13 Best Things to Do in Lake District for Couples and Families

Are you wondering what are the best things to do in Lake District, UK? My husband and I went to the Lake District for a week’s caravan holiday, and it was a great relaxing trip exploring the British countryside. If you are planning to visit this part of the UK, let me share with you some of the great things to do in the Lake District.

Whether you’re into an outdoor adventure or just want a laidback walk through arts and history, the mountainous region of Lake District in North West England can offer you the perfect escapade. From hiking trails to open water swims, museum visits to castle exploration, the stunning sceneries of Lake District offer a multitude of activities for couples, families, kids, and anyone from all walks of life.

Stephen and I at Windemere Lake District
Best Things to do in Lake District: Stephen and I at Windemere Lake District

Located in Cumbria and covering almost 2,362 square kilometres in size, one can hike any of the 214 fells or take a dip in one of its 16 lakes of Lake District. The fairytale-like view and setting of the Lake District have also inspired artists like Beatrix Potter, John Ruskin, Alfred Wainwright, and William Wordsworth. Clearly, there’s something that even picky travellers can enjoy in Lake District. No doubt on why it is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the UK.

Best Things to Do in Lake District for Couples and Families

Sizergh Castle

Built in 1350 by the Strictland family, this imposing medieval manor is the perfect destination for art enthusiasts and history buffs. The 60-ft Pete tower, which serves as the heart of the estate, stands as a reminder of how it was once used as a defensive fortress. The castle has been with the same family for over 26 generations.

Sizergh Castle in Lake District
Best things to do in Lake District: Visit Sizergh Castle

Over the years, Sizergh Castle has acquired over 2400 art objects. The interior of the house, itself, contains magnificent artistry, such as rare carved oak furniture in its Inlaid Chamber showing the finest of Elizabethan craftsmanship, and a 14th-century solar tower, which has retained its original fireplaces, floors, and windows. You can also view rare artefacts such as Strictland family portraits and private family archives.

Aside from the main house, the 1,600-acre estate also has a magnificent garden and woodland estate, as well as a cafe, shop, and a second-hand bookstore. Visitors will surely be amazed at its limestone rock garden, mirror lake, topiaries, apple orchard, and bird hide. Families and their kids can also enjoy fun activities at the wild play trail, such as solving clues, balance beams, and climbing walls.

Sizergh Castle’s House is open Wednesday to Sunday, while the garden, cafe, woodland estate, and shops are open daily (except for Christmas Day).

Scafell Pike

Do you like challenging yourself? How about conquering England’s highest peak? At 978 meters above sea level, Scafell Pike is England’s tallest mountain and is said to be the most difficult to climb in Lake District.

Scafell Pike
Best things to do in Lake District: Hike Scafell Pike

Together with Ben Navis and Snowdon, it is also part of the National Three Peaks Challenge, an event where participants have to reach the peak within 24 hours. It is a popular destination for mountain climbers. Visitors have the option to take the easier and more popular route via Brown Tongue from Wasdale or to take the longer one via the ‘Corridor Route,‘ which provides a better view of the mountain range.

Either way, Scafell Pike is the perfect place to share an adrenaline-filled adventure with your partner and loved ones.

Windemere

“Proudly revealed with instantaneous burst, Magnificent, and beautiful, and gay.”

The Prelude, Book IV, by William Woodsworth

This is how the famous poet William Woodsworth described the view of Windemere. With such a romantic description, it’s no wonder Windemere is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK.

The view of Lake Windemere, England’s largest lake by surface area (14.73 square kilometres), is simply stunning. Windemere, with its 18 ‘holme’ or islands, is an ideal destination for families and friends because of several activities to enjoy in the area. Canoeing, kayaking, paddling, boat rides and ferry cruises are just some of the water activities to try in Windemere.

Water sports and activities in Windemere Lake District
Best things to do in Lake District: Water sports and activities in Windemere

Biking and camping around Lake Windemere are also very popular with guests. Families will also enjoy visits to popular establishments such as Wray Castle on the western shore, where kids can play Peter Rabbit games and dress up.

Beatrix Potter in the Lake District
Best Things to do in Lake District: Visit Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction is another must-visit for kids, as it exhibits the life and works of children’s book author Beatrix Potter, whose book The Tales of Peter Rabbit remains to be one of the best-selling books in history.

