Well, it’s been a ‘mixed’ summer. But here in the Lakes we are used to all kinds of weather, and we did have some wonderful, hot summer days, though August has felt distinctly like autumn had already arrived! There were summer days which were lovely and warm when a swim in the lake beckoned – seems a distant memory now though…
Autumn brings its own pleasures – the colours are always spectacular, and so much to see, whether you view it from a boat on a lake; a mountain top; the beer garden of a local pub, a bike trail or two, or driving along the country roads.
As ever, there’s lots to do, from outdoor swimming, to country fairs, walks and talks, festivals, events and activities. Just get out there!
Saturday 2 September: Chillswim Windermere
Sunday 3 September: The Loweswater Show at Lorton
Thursday 7 – 10 September: Heritage Open Days Various locations
Friday 8 – 10 September: Lakes Alive Festival, Kendal
Friday 15 – 16 September: Kendal Torchlight Carnival
Saturday 9 – 10 September: Holker Chilli Fest – Cark-in-Cartmel
Thursday 14 September: Westmorland County Show, Kendal
Thursday 21 September – 24 September: Festival of the Fells – Ambleside
Saturday 14 October: Wasdale Head Shepherds’ Meet and Show
Friday 17-19 November: Kendal Mountain Film Festival
The Great Outdoors
1. Enjoy Aira Force
Aira Force, just above Ullswater is a natural playground, and has gorgeous walks, waterfalls of course, and you may spot a red squirrel. The views down the valley are breathtaking and its a place to escape for a while. There are gorgeous walks right across the tops along Gowbarrow, to Pooley Bridge, or head in the other direction towards Glencoyne Bay… the inspiration for Wordsworth’s Daffodils (but you’ll have to wait till spring to see those…) There’s a lovely tea-room and you can catch a steamer from the new jetty.
2. Take a boat ride
Whether you’re at Ullswater, Coniston or Windermere, our lovely boats continue ferrying you around the lakes, with gorgeous views of the autumn colour all around you.
3. Get out on a bike!
We’ve lots of options for bike hire in the lakes – road bikes, tourers or mountain bikes, or electric bikes, which, if your knees are a bit dodgy like mine, or you love the idea of cycling but are a bit phased by hills, an electric bike is the obvious answer. The Europeans have been doing it for years, and you still have a great day out, a good work out and some fresh air – as you still need to pedal, but this beauties can help you cruise up hills when you need to. Check out the award winning Bay Cycle Way from Barrow to Lancaster, with electric & other bike hire points along the route. Check out other locations for bike hire here. Or if you’re in the Windermere area, Lake District Bike Hire will deliver your bikes to your accommodation for you.
4. Indulge your tastebuds
- The Lakes has a great reputation for scrumptious, locally sourced food and drink.
The Lakes Distillery on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake make their own whisky, gin and vodka in the most glorious setting. They’ve also an excellent bistro too.
- Over on the west coast, you can find out about what was one of the most important ports in England – Whitehaven, where Rum was one of its biggest imports. The Rum Story tells the tale.
- If you’ve a sweet tooth, then Kendal Mint Cake, Grasmere Gingerbread, and Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding should help to satisfy you, not to mention the hand-made chocolate shops, cake shops and bakeries you’ll find in every town.
- Cumberland sausage is a meaty tasty treat, and local delicacy. You’ll find it on the menu in most pubs in the county. Eat with mash and onion gravy.. Yum !
- Award Winning Kendal Crumbly & Kendal Creamy Cheese from Low Sizergh Barn and made with their own organic milk is utterly creamy heaven.
5. Fancy a beer?
We reckon we’ve probably got the biggest selection of locally brewed ales, and micro-breweries in any county in the land – always a good reason to quench your thirst. (I think this is one that deserves a separate blog all on its own). Just explore any of the towns and villages but here’s a few to whet your whistle:
Barngates Brewery based at the famous Drunken Duck inn near Ambleside – tie in a walk around Tarn Hows before or after.
The award winning Coniston Brewing Company is home to Bluebird Bitter and other popular ales, based at the Black Bull Inn & Hotel, Coniston.
Strands Inn and Brewery, Nether Wasdale
Way out west in glorious Wasdale tie this one in with some serious walking.
Ulverston Brewing company.
Home of the famous Laurel & Hardy themed beers and the Laughing Gravy Bar!
The Brown Horse Inn at Winster started making its own beer in 2010 and has been so successful it now supplies other pubs.
6. Off the beaten track
Just a short walk from Ambleside is the National Trust’s Stagshaw Garden, an informal woodland garden, with rambling paths and an almost enchanted feel; which changes again with the autumn season. It’s close to the A591 but gives peace and sanctuary with lovely views out to the lake and mountains.
So come and enjoy the mellow season that is autumn in the Lakes, there’s so much to do and enjoy here. It could become your favourite season!