Cumbrian culinary producers as well as Michelin star restaurant L’Enclume, is a foodie mecca.
3.) Try the native tipple
As the Uk’s most popular walking destination, a refreshing pint in a great local pub nicely rewards a rambling accomplishment. There are over 20 great breweries in the Lake District, more than any other region in the UK.
The biggest and perhaps best known nationally is Jennings, Cockermouth. Coniston Brewery’s Bluebird Bitter, named after the ill-fated crash of speed record breaker Donald Campbell in his Bluebird boat, is a popular one.
Hops adorn the ceiling of fine dining restaurant and pub, the Drunken Duck, where it’s not just the ducks getting in on the beer action, their great range of ales, brewed onsite, are often named after four-legged pets, the likes of Tag Lag and Cat Nap.
If a brewery tour appeals, head to multi award-winning Hawkshead Brewery in Staveley, for a perfect beer experience. Relax over a ‘long lunch’ in their Beer Hall, sampling ‘the perfect pint’ whilst enjoying tapas designed to complement the ales and perhaps relax to some live music, what perfection.
4.) Visit a literary shrine
Enjoy the landscape and the homes that inspired some of the greatest creative minds in the world, from the creator of Postman Pat and Swallows and Amazons to painter William Turner, William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.
Step inside the study and take in the wonder of Grasmere, where some of the greatest poetry was written and inspired – Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage.
Art lovers can indulge passions in a truly unique collection, from Pre Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts Movement to the founding of the Welfare State, at John Ruskin’s home, Brantwood.
No literary shrine is more captivating than that of Beatrix Potter’s home, Hill Top farm, preserved just as she had lived, where you can see how the 34 acre working farm and surrounding landscape inspired so many of her lovable farmyard characters, like Jemima Puddleduck, Tom Kitten and Jeremy Fisher.
5.) Watch a local event
There’s long been a rich creative life in the Lakes. Today, the region remains a hive of creative activity with an array of unique festivals and events across the calendar.
Whatever your accommodation, from Lake District holiday cottages to wild camping, tying your holiday up with a local event is certainly worth doing, especially when they are set in some of the best venues in the world, from a classical concert in a cave, a gig amidst the fells to poetry reading to the rhythm of water lapping on a lake.
Some particularly famous ones include Appleby Horse Fair, Cumberland Show, Lake District Summer Music Festival, Words on the Water, Kendal Mountain Festival and Kendal Calling, Cumberland wrestling and fell running at Grasmere Sports and the popular Cartmel Races.
If you have, in the words of Wordsworth, “an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy,” you’ll find plenty to capture your heart and imaginations in the magical Lakes.