I wrote another blog post here about the Best Things to Do in Windemere, I’m sure you will also have a great time visiting this charming village in the Lake District.

Ullswater

Another popular lake destination is Ullswater, which is the second largest lake in Lake District. This 7.5-mile-long lake served as the inspiration for William Woodworth’s famous Daffodils poem.

One of the highlights of the place is the Aira High Force waterfall, the most famous waterfall in Lake District. The waterfall area, which used to be a private garden for the Howard family estate, is a dream for any nature lover. Surrounded by almost half a million kinds of native and ornamental trees. You might even see a red squirrel on its waterfall trail, or have your wish come true in its ‘wish tree.’

Another popular activity in Ullswater is a hike to the summit of Place Fell. On top of Place Fell is a wide plateau, and hikers can enjoy a magnificent view of Glennriding and Patterdale. Ullswater is also home to the Cockpit Stone Circle, a mystifying stone circle of about 30 standing rocks that are believed to be formed between 300 and 500 years.

Buttermere

This region of the Lake District is another must-stop for nature enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy long quiet walks. Buttermere offers several walking footpaths that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of age.

Guests can take their time and take in the view while strolling around Buttermere Lake or Loweswater. Buttermere is also famous for its waterfalls, like the Moss Force waterfall and the Scale Force waterfall, the highest waterfall in Lake District.

Ambleside

This popular tourist destination of the Lake District is the bustling stop for tourists to experience the marketplace and some local heritage. There are several stores for gifts and sports equipment. Visitors can also sample some of the local cuisines being offered by the restaurants in the area.

Lake District in the UK
Best things to do in Lake District: Visit the Waterhead Pier, Ambleside

Ambleside is also rich in historical and cultural establishments. There’s the Bridge House, one of the most photographed and Instagrammable buildings in the Lake District, which has stood the test of time since the late 1600s.

The Ambleside Roman Fort is another historical structure, which is believed to be built around the 2nd century as a supply base for Emperor Hadrian. Families can also enjoy communing with nature and have a picnic in places such as the Stock Ghyll Force waterfall foot trail, the Borans Park, and the Stagshaw Gardens.

Conniston Water

As the third largest lake in Lake District, Conniston Water is another picturesque spot for tourists. One of the best ways to enjoy the sceneries of this beautiful lake is by taking the luxurious Steam Yacht Gondola, where guests can relax on the open decks of a rebuilt Victorian yacht.

Visitors can also discover the popular mountain suitably called “The Old Man of Coniston”. The Coniston area is also famous as the home of the famed English writer and art critic John Ruskin, who is greatly admired by the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Marcel Proust.

Today, Ruskin’s life and works are celebrated and preserved in Conniston local museums such as the Ruskin Museum and the Brantwood Museum, which was once the residence of the renowned writer.

Saint Bees Head Heritage Coast

Located in the local community of Saint Bees, on the western side of the Lake District, is the Saint Bees Head Heritage Coast. The only Heritage Coast between the Welsh and Scottish borders, this popular tourist destination boasts sandy beaches and towering cliffs.

Between the two headlands of St. Bees Head, the North and the South Head is the Fleswick Bay, which is part of the path for the famous Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk.

Kendal

If there’s a ‘sweetest’ place in Lake District, it must be Kendal, a perfect place for chocoholics. The southern gateway to Lake District, Kendal is known for its vibrant and lively street shops and establishment. But its most popular product and tourist attractions are the chocolate shops.

The Famous 1657 Chocolate House, originally a bakery and an antique store, is believed to have been constructed around the 1630s. The said store has been serving traditional and luxurious products, most of which are handmade chocolates for generations and has become a popular tourist destination.

Another local product of Kendal is the Kendal Mint Cake, a popular food for mountaineers and climbers. Some of the shops producing Mint Cake are Quiggins Mint Cake, which has been in operation since the 1880s; Romney’s mint cake, which started in the 1918s; and Wilson’s Mint Cake, founded in the 1913s.

Lake District National Park

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Lake District National Park is England’s largest national park and attracts millions of tourists per year. Surrounded by lush greenery and pristine waters, it is one of the best places to go on a walk, either with your partner, your family, kids or even just by yourself.

