Close Icon
A row of wooden rowing boats on the shore of Derwentwater

Breathtaking landscapes, serene lakes and charming towns and villages come together to create an exciting collection of things to do in the Lake District.  

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenalin junkie, an avid historian or a literary fanatic, there’s a treasure trove of activities and attractions to choose from.

We’ve handpicked our favourite things to do in the Lake District and compiled them into this handy guide. Continue reading to find out more… 

Things to do in the Lake District

Covering an area of 2,362 square kilometers, the Lake District National Park offers an exciting range of activities and attractions.

Whether you’re looking for things to do in the Lake District for families, couples or with four-legged friends, there’s something to suit everyone amongst these popular Lake District attractions.

Our wonderous region is a magical choice at any time of year. The landscape bursts into a riot of colours in the Spring, whilst the Summer unveils the region in it’s full splendor. Autumn becomes a tapestry of burnt orange, while Winter brings snow-dusted peaks to the landscape.

Experience the region’s natural wonders with an intriguing array of things to do in the Lake District in Spring, or immerse yourself in amber and gold hues with things to do in the Lake District in October.

Whenever you visit, you’re truly spoilt for choice on things to see and do.

1. Lake Windermere


Wintery scene from Low Wood Hotel jetty

A visit to Lake Windermere is an absolute must on our list of things to do in the Lake District. Arguably one of the most popular places to visit in Lake District, there’s opportunities for boat trips, watersports, fishing and lakeside walks.

Whether you’re looking for an afternoon of action-packed adventure or a serene escape from the hustle and bustle, Lake Windermere has it all.

A playground of aquatic activities, adrenaline seekers can try their hand at paddleboarding, canoeing or kayaking with Graythwaite Adventure. Alternatively, hire your own electric motor boat and see things from a different perspective with Windermere Lake Cruises or sit back and relax aboard a passenger ferry.

If you’d prefer to stay on land, take a lakeside stroll around Fell Foot Park. Why not stop for a bite to eat at The Boathouse Café while you’re at it?

England’s largest natural lake, Windermere is open to public fishing, with species including brown trout, pike, salmon and sea trout. Find out more about fishing in the Lake District here!

2. The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

If you’re looking for things to do in the Lake District for families, The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is a must. A popular Lake District attraction, The World of Beatrix Potter brings the beloved tales of Peter Rabbit and his friends to life through interactive exhibits and immersive activities.

The experience begins with a short film before coming face-to-face with your favourite characters in Jemima Puddle-Ducks woodland glade and Tommy Brocks house.

Step outside and explore Peter Rabbit’s Garden, presented as it was in Beatrix Potter’s illustrations. Be sure to keep your eye out for Mr McGregor along the way! When stomachs start to rumble, there’s a café on-site, serving brunch, lunch, little bites and sweet treats.

An indoor attraction, The World of Beatrix Potter is a great way to spend a rainy day. Looking for more way to spend a wet day in the Lakes? We’ve compiled a handy guide with inspiration on things to do in the Lake District when it rains.

3. Hill Top House

An external shot of Hill Top House and its green garden

One of the oldest National Trust properties in the Lake District, Hill Top House was built in the early 17th century.  Located in the quiet village of Near Sawrey, Hill Top House was the former home of children’s author and illustrator, Beatrix Potter.

Purchased in 1905 with the proceeds of her much-loved book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, the house was later acquired by the National Trust. Hill Top House has been preserved since 1943, offering a glimpse into the life and work of Potter.

As you maneuver through the house, you can see where many of her beloved tales made their start. The kitchen is said to have served as inspiration for the illustrations in The Tale of Tom Kitten, whilst the neighboring farmyard is reminiscent of The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.

4. The Old Man of Coniston

A pile of rocks marking the summit trig point on The Old Man of Coniston

Renowned for its countless walking, cycling and hiking opportunities, a great thing to do in the Lake District is to follow one of the region’s most well-known walking routes, The Old Man of Coniston.

Sitting at 2,368 feet, The Old Man of Coniston is a prominent Lake District fell offering various routes to it’s summit. Each route offers a unique perspective of the surrounding landscapes, with trails suitable to a range of abilities.

The most popular route, commonly known as the ‘Tourist Path’ leads from the centre of Coniston. The ascent is steep, zigzagging up the face of the fell and traversing through diverse terrains. Once at the top, climbers are rewarded with panoramic views across the glistening waters of Coniston from the summit.

