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Things To Do In Lake District - 101 experiences

Read our guide for Things To Do In Lake District and Find and Book experiences, courses, activities and tours! Browse through the list of experiences, either instantly book onto your dates or enquire to book. All you have to do is turn up and enjoy! If you’ve got any questions about any specific experience, send a message and the providers will aim to get back to you as soon as possible. Have a specific experience in mind that we don’t have listed? No problem, drop us a message and we’ll send your quote around to hundreds of the best experience providers nationwide and come back with you the best quote, making it easy for you to make the most of your spare time!

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The Lake District

England’s largest National Park is arguably its most dramatic and stunning one, recognised by it’s recent awarding of World Heritage status. It is home to England’s highest mountain - Scafell Pike - and it’s deepest lake (Wastwater), as well as bustling local towns like Keswick (home to the Mountain Film Festival each year).
Covering an impressive 912 square miles it is the largest National Park in England, and also the most popular, boasting over 16 million visitors a year. And with very good reason! If you’re looking for things to do in beautiful surroundings you’d be hard pushed to beat the Lake District.
Lake District Activities

Things to do in Lake District

The Lake District in the north-west of England is two-thousand square kilometres of adventure playground and the ultimate adventure destination in England. The Lake District's geological make-up plus its incomparable scenery makes it perfect for fell walking or hiking. With over 3000km of rights of way there are numerous routes graded from easy through to serious inside the national park boundaries, plus the more demanding Cumbria Way, a seventy-mile long footpath between the towns of Ulverston and Carlisle for those looking for a more challenging undertaking. One of the most popular walks, and voted one of the best 100 walks in the UK, is climbing Scafell Pike, England's highest Mountain at 978m elevation.
Home to both the UK's deepest and biggest lakes, Wastwater and Windermere, as well as multiple other freshwater bodies, there's no shortage of watersport opportunities including diving, canoeing, rafting and boating in the Lake District. For cyclists, whether recreational or serious aficionados of mountain biking, the Whinlatter and Grizedale Forests offer routes to suit all interests and capabilities, whilst the roads themselves off some beautiful (and often testing) routes through the mountains and lakes. There are great climbing challenges for lead, trad and sport climbers on Shepherds Crag and Dow Crag to name just a couple of locations. And let’s not forget other activities like via ferrata, zip wires, horse riding, sailing, bushcraft and much more! The Lake District truly is a mecca for all UK outdoor adventures.
It’s not just physical activities that are well catered for here either. With such dramatic backdrops it's an ideal location for painting and photography courses and workshops, as well as many other creative arts. Foodie’s are well catered for, and there are plenty of great activities for younger visitors too, such as high ropes courses, as well as many family attractions.
Lake District Watersports

What are the best things to do in the Lake District?

This is a completely subjective question of course, but the list below are some of our favourites, alongside some of the more popular ones. For more choices, to find guides, book tours or discover more detail please use the filters on this page to see what’s nearby and available.
  • Climb Scafell Pike
  • Hire a boat on Lake Windermere
  • Via Ferrata at Honister Slate Mine
  • Winter skills on Helvellyn
  • Ghyll Scrambling
  • Canadian canoeing on Lake Coniston
  • Hire a bike on the mountain bike trails at Grizedale Forest

Cheap things to do in the Lake District

The beauty of the great outdoors is that so much you can do is free! Having said that if you’re not comfortable map reading there are plenty of ways to still get out into the hills and lakes, with group tours and hikes, ferry rides, and bike or kayak hire. Below are a few ideas to get you started, and please use the filters on this page to see what’s nearby and available.
  • Hire a bike to cycle along the shores of the iconic Lake Windermere
  • Go star gazing! The Lake District is one of the darkest places in the country.
  • Take a swim in one of the famous Lakes!
  • Join a free hike offered by some of the organisations who look after the National Park
  • Check out some of the amazingly preserved Roman ruins that abound in the area, many of which are free to visit.