Some of the best hiking routes in the Lake District National Park to take are:

  • Tarn Hows Circular Walk
  • Old Man Coniston route
  • Helvellyn via Thirlmere
  • Blencathra
  • Grasmere to Helm’s Crag
  • Hartsop via Hayeswater
  • Helvellyn from Glenridding via Striding Edge
  • St Sunday Crag
  • Hallin Fell
  • Howtown to Glenridding
  • Thirlmere to Blea Tarn.

Derwentwater and Keswick

On the northern part of the Lake District is the market town of Keswick, and one of its famous attractions is the beautiful Derwentwater. The said lake, also known as Keswick Lake, is famous for being serene and calming. Derwentwater has four main islands, namely Lord’s Island, St Herbert’s Island, Rampsholme Island, and Derwent Island.

One of the best spots for viewing the whole of Derwentwater is atop the Surprise View Lookout. Other places of interest in Keswick are the Keswick Museum; the Derwent Pencil museum, which exhibits pencils production dating back to 1832; and the Castlerigg stone circle, which is believed to be constructed during the Neolithic period, making it of the earliest built stone circle.

Lowther Castle and Gardens

Another one of the best things to do in Lake District is to visit the Lowther Castle and Gardens. It was built in the early 19th century, the imposing structure has stood the test of time, however, it has its drawbacks such as its closure in the 1950s.

It was re-opened to the public in 2011 and has been attracting tons of tourists ever since. The ruins of the castle, as well as the ‘lost’ garden, make for an interesting story for visitors looking for a glimpse back in time. Aside from exploring the castle’s ancient structure, there are also modern-day activities to enjoy on the grounds, such as an adventure playground, the Kendall calling music festival, and the Born Survivor obstacle run.

Grasmere

Grasmere is a rural village named after the Grasmere Lake. It is a popular destination and best things to do in Lake District for visitors looking for that idyllic and romantic countryside. Its old-world charm provides justice to the famous poet William Woodsworth’s description of the place in his poem A Farewell, where he calls Grasmere as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

Guests can discover for themselves why Woodsworth was so inspired by the village by visiting the Alan Bank and Grasmere, a two-storey house that was the former residence of Woodsworth himself.

Other notable tourist spots in Grasmere that are sure to satisfy the wanderlust of anyone are Helm’s Crag, where one can get a scenic view of Grasmere; the Faeryland Grasmere, a beautiful lake setting perfect for that romantic getaway; and Grasmere Waterfall Walkways, a popular waterfall trail.

Some travel tips for travellers to Lake District

  • Do plan your travel itinerary carefully. As a huge conservation site, it is easy to lose your way around the area. So make sure you know your way around, or contact a travel guide to help you navigate your way.
  • Do make the best of the available activities. Lake District offers a number of activities, from boating to forest trails, to museums visits and camping grounds.
  • Do immerse yourself in the local culture. Visit local pubs and restaurants, taste the local food, and be amazed by its local products.
  • Do travel with your loved ones. Because there’s no better way to bond and spend quality time that to share the unique Lake District experience with your partner, family members, and friends.
  • Do bring your pets. You can bring your furry companion in most areas of the Lake District.
  • Do practise respect. As a World Heritage Site, conservation is a big part of what makes the Lake District an amazing destination. Make sure to be a responsible traveller and respect the rules of the area when it comes to rubbish disposal and proper British etiquette.

I wrote a few more tips on sustainability in this article – What is Sustainable Tourism: How to be a Better Traveller?, I encourage that you read it.

I hope that helped you to plan and appreciate the beauty and the best things to do in the Lake District, don’t forget to include it on your UK itinerary.

best things to do in Lake District Cumbria UK
Best Things to Do in Lake District for Couples and Families

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Everything Zany Dual Citizen Travel Blog

Everything Zany

Travel Blog

Everything Zany Travel Blog exploring the UK and beyond. Sharing travel guides, tips, history and culture. Our travel media brand is founded by travel and hotel industry expert – Ryazan Tristram, a Dual Citizen (British – Filipina) based in Birmingham, UK. Everything Zany is a reputable and award-winning travel blog. Our work and contributions have been featured in Huffington Post, CNBC, Discovery Channel, GMA, Readers Digest, and Lonely Planet. Our missions are to build a great travel community and resource of travel tips, visas and travel guides for travellers. Join us as we travel around the UK and beyond with a mission to share the best of the world.

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