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

Rydal. Rydal Mount

Rydal. Rydal Mount

Next year sees the 250th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s birth so steal a march on the crowds and pay a visit to this much loved property, the poet’s home for the last 37 years of his life, the garden much as he created it.

www.rydalmount.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

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

Near Sawrey. Hill Top

Near Sawrey. Hill Top

Thanks to Beatrix Potter’s purchase of Hill Top in 1905, this 17th century farmhouse is one of the most famous properties in the Lake District, the interiors much as they were when the writer used it as a studio, study and a private place to relax.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

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

Near Coniston and Hawkshead. Tarn Hows

Near Coniston and Hawkshead. Tarn Hows

Take a walk around one of Lakeland's best loved and best known beauty spots, and take in the views of Wetherlam and the Langdale Pikes as you do so. The area’s a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a favoured habitat of red squirrels.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/tarn-hows

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

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 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. The house was Small Visitor Attraction of the Year at the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2019.

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, a sculpture gallery, bicycle hire, great walks and the dramatic ruins of Lowther Castle. 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, writer Arthur Ransome and speed ace Donald Campbell.

www.conistonlaunch.co.uk

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

Kendal. Quaker Tapestry Museum

Kendal. Quaker Tapestry Museum

Explore 350 years of social history and Quaker stories, as this tapestry journeys through the industrial revolution, science and medicine, astronomy, the abolition of slavery, social reform and the peace movement.

www.quaker-tapestry.co.uk

Kendal and the South

Windermere (west shore). Claife Viewing Station

Windermere (west shore). Claife Viewing Station

According to Thomas West’s 1778 Guide to the Lakes, Claife was one of a number of viewpoints or stations where early tourists to the Lake District could get the best sight of Windermere.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/claife-viewing-station-and-windermere-west-shore

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

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

Grasmere. Allan Bank

Grasmere. Allan Bank

Home, for three years, to William Wordsworth and his family, now offering a ‘different kind of National Trust experience’. Find a place to read or write, paint and draw, play chess, have a picnic or watch the red squirrels through the binoculars.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere

Grasmere, Hawkshead, Coniston

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 a 95 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, creative workshops for children and an annual programme of fairs, shows and exhibitions. Packed into a huge grass-covered building, two minutes from junction 40 of the M6.

www.rheged.com

Eden Valley and the East

Low Wray. Wray Castle

Low Wray. Wray Castle

A Gothic revival castle overlooking Windermere, the perfect setting for picnics, dog walking, wild play for children and plenty of other activities. Guided tours fill in the history of the castle where Beatrix Potter spent a holiday in 1882.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/wray-castle

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

Hawkshead. Beatrix Potter Gallery

Hawkshead. Beatrix Potter Gallery

Check out Telling Tales, 2019’s exhibition here which explores the enduring popularity of Beatrix Potter’s characters and stories, and looks at why they still play a part in so many people’s lives today.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/beatrix-potter-gallery

Grasmere, Hawkshead and Coniston

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.

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 Cumbria's glories, 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

Near Newby Bridge. Fell Foot Park

Near Newby Bridge. Fell Foot Park

Hire a rowing boat, a canoe, a kayak or paddle board at this Victorian country park on the south east shore of Windermere. It’s an ideal spot for a walk, a run or a picnic as well. Café here too.

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/fell-foot

Windermere, Ambleside and Bowness-on-Windermere

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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