Try paddleboarding in the lakes
Lake District

10 Unexpected Things To Do In The Lake District

If you’re planning a trip to the Lake District, you’re in for a treat. With its stunning scenery, charming towns and villages, and exciting attractions and activities, it has something for everyone. But if you think you’ve seen it all, think again! In this article, we’ll show you 10 things to do in the Lake District that you may not have thought of.

While Lake Windermere and Ullswater are must-see attractions, there are plenty of other lakes and bodies of water in the Lake District that are worth exploring. For example, have you heard of Buttermere? This tranquil lake is surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Lake District and is the perfect place for a peaceful stroll.

Buttermere is one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in the lakes, along with Tarn Hows. These are beautiful spots and not as busy as the main attractions. 

Or how about Coniston Water? This picturesque lake is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, with opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and more.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll be pleased to know that the Lake District is home to some fascinating historic sites. For example, did you know that Cumbria was once home to the largest Roman civilian settlement in the north of England? Today, you can visit the remains of this settlement at the Ravenglass Roman Bath House. 

Water Adventures

The Lake District is known for its stunning lakes and beautiful scenery, and what better way to experience it than by getting out on the water? Here are some water adventures you might not have thought of:

Paddleboarding on the Lakes

Paddleboarding is a fun and unique way to explore the lakes. You can rent a paddleboard from Derwentwater Marina in Keswick or hire one from a number of other places around the area. Lake Windermere is a popular spot for paddleboarding, but if you’re looking for something a bit quieter, Ullswater and Coniston Water are also great options.

Try –  Hire a paddleboard on Coniston water here

Try paddleboarding in the lakes

Kayaking Excursions

Kayaking is another great way to see the lakes and get some exercise at the same time. There are plenty of places to rent kayaks around the area, including Ullswater and Coniston Water. You can also take a guided kayaking excursion if you want to learn more about the area and its wildlife.

Try – Kayaking excursions at Brockhole here.*

*From my experience Brockhole does get really busy in the summer holidays. It’s a great place for a family day out, I’d just advise you to get there early. 

Wild Swimming Spots

If you’re feeling brave, why not try some wild swimming? There are plenty of spots around the lakes where you can take a dip, but make sure you do your research first to make sure it’s safe. Some popular spots include Buttermere and Grasmere, but there are plenty of other hidden gems to discover.

No matter what water adventure you choose, make sure you stay safe and follow any rules or regulations in place. And don’t forget to take in the stunning scenery around you!

Before you go check the Lake District National Park guide to where you can swing and safety measures here

Try wild swimming in the lakes

Want to stay by a lake? See our Lake District fishing lodges here

Cultural Experiences

If you’re looking for a cultural experience in the Lake District, you won’t be disappointed. From literary landmarks to historical sites, there’s something for everyone. Here are a few sub-sections to help you plan your cultural itinerary:

Literary Landmarks

The Lake District has long been a source of inspiration for writers, and there are plenty of literary landmarks to explore. Visit Dove Cottage in Grasmere, where William Wordsworth wrote some of his most famous poems. You can also visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness*, where you can learn about the life and work of the beloved children’s author. For more literary inspiration, head to Keswick, where you’ll find the Theatre by the Lake, which hosts a variety of plays, readings, and talks throughout the year.

*This is great for young children, I have been quite a few times! If it’s the summer holidays or May half term then try to pre book as it gets very busy. 

Artistic Inspirations

The Lake District has also inspired many artists over the years, and there are plenty of galleries and museums to explore. Visit the Castlerigg Stone Circle in Keswick, which dates back to the Neolithic era and is said to have inspired many artists and writers over the years. This is an English Heritage site and is chargeable. 

Castlerigg stone circle Keswick

You can also visit the John Ruskin Museum in Coniston, which celebrates the life and work of the famous artist and social reformer.

Historical Sites

If you’re interested in history, there are plenty of sites to explore in the Lake District. Visit Lowther Castle in Penrith, which dates back to the 12th century and is now a popular tourist attraction. You can also visit the ruins of the Old Dungeon Ghyll Hotel in Langdale, which was destroyed by fire in 2018. For a glimpse into local history, head to Bridge House in Ambleside, which dates back to the 17th century and is one of the most photographed buildings in the Lake District. This always fascinated me as a child! 

Photo credit: Visitlakedistrict

Whether you’re interested in literature, art, or history, the Lake District has plenty to offer. Don’t miss the chance to explore this UNESCO World Heritage Site and experience the unique culture and countryside of this beautiful part of the UK.

Unique Attractions

If you’re looking for something a little different to do in the Lake District, there are plenty of unique attractions to explore. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Brockhole on Windermere

Brockhole on Windermere is a stunning country house that has been transformed into a visitor centre. It’s a great place to visit if you’re interested in learning about the history of the Lake District, as well as the local flora and fauna. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy, including treetop adventures, mini golf, and boat hire. You can also enjoy a bite to eat at the café or pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop.

If you have active kids aged around 9 to 15 then they will love the tree-top nets. Suspended between multiple trees they can go around them bouncing until your hearts content! 

Stargazing Spots

The Lake District is known for its stunning scenery, and what better way to appreciate it than by stargazing? There are plenty of places in the Lake District where you can see the stars, but some of the best spots include Aira Force, Ennerdale Water, and Buttermere.

Make sure you bring a blanket and a hot drink to keep warm while you take in the beauty of the night sky.

The Drunken Duck

The Drunken Duck is a quirky pub that’s well worth a visit. It’s located in the heart of the Lake District and offers a warm welcome to visitors. The pub has a great selection of real ales and delicious food, including locally sourced ingredients. It’s also a great place to stay if you’re looking for accommodation in the area. The rooms are cosy and comfortable, and the pub itself has a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or just good food and drink, the Lake District has something for everyone. Make sure you check out these unique attractions during your visit.

Local Delights

When visiting the Lake District, there are a few local delights that you don’t want to miss out on. From tasty treats to relaxing afternoon tea spots and scenic bike rides, here are some hidden gems to add to your itinerary.

Grasmere Gingerbread

Grasmere Gingerbread is a delicious treat that you can only find in the Lake District. This unique gingerbread has been handmade in the village of Grasmere since 1854 and is made from a secret recipe that has been passed down through generations. It’s a must-try for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Afternoon Tea Spots

The Lake District is known for its picturesque scenery and what better way to enjoy it than with a relaxing afternoon tea? There are plenty of spots to choose from, but some of our favourites include the Lakeside Hotel and Spa in Newby Bridge, The Forest Side in Grasmere, and The Ryebeck in Bowness-on-Windermere.

Bike Hire Services

One of the best ways to explore the Lake District is by bike. There are plenty of bike hire services available, including the popular Lake District Bikes in Windermere. They offer a range of bikes to suit all ages and abilities, including electric bikes for those who want to take it easy.

Easy Walks

If you’re looking for a gentle stroll, there are plenty of easy walks to choose from in the Lake District. Some of the most popular include the Tarn Hows Circular Walk, the Aira Force and Gowbarrow Trail, and the Keswick Railway Path. These walks offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and are suitable for all ages and abilities.

So, whether you’re a foodie, a nature lover, or an adventure seeker, the Lake District has something for everyone. Don’t miss out on these local delights during your visit!

Off the Beaten Track

When you think of the Lake District, you might picture crowded tourist hotspots like Windermere or Keswick. However, there are plenty of hidden gems to discover if you’re willing to venture off the beaten track. Here are some suggestions for unique experiences in the Lake District.

Hidden Hiking Trails

If you want to escape the crowds and discover some of the Lake District’s hidden beauty, there are plenty of lesser-known hiking trails to explore. For example, Tarn Hows is a picturesque lake surrounded by woodland and mountains, and there are several trails that offer stunning views of the area. Great Langdale is another area with plenty of hiking opportunities, including the challenging climb up to Crinkle Crags.

Secluded Swimming Spots

If you’re looking for a peaceful place to take a dip, there are plenty of secluded swimming spots in the Lake District. Buttermere is a beautiful lake with crystal-clear water and several quiet bays where you can swim in privacy. Stair also has some lovely spots for wild swimming, including a waterfall and a series of pools.

Charming Towns

While the Lake District is known for its natural beauty, there are also some charming towns and villages that are worth exploring. Keswick and Ambleside can be quite busy, but there are other towns that offer a more peaceful experience. For example, Eskdale is a small village in the western part of the Lake District that is surrounded by mountains and has plenty of walking trails. The Duddon Valley is another picturesque area with several small villages and traditional pubs.

Whether you’re looking for a challenging hike, a peaceful swim, or a charming town to explore, the Lake District has plenty to offer beyond the usual tourist hotspots. Take a chance on some of these hidden gems and discover the privacy and beauty of the Lake District for yourself.


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