On your descent, celebrate your achievement with a well-deserved drink or bite to eat at The Crown Inn, considered the best pub in Coniston.

For more wonderful things to do in Coniston, read the full article here.

5. Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Next up on our list of our favourite things to do in the Lake District is a scenic train ride through the beautiful Eskdale Valley. A narrow-gauage heritage steam train makes its way through some of the regions most awe-inspiring countryside, embarking on a unique, nostalgic journey.

The journey begins in Ravenglass, the only coastal village in The Lake District National Park, through the Eskdale Valley, to Dalegarth. A seven-mile route, passengers onboard can bask in the cozy ambiance of the vintage locomotive, where the rhythmic sounds of the engine provide a magical soundtrack to your experience.

There’s facilities availble on either end of the railway line, including a hearty pub and cafe at Ravenglass Station, perfect for a light refreshment.

If you time it right, the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway offers an exciting array of experiences, such as sparkling cream tea on-board and private carriage hire.

Throughout December, there’s even magical Santa Express trains, sure to keep the little ones entertained! For more things to do in the Lake District in Winter, read our helpful guide!

6. Theatre by the Lake

Red curtains on a theatre stage

Nestled on the shores of Derwentwater, in the town of Keswick, the Theatre by the Lake is one of our favourite Lake District activities.

A vibrant venue, the Theatre by the Lake offers a memorable theatrical experience, with it’s idyllic lakeside setting and stunning panoramic views of the glistening waters and the mountains beyond.

The theatre itself showcases a range of performances across two stages, from classic plays to modern productions. Previous shows include The Three Little Pigs, A Little Princess and Little Shop of Horrors.

Beyond the stage there’s plenty to see and do. Visitors can particpate in workshops and events or tour regular exhibitions held throughout the gallery spaces.

The Lakeside Restaurant is a wonderful spot to enjoy a bite to eat. Serving fresh, locally sourced produce against a stunning waterfront backdrop, where better for a pre-theatre dining experience?

7. Levens Hall and Gardens

Topiary Garden at Levens Hall

Idyllically positioned on the outskirts of Kendal, Levens Hall is an impressive Elizabethan manor house, enveloped by a thriving 9,500 acre agricultural estate. Famed for its topiary gardens, Levens Hall is home to one of our favourite gardens in the Lake District.

A privately-owned home, Levens Hall and Gardens is open to the public, where visitors can explore the history of the house and its links to the Duke of Wellington, meander through the world oldest topiary gardens or enjoy a bite to eat at the award-winning restaurant.

A historic mansion, Levens Hall provides a fascinating glimpse into the past through its Elizabethan interiors and antiques.

Nestled within the grounds of Levens Hall is one of the most awe-inspiring gardens in the Lake District. The meticulously sculpted topiary garden offers a tranquil escape, where visitors can stroll through wildflower meadows, vibrant rose gardens and herbaceous borders.

Fancy exploring gardens in the Lake District? Find out more in our blog.

8. Lake District Wildlife Park

Spread over 25-acres of rural parkland, the Lake District Wildlife Park is home to an exciting variety of over 100 species of exotic animals. From mammals to birds, there’s plenty to see at this popular Lake District attraction.

Come face-to-face with the colourful Mandrils, the cute Meerkats or the Lar Gibbons, the smallest of the ape family. With the American Bald Eagle, Turkey Vulture and Bengal Eagle Owl amongst the birds of prey, you’re sure to enjoy an avian adventure.

A selection of events take place throughout the day, including feeding sessions, educational talks and interactive exhibits. If you time it right, you can catch sight of the birds of prey magestically soaring through the sky.

The Lake District Wildlife Park aims to contribute to the conservation of endangered species, providing a memorable and meaningful experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Tempted to try some of these wonderful things to do in the Lake District for yourself? Secure one of these Lake District lodges and start planning your exciting holiday itinerary!

Need some inspiration on where to visit for a bite to eat or an evening tipple after visiting these Lake District attractions? Give our guide to the best pubs in the Lake District a read. 

Images courtesy of: Jonluty(CC BY 3.0 DEED); David Dixon(CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED); Robert J Heath – (CC BY 2.0 DEED); Simon Palmer – (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED);