I’m not usually one to go to a particular place more than once. I’d always rather go somewhere new than revisit somewhere I’ve been before. With that said, I don’t think I will ever get sick of going to the Lake District. It’s a very special place for me. I’ve been around 5 times so far, come rain or shine, summer or winter, and there’s still so much of I haven’t seen. For a first-time traveller, here’s a list of the best things to do in the Lake District.
Lake Windermere is the largest, and most popular lake of them all. There’s so much to see and do, it’s no wonder tourists flock there in droves. The downside to that, however, is that it’s pretty much always crowded. One thing I do every time I go there is hiring one of the boats on the lake. It’s become a tradition and it’s one of my favourite things to do there (on any lake for that matter). There’s also a small cruise boat that goes up and down the lake if you don’t want to drive a boat yourself!
Also along the waterfront are a few boutique shops selling cute souvenirs, and there’s a high street with shops and restaurants just up the road in Bowness. The Lake District is a very popular dog-walking destination. So, if you want to pet ALL THE DOGS then I’m sure you’ll love visiting the lakes.
Another town worth visiting along the north side of Lake Windermere is Ambleside. There are quite a few shops (a lot of them being mountain and hiking shops but still), and some really cute little restaurants and cafes.
Ullswater is my favourite of all the lakes. It was the first lake I ever saw in the Lake District. You’ll usually see more rowers and kayakers here as it’s a lot quieter than Windermere but just as beautiful. If you drive all the way down to Glenridding you can take a ride on the cruise steamer, and you can also hire your own private boat for an hour. My favourite spot in the whole Lake District is on the shores of Ullswater Lake.
Kendal & Keswick
There are some beautiful towns in and around the Lake District, and I always try and make a point to go to Kendal and Keswick when I’m visiting the Lakes. They both have some great shops and restaurants to try out, as well as taking in the local areas.
National Trust Sites
Being a national park, the Lake District has a tonne of National Trust sites to visit.
Aira Force is a very popular National Trust site located near Ullswater Lake. It’s a beautiful waterfall with a lovely forest walk. I’ve done it a couple of times now, but I want to go back again with my decent camera to photograph it properly.
Claife Viewing Station is also a great place to see, especially if you’re into photography. The viewing station is located on the west side of Lake Windermere, close by to the ferry port. It’s a fair climb, but the views from the top are worth it.
If I could give you one piece of advice when staying in the Lake District, it would be just get in the car and drive. You’ll stumble upon some beautiful walks and scenery that you’d never know were there otherwise. Hawkshead is a beautiful village to visit and walk around, even though there’s nothing to do there.
I’m going to get this out of the way now. I’m not a hiker. I absolutely love being out in nature, but due to a chronic illness hiking just isn’t for me. For that reason, this isn’t going to be a “Best hiking trails in the Lake District” post, but I couldn’t leave it off my list because of how popular an activity it is here.
To read about the best places to find great vegan food in the Lake District, click here.
What’s your favourite thing to do in the Lake District?