Lake District mountains

Unique things to do in the Lake District

Every National Park will have its own distinct features and areas to explore, and the Lake District is no exception. Here’s a little sample to get you started, and use our filters to find more options, book tours to help you find these gems, or for more inspiration:
  • The Bowder Stone, Borrowdale Valley: anyone (or anything) exploring this valley some 10,000-13,500 years ago might have had quite the shock as this 200 ton lump of hardened lava crashed down to earth from the Bowder Crag above, landing with such force that it remained embedded in the ground teetering on one corner. The stone itself is believed to be over 450 million years old and even has a staircase, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with this dramatic example of the area’s geological history.
  • Castlerigg Stone Circle, Keswick: just a short (30 minute) walk from Keswick lies one of the best stone circle sites in Britain. With 38 stones in total it sits in a large field, meaning kids can play whilst adults enjoy a picnic and take in the amazing views. Visitors are also able to touch the stones, which date back to Neolthic times some 4000-5000 years ago. The site is also popular with photographers with it’s great backdrop of Skiddaw, though best to visit at the beginning or end of the day to capture the best light and avoid the crowds!
  • Take a Cruise on Lake Windermere: ok so this isn’t a ‘hidden gem’, being one of the most popular things to do on England’s largest lake, but the fact that it is the largest body of water in the country does make it unique, and doing it on one of the traditional steam boats makes it even more so. It’s an easy and relaxing way to spend some time on the water with it’s amazing backdrops.
  • Wordsworth Grasmere: find out what inspired one of our greatest poets at Dove Cottage, the Grasmere home of William Wordsworth. Discover more about the man himself, and take in the landscapes that feature in many of his finest works.
  • Little Langdale, Slaters Bridge: this is a gorgeous little 16th Bridge that spans the shallow River Brathay, making for a lovely lunch spot for anyone, but in particular for families so the kids can enjoy paddling in the pools around the bridge. Cathedral Cavern is also walkable from here, making it a great day’s hiking with some stunning features, and a pub or two at the end for a rewarding stop afterwards!

Active things to do in the Lake District

The Lake District is an activity-seekers dream. It’s not so much what you can do here as what you can’t do! For walkers and cyclists (both on and off road) there are thousands of miles of routes and paths to explore, and many a peak to be claimed. Watersports enthusiasts are of course very well catered for too, with plenty of kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding, windsurfing and sailing, fishing and wakeboarding all readily available. There is some superb climbing, and the National Park is home to the first via ferrata centre to open in the country, at the Honistor Slate Mine. The many gulleys play host to some fantastic ghyll scrambling, whilst there is also plenty of opportunity for more local activities like high ropes, archery or a bushcraft survival course! Some of our top recommendations include:
  • Climbing Helvellyn
  • Tackling the via ferrata extreme course the Honister Slate Mine
  • Ghyll Scrambling down a steep and rocky river, waterfalls included!
  • Kayaking is always a fabulous way to explore an area, and we’d recommend Ullswater for it’s many islands and beaches, and Coniston for it’s dramatic backdrop of the Old Man of Coniston.
  • Cycling: whilst the mountain bike trails at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests are worthy of a mention, it’s the family-friendly easy trail alongside Lake Windermere we’re picking for this one. It’s a lovely way for the whole family to be active whilst enjoying some great views and stopping to take in some picturesque spots, have a little paddle, a picnic, and spend some quality time together.

Lake District Scenery

Cultural things to do in the Lake District

With Roman ruins and ties to the likes of Beatrix Potter, Williams Wordsworth, John Ruskin and Samual Taylor Coleridge, there’s plenty of culture to absorb amongst the striking landscapes of the Lake District National Park. Alongside the historical points of interest, there’s a lakeside theatre on the shores of Derwentwater, as well as photography and painting courses to take advantage of such stunning scenery. The arts and crafts scene is well established here, with other courses covering a massive range of interests, from hand spinning and chicken-wire sculpture to footstool making and raku pottery.
Browse our list of courses and workshops to see what’s coming up and available.

Things to do in the Lake District with kids

Whatever ages they are, there’s plenty here to keep the kids occupied. Older children will enjoy the various outdoor activities on offer (as above), whilst younger ones will love some of the child-oriented attractions, such as the various wildlife centres, boat trips and activity centres. Children of all ages can enjoy a bike ride around the lakes, whilst the Lake District National Park Authority has come up with a list of over 40 ‘Miles Without Stiles’ routes, which are easily accessible walks ideal for those with pushchairs or smaller children, whilst still allowing the grown ups to appreciate the landscapes and the fresh air.

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