25 things to do this summer in the Lake District / Cumbria

Coniston Water. Brantwood

Coniston Water. Brantwood

Celebrate the bicentenary of the great Victorian writer, painter, art critic, political economist, environmentalist and social commentator, John Ruskin, at his lakeside home for 29 years. Check out Incandescence: Turner’s Venice while you’re here.

www.brantwood.org.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Derwentwater. Keswick Launch

Derwentwater. Keswick Launch

The perfect way to get around this Queen of the Lakes. Hop on and off at eight spots along the way because there are beautiful walks from the different landing stages. Rowing and motor boats available to hire from Easter to October.

www.keswick-launch.co.uk

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Birdoswald, near Gilsland. Birdoswald Roman Fort

Birdoswald, near Gilsland. Birdoswald Roman Fort

Get ‘hands on with the Romans’ - from July 20 to September 1 - for a taste of life 2,000 years ago at one of the most important forts dotted along Hadrian’s Wall. £1 million investment unveiled here in 2018.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/birdoswald-roman-fort-hadrians-wall

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

Haverthwaite, near Newby Bridge. Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Haverthwaite, near Newby Bridge. Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Be a ‘loco driver’ for the day on this delightful railway line that links Haverthwaite and Lakeside at  the southern end of Windermere, steam engines often pulling the trains for the 18 minute journey.

www.lakesiderailway.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Near Hawkshead. Grizedale Forest

Near Hawkshead. Grizedale Forest

Celebrate the centenary of the Forestry Commission (founded September 1919) by heading to this 6,000 acre forest for an exhilarating mix of walking trails, biking routes, artworks (over 50 sculptures), wildlife and a high wire adventure course, Go Ape.

www.forestryengland.uk/grizedale

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Cockermouth. Wordsworth House and Garden

Cockermouth. Wordsworth House and Garden

Take in the summer exhibition called This Land is Our Land as you explore the house where poet William Wordsworth was born in 1770. Plenty for children here plus a good sense of what life was like all those years ago.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wordsworth-house-and-garden

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Near Penrith/Ullswater. Lowther Castle

Near Penrith/Ullswater. Lowther Castle

Gardens within gardens, a woodland adventure playground, the Japanese Teahouse (open July), a sculpture gallery, bicycle hire, great walks and the dramatic ruins of Lowther Castle. No wonder it was Large Visitor Attraction of the Year, Cumbria Tourism Awards 2018.

www.lowthercastle.org

Eden Valley and the East 

Coniston Water. Coniston Launch

Coniston Water. Coniston Launch

Sit back and savour the impressive surroundings of Coniston Water as you explore Lakeland’s third largest lake, associated with the great Victorian John Ruskin (bicentenary this year), writer Arthur Ransome and speed ace Donald Campbell.

www.conistonlaunch.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Near Windermere. Holehird Gardens

Near Windermere. Holehird Gardens

It’s 50 years since the formation of the Lakeland Horticultural Society so head up from Windermere towards Troutbeck on the A592 and pay a visit to what was once voted one of the nation’s favourite gardens on BBC’s Gardeners’ World.

www.holehirdgardens.org.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Carlisle. Carlisle Cathedral

Carlisle. Carlisle Cathedral

Small in size, big on beauty, the cathedral was founded in 1122 and has survived fire, civil war and centuries of border conflict. Glorious east window, wonderful ceiling. Christine Hurford exhibition here August 17-26.

www.carlislecathedral.org.uk

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

Bowness, Waterhead near Ambleside, Lakeside. Windermere Lake Cruises

Bowness, Waterhead near Ambleside, Lakeside. Windermere Lake Cruises

Hop aboard MV Teal or MV Swan for an evening buffet cruise on Lakeland’s glorious centrepiece, England’s largest natural stretch of water. Windermere Lake Cruises sail all year round between Bowness, Waterhead and Lakeside.

www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Alston. South Tynedale Railway

Alston. South Tynedale Railway

Take a trip through the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on this narrow gauge railway. It’s an 80 minute round trip between Alston and Slaggyford, the trains pulled by steam, diesel or electric locos.

www.south-tynedale-railway.org.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Coniston Water. Coniston Boating Centre

Coniston Water. Coniston Boating Centre

Hire a waterbike, canoe, kayak, sailing dinghy, rowing boat, paddle board or electric motor boat and take your time to explore Lakeland’s third largest stretch of water. The centre’s run by the Lake District National Park Authority.

www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Near Newby Bridge. Lakeland Motor Museum

Near Newby Bridge. Lakeland Motor Museum

Wonderful collection of cars, motorbikes, bikes and motoring memorabilia - over 30,000 exhibits in all - plus the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition, paying tribute to speed aces Sir Malcolm and Donald Campbell.

www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Near Penrith. Rheged

Near Penrith. Rheged

Shops, cafés, an art gallery, two giant cinema screens showing new release films, creative workshops for children and an annual programme of fairs, shows and exhibitions. All packed into a huge grass-covered building, and two minutes from junction 40 of the M6.

www.rheged.com

Eden Valley and the East

Ambleside. The Armitt Museum and Library

Ambleside. The Armitt Museum and Library

Catch Langdale. In a Time of Change at this treasure trove of local history and culture. After that check out the paintings by Kurt Schwitters and Beatrix Potter: Image and Reality which explores the life of this famous author.

www.armitt.com

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Lanercost, near Brampton. Lanercost Priory

Lanercost, near Brampton. Lanercost Priory

An idyllic spot, not far from Hadrian’s Wall, this was where Edward I spent six months over the winter of 1306-7. The priory buildings are now ruins but a lovely church remains, with windows by Edward Burne-Jones.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/lanercost-priory

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

Windermere. Brockhole

Windermere. Brockhole

Visitor centre for the Lake District National Park Authority, with a lovely lakeside location, heaps of family activities (waterbikes new for the summer), landscaped gardens, a big shop, information centre and The Gaddum restaurant, great for afternoon tea. Events programme too.

www.brockhole.co.uk

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Near Keswick. Whinlatter Forest

Near Keswick. Whinlatter Forest

Nine waymarked walking trails, three cycling trails, a children’s play area, a Go Ape adventure course and more - all in what is billed as ‘England’s only true mountain forest’. Celebrate the centenary of the Forestry Commission at the same time.

www.forestryengland.uk/whinlatter

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Near Lakeside. Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Near Lakeside. Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Evocative and peaceful old mill that takes you back to a time when it turned out a quarter of a million bobbins a week for the textile industry. Former silver award winner at the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stott-park-bobbin-mill

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Coniston Water. Gondola

Coniston Water. Gondola

Try your hand at being an ‘engineer for the day’ on this elegant ‘Victorian’ steam yacht, now fuelled by wood waste rather than coal. Gondola offers Full Lake cruises and Head of Lake cruises, calling at Brantwood and Monk Coniston.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/steam-yacht-gondola

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Cartmel. Cartmel Priory

Cartmel. Cartmel Priory

One of the glories of Cumbria, the priory church was founded in 1189 with its oldest parts dating from within 50 years of that time. Its distinguishing feature is the upper part of the tower which stands on the lower section at an angle of 45 degrees.

www.cartmelpriory.org.uk

Kendal and the South

Askham, near Ullswater. Askham Hall Gardens

Askham, near Ullswater. Askham Hall Gardens

Grade I listed Askham Hall is now a hotel but its Grade II listed, 12 acre gardens (and kitchen garden café) are open to the public. ‘A romantic and quintessentially English mixture of formal and informal,’ said Daily Telegraph travel in 2019.

www.askhamhall.co.uk/gardens-and-cafe

Northern Lakes, Keswick and Western Lakes

Eden Valley. Settle to Carlisle railway

Eden Valley. Settle to Carlisle railway

Celebrate the thirty years since this scenic railway line was saved by travelling from the ‘railway city’ of Carlisle down through Appleby, Kirkby Stephen and Mallerstang in the lovely Eden Valley.

www.settle-carlisle.co.uk

Eden Valley and the East

Carlisle. Carlisle Castle

Carlisle. Carlisle Castle

Get a sense of the turbulent centuries along the Anglo-Scottish border by paying a visit to this imposing 12th century castle where the last of its ten sieges came as late as 1745.

www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/carlisle-castle 

Carlisle, Hadrian’s Wall and Solway Coast

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