10 Things To Do in the Lakes This Autumn

Autumn is a wonderful time of year and the Lake District is a riot of beautiful colours as the seasons change. The days may be shortening but there is still lots to see and do. Here’s a few of our favourites and we hope you will try some of them when you are here this Autumn.

1. Discover if you’re a Swallow or an Amazon

Its been a long time coming, but we’re chuffed to see the film adaptation of the classic book set here in the Lakes, written by Arthur Ransome. These books just epitomise adventure and freedom, in bygone times, when kids played out all day, enjoyed the fresh air, got into a few scrapes and enjoyed the great outdoors!

The story follows the ‘Swallows’ John, Susan, Titty and Roger Walker on their summer holidays in the Lake District – camping, sailing and fishing. They camp out on the infamous Wildcat Island in the lake – but are also joined by ‘pirate’ sisters Nancy and Peggy Blackett (the Amazons).

Ransome loved the Lakes, and spent childhood holidays at Nibthwaite at the southern end of Coniston Water. One of his relatives Dick Ransome, was skipper of the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola for many a year.

We all love a film location, and this book has plenty to inspire you:

  • Wild Cat Island – two inspirations for this: Peel Island on Coniston Water and Blake Holme on Windermere. The ‘secret harbour’ is on Peel Island.
  • Cormorant Island: Silver Holme, off the western shore of Windermere.
  • Holly Howe: Bank Ground Farm towards the north of Coniston Water.
  • Rio is Bowness-on-Windermere.
  • Kanchenjunga is Coniston Old Man.

Call in at Brockhole Visitor Centre, Windermere and check out their Swallows and Amazons Adventure Trail, along with their Arthur Ransome Exhibition: Both until October 31st.

2. Get out on the Water at Coniston

Coniston Launch is sailing until 30 October.

Phone number: 017687 75753

Enjoy a full lake cruise on the National Trust’s Gondola – an iconic Victorian steam-powered yacht, which glides silently along the water, passing by many of the Swallows and Amazons locations. At this time of year the colours are spectacular.  Sailings until 31 October.

Phone number: 015394 32733.

3. Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

Visit the newest attraction in the North Lakes – The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden in Portinscale, near Keswick, at the foot of Cat Bells, tells a little-known story about Beatrix Potter. The fantastic kitchen garden, which grows fresh produce for the café; actually inspired Mr McGregor’s Garden, and Beatrix wrote the Tale of Squirrel Nutkin whilst wandering around the beautiful woodlands here. The Potter family holidayed here for a few summers. Enjoy a drink and a bit to eat Lingholm’s new café with its fabulous outside terrace taking in views of the Lake and over to Skiddaw. It will be open until dusk right through the winter. In the autumn, enjoy the fabulous red of the ivy covering the magnificent house.


4. Get on the Water at Windermere

Take a boat trip on England’s largest Lake: Windermere Lake Cruises sail right through the year, and almost in any weather! A short journey from your lodge down to Bowness Bay and have a browse at the sailing times and trips available. From a cruise and a walk, to park and cruise options, the very festive ‘Santa Cruise’ to Freedom Fridays, have a look and enjoy the autumn view of the Lakes from the longest Lake in the District – Windermere.

5. Indulge in some Art

Women’s Work: by Lancashire born artist, Freya Pocklington.

Exploring the ‘modern-day Beatrix Potter’,  inspired by the Cumbrian Landscape. Freya has been an artist-in-residence this year and you can see 8 large pieces at Acorn Bank near Penrith To the 27 November.

Visit website:  www.nationaltrust.org.uk/acornbank

Spinning the Colours of Lakeland: Blackwell

An exhibition at Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House in Bowness-on-Windermere, which explores the beautiful textiles and designs of Annie Garnett – a creative Arts and Crafts designer and entrepreneur who became a key figure in the revival of hand spinning and weaving in the Lake District.  Now until January 29 2017.

6. Eat out like a local

Cumbria is such a great place for food and drink… Here’s a few local ones we like:

  • Jackson’s Bistro in Bowness.
  • The Mortal Man, Troutbeck for good Cumbria fodder.
  • Pedro’s, Troutbeck, for tapas and some good family fun and walkable from White Cross Bay.
  • The Belsfield overlooking Bowness Bay is lovely for afternoon tea, or a bit of a posh dinner or evening cocktail.
  • Vinegar Jones & Windermere Chippy for finger licking home made chips!
  • The Wild Boar at Crook, best steaks for miles around and its own smokehouse and micro brewery.
  • Homeground Coffee Shop, Windermere, sharing tables and fabulous cakes.
  • The Brown Horse at Winster for local produce and lots of it home grown.
  • Rastellis in Windermere for traditional Italian.

7. Visit the local’s favourite shops

We love herdwicks – Cumbria’s iconic sheep! We’re all a bit herdy mad in the office – We were delighted when Herdy opened their new shop this year in Bowness – on the Brow, right next to the World of Peter Rabbit – it had to be a match made in heaven!

They also have shops in Grasmere and Keswick if you’re out and about.

We also like ‘Love the Lakes’ a shop celebrating all things Lake District, which you’ll also find in Bowness, and if you’re a bit of a foodie, it’s got to be the Hawkshead Relish Shop in Hawkshead.

8. Go Whisky & Gin tasting

We’re proud to have the Lakes Distillery up at Bassenthwaite Lake, producing the very first Lake District produced Whisky, Gin and Vodka – there’s a distillery tour, a bistro serving great local food and a shop where you can buy the lovely stuff. Open all year round with events, talks and tastings.

9. Get on the water at Ullswater

One of our favourite Lakes, Ullswater run one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world, 363 days a year, connecting to iconic walking routes, Wordsworth’s Daffodils, views of Helvellyn and new connections at National Trust Aira Force Pier. You can cruise from 20-120 minutes, check out details and tickets at www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk. There’s also a new 20 mile walking route right just opened this year, taking you all the way around Ullswater.

10. Try one of our local food markets:

Arnside Country Market

Down on the coast, Arnside country market specialises in delicious home baking, home-made cakes, savouries, bread, soup, preserves, jams, crafts, home-grown plants and seasonal vegetables. It’s held every Friday but takes a winter break from mid-December until mid-February.  Indulge yourself in all those warming and delicious autumn food treats..

9:30am to 11:30am – Market held every Friday

Kendal Made in Cumbria Farmers Market

The Kendal farmers’ market is organised by Made in Cumbria and is the oldest known market in Cumbria, with Kendal’s market charter dating back to 1189. Here you’ll find local traders selling fresh bread, local meats, organic vegetables and lots more.

9.30am to 3.30pm – 28 October 2016, 25 November 2016, 23 December 2016

11. Wander around a Garden:

One extra treat for you – the gardens around Cumbria are spectacular in the Autumn:

The ones nearest to our South Lakes Lodges are Brockhole, Sizergh Castle, Levens, Holehird – but have a look here for some inspiration: Great British Gardens