Things To Do

We are not short on activities in the Lake District. In fact we are blessed with a plethora of indoor and outdoor, natural and built attractions! Below are a few of our recommendations and there are plenty more if you decide to return to stay with us time and time again.

windermere lake cruises

A cruise on Lake Windermere

Windermere Lake cruises is Cumbria’s most popular attraction and a trip on a ‘traditional steamer’ around the lake and its 18 islands is a ‘must do’ for all visitors. England’s largest natural lake stretches for over 10 miles from Ambleside to Newby bridge. Cruises last from 45 minutes to 3 hours or you may buy a whole day ticket, depending on where you want to go. Cruise past mountains, woodlands, islands and fells, as well as the many spectacular hotels which were once homes to the wealthy Lancashire cotton mill owners.

A SCENIC TOUR WITH 'MOUNTAIN GOAT'

Mountain Goat have been organising specially tailored tours of the Lakes for the last 40 years, so that you don’t have to do the driving. They pick up and return to Lindeth Fell and offer a variety of full day and half day tours all year round in their smart 16 seater vehicles. Reliable, informative and highly recommended.

Mountain Goat Tours, Lake District
Beatrix Potter's Lake District

A DAY OUT IN BEATRIX POTTER’S LAKELAND

Beatrix Potter is one of the most famous children’s authors of all time and her characters include Peter rabbit, Benjamin bunny, Mrs Tiggiwinkle and Jemima Puddleduck. Beatrix holidayed in the lakes for many years and used her income from her books to purchaser farms in the lake district eventually becoming a respected Cumbrian sheep farmer and breeder, and marrying a local solicitor.

See our suggestions below:

DISCOVER BEATRIX POTTER:

HILL TOP

Beatrix bought Hill Top farm at Far Sawrey in 1905. She wrote many of her famous stories in this little 17th century stone house., and her books contain many pictures based on the house and traditional cottage garden. When she died in 1943, she left Hill Top to the National trust with the proviso that it be kept exactly as she left it complete with her furniture and china.

Lunches and evening meals are available in the nearby Tower Bank Arms, which features in the Tale of Jemima Puddleduck.

MOSS ECCLES TARN

About a mile from Near Sawrey up a bridleway known as Stoney Lane a gentle walk leads you to Moss Eccles tarn, one of Beatrix’s favourite places. This is where she kept her rowing boat and spent many happy hours while her husband fished, painting and developing her characters such as the tale of Jeremy Fisher.

HAWKSHEAD VILLAGE

inspired many of Beatrix Potter’s illustrations including Jonny Town-Mouse. Make sure you visit this quaint Lakeland village about 2 miles from Hill Top and stop off at the Beatrix Potter’s Gallery which used to be her husband’s solicitor’s practice.

THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER ATTRACTION IN BOWNESS

 appeals to all ages. Life size recreations of scenes from the books are complete with sights and sounds, starting with a short informative film. In the delightful outdoor Peter Rabbit Garden (which won a gold award at 2014 Chelsea flower show) catch a glimpse of the cabbages where Peter rabbit lost a shoe and the garden gate which he squeezed under trying to escape Mr Macgregor. Head to the tea room to try some of the fruit and vegetables grown in the garden.

ON LOCATION

In 2007 Beatrix’s story was brought to life in the Hollywood movie Miss Potter, starring Renee Zellweger who said ‘It brings the whole story to life, to be in the places where Beatrix lived. I have been completely stunned by the beauty of the landscape and the tranquillity’. Filming took place at Yew Tree Farm Coniston, Loughrigg Tarn, Tarn Hows, Derwent water, Loweswater, Keswick and locations throughout the Lakes. In 2018 an animated version of the classic tale of Peter rabbit starring the voice of James Corden features locations including Windermere high street and train station.

BLACKWELL ARTS & CRAFTS HOUSE

We are so lucky to have this architectural gem on our doorstep!
Just a few minutes by car from Lindeth Fell, Blackwell is a Grade 1 listed building and one of Britain’s finest examples of the Arts and Crafts movement, created by Baillie Scott in the early 20th century and with Thomas Mawson designed gardens. It has retained almost all of its original decorative features and has furniture of the Arts & Crafts period. There are frequent art exhibitions and a contemporary craft shop. There is a café with a peaceful garden terrace from which to enjoy panoramic views over lake Windermere and the Coniston fells.

Blackwell Art & Crafts House
Wordsworth, Dove Cottage, Grasmere

FOLLOW WORDSWORTH'S FOOTSTEPS IN GRASMERE

Dove Cottage is the picturesque cottage where the great Lakes poet William Wordsworth lived from 1799 until 1808. See the rooms he composed his greatest writings in, including the poem with the world famous first line ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud…’. Stop by the adjacent museum – packed full of manuscripts and quirky memorabilia. The idyllic cottage is nestled near the village of Grasmere and it's not hard to see how the poet was inspired, with sublime landscapes all around. Grasmere itself is a great place to go and meander too; it’s a proper chocolate-box village in the Lakes with plenty of shops and galleries.
Grasmere gingerbread, invented in 1854 by Sarah Nelson, is a sweet-spicy cross between a cake and a biscuit, gooey in the middle and crumbly on top. The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is set in Sarah Nelson’s original home, a quaint cottage tucked in next to St Oswald’s Churchyard.

DISCOVER HOLEHIRD GARDENS

This fantastic 10 acre garden near Windermere is situated in a wonderfully elevated position in Troutbeck, with sweeping views across the valley to the lake. Originally landscaped in Victorian times, the gardens are maintained entirely by volunteers from the Lakes Horticultural Society. The highlight for many visitors is the walled garden, with its splendid herbaceous borders and island beds, all enclosed by the original Victorian wall, but there is also a kitchen garden, rock garden, streams, woodland, heathers and alpine plants. Holehird is home to 4 National collections ~ astilbe, daboecia, polystichum and meconopsis and also the Lakeland collection of hydrangeas garden.

"The Lakeland Horticultural Society's garden at Holehird is inspiring. Within a truly wonderful setting, the garden has been brilliantly cultivated by its members." Alan Titchmarsh

Holehird Gardens, Lake District
Farmer Experience, Lake District

RELEASE YOUR INNER FARMER

LAKELAND FARM VISITOR CENTRE.

Learn all about farming in Lakeland from the family who run this farm. You’ll be introduced to some of the different types of livestock on the farm and hear about the important role that they play in shaping and maintaining this beautiful vista that millions come to see each year, and that is now a World Heritage Site. Livestock shows help educate visitors why the Lake District looks like it does … a working landscape. Guess the sheep breeds, watch a clipping demonstration, meet Coco the Highland Cow & Maestro the big Limmy Bull, watch the sheepdog demonstration, or try your hand at dry stone walling.
Also a farm shop with butchers and a cafe.

ONE MAN (OR WOMAN) AND HIS DOG

Have you long been fascinated by working sheepdogs? Well you too can have a go at herding sheep at this Troutbeck farm. The Lake District Sheepdog Experience has a team of working dogs trained to work with amateurs like us.

Lake District Sheepdog Experience
Waterfalls in the Lake District

VISIT A LAKELAND WATERFALL

There are many stunning waterfalls in the Lakes, some easily accessible others which can only be found on an arduous fell walk. Our suggestion? Go early in the day, preferably after heavy rainfall and always wear appropriate footwear and clothing.

Below are some of our favourites:

LAKE DISTRICT WATERFALLS

Aira Force - This is a beautiful waterfall located just off the banks of Ullswater. Rainwater from the fells gather at Aira Beck then cascade down an impressive 65-foot drop to the waters below. We recommend catching an Ullswater Steamer from Glenridding across the lake to the jetty and walking up to this lovely waterfall.

Stock Ghyll Force - This is one of the Lake District’s most easily accessible waterfalls, a short and easy-going walk from the centre of Ambleside. A spectacular 70 ft water fall can be viewed safely from a railed viewpoint. Look for the original Victorian turnstile where visitors would once have paid to see this natural wonder.   Stock Ghyll tumbles down a series of waterfalls to the centre of Ambleside, passing under the famous bridge house. Once there were 12 water mills driven by the power of Stock ghyll producing bobbins, fabrics, paper and ground corn.

Tom Gill waterfall - A lovely walk from Glen Mary Bridge car park through steep woodland path passes the waterfalls before reaching the beauty spot Tarn Hows. The return route offers views of the high fells of Wetherlam and Coniston Old Manand passes Yew Tree Farm, famously used in the film Miss Potter.  Suitable footwear is essential as the path is fairly steep and can be slippery in places but along the way, you’ll get some great views of a couple of very pretty waterfalls. 

Stanley Ghyll Force - This is a 60 ft high waterfall in a dramatic deep and narrow gorge,  one of the hidden gems of the Lakes. You can travel by steam train on the heritage Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway to Dalegarth Rail Station then follow the trail for about half a mile along the river Esk through a narrow woodland gorge to reach Stanley Ghyll Force. There are some bridges along the way where you can capture a great photo of the waterfall and you can call in at the nearby village of Boot for refreshments after your visit.

Rydal Falls - This is one of the most popular spots to visit in the Lake District, and a favourite with William Wordsworth, just a short stroll from Rydal Mount - the poet’s historic family home and gardens. Make sure you seek out ‘The Grot’ at the base of the waterfall - this small stone hut was built in 1668 and was Britain’s first purpose-built viewing station.

WALK WITH WOLVES

The last wild wolf in England was killed in Lakeland back in the 14th century. Based just a couple of miles from the spot, Predator Experience offer one-hour walks with their wolf hybrid pack through the Lake District countryside as you learn about the evolution, social structure and conservation of wolves.
They also offer a bird of prey experience with many different types of falcons, hawks and owls.

Lake District Predator Experience
Dark Skies in the Lake District

VIEW THE NIGHT SKY

If you live in an urban area, you’ll rarely have the opportunity to enjoy dazzling starry displays, as light pollution affects your visibility. But the wide-open, dark skies of the Lake District National Park offer truly incredible vistas and stunning displays of the major constellations, magical shooting stars, and enchanting, shimmering nebulas. See below for more details:

THE NIGHT SKY

The best time to head outdoors to see the night sky is after the sun has fully set, and there's no bright moon to affect visibility. Bear in mind that there are only two weeks in each month when the skies are completely dark.

Use a head torch! Dark skies mean a dark environment that’s not spoilt by artificial light. So, you will need to be able to see the ground at your feet when you’re moving around at night. Remember to take a telescope or binoculars so that you can enjoy an even better view of those glorious stars!

The coldest time of day is, unfortunately, the best time for stargazing. So, wrap up warm! Take blankets and a few extra layers. Also, a flask of hot tea is also an excellent way of warming you up on a cold, starry night.

Regular stargazing events, including guided walks, are held at the following:

 Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest is situated between the Lakes of Windermere and Coniston, extending over 24 kilometres of tarns, hills, and woodland. There is little or no light pollution in this area, meaning that you can look forward to outstanding views of the starry night skies through the forest canopy. You can enjoy regular stargazing events, including guided walks, when you will have the opportunity to wonder at the skies through a powerful telescope.

 Allan Bank, Grasmere

Allan Bank in Grasmere is one of the only two Dark Sky Discovery Sites found in Cumbria. This historic house nestles amid wooded grounds atop a small hill and is well away from sources of artificial light, making it the perfect spot for stargazing on a clear night.

Stargazing events are organised throughout the year, many coinciding with notable astral events, including meteor showers.

SHOPPING

For quaint villages with interesting independent shops we recommend Windermere, Grasmere, Cartmel, Kirby Lonsdale. Ambleside is the town for buying your walking gear. Our favourite for decorative antiques, reclamation, interiors and local gifts and crafts is Yew Tree Barn which also has a lovely cafe. Beetham is a great garden centre with good gift shop and café attached. Favourite farm shop is Sizergh Barn, conveniently located just off the A5034 by pass on the way back to the M6.

Shopping in Windermere
Spas in Windermere, Lake District

PAMPER YOURSELF IN A SPA

If you would like to book massage or beauty treatments, there are a number of luxury Spas within easy reach. Please see these links to Spa facilities in and around the Bowness area:

LOCAL SPAS

The Lowood Hotel, Ambleside 015394 39344
https://englishlakes.co.uk/low-wood-bay/the-spa-at-low-wood-bay/

Oxley’s Spa at The Salutation Hotel, Ambleside. 015394 32385
https://www.underscarspa.co.uk/spa-packages/spa-days

The Old England Macdonald Hotel, Bowness. 0344 879 9144
https://www.macdonaldhotels.co.uk/our-hotels/the-lake-district/windermere/macdonald-old-england-hotel-spa

Bowness Beauty. 015394 88111
https://www.bownessbeauty.co.uk/

Mountain Massage, Bowness 015394 44554
http://www.mountainmassageco.com/#about-us

CATCH THE LATEST FILMS

The Royalty cinema in Bowness has 3 screens offering a great selection of the latest films in an authentic 1930’s setting complete with its own mighty Wurlitzer organ.
Zefferelli and Fellini in Ambleside have 3 cinema’s and two very good vegetarian restaurants attached.

Royalty Conema Bowness