Lake District
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Things to do in Lake District

Things to do in  Lake District

Welcome to Lake District

With its tumbling green hills and glittering lakes, it’s easy to see why the Lake District stimulated the imagination of Romantic poet William Wordsworth in the 19th century. England’s largest national park offers an abundance of outdoor tours: Cruise on Lake Windermere, visit the birthplace of legendary English author Beatrix Potter, or hike to the craggy summits of Scafell Pike Mountain and Skiddaw. In the historic villages that pepper the park’s perimeter, literary museums and English pubs abound. Near the market town of Keswick, the Castlerigg Stone Circle emanates mystery and dates back to 3,000 BC. And the quaint villages of Grasmere and Ambleside are perfect places to roam aimlessly. Travelers short on time can cover 10 of the Lake District National Park’s lakes in one day on a sightseeing tour, while visitors enjoying longer stays can opt for multi-day packages that also cover the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Wrynose Pass, and Hardknott Roman Fort. Don’t be deceived by the Lake District’s tranquil atmosphere: Thrill seekers can get their adrenaline fix during Ghyll Scrambling, which involves sliding and jumping your way down a fast-flowing river. The close proximity of the UNESCO-listed Hadrian’s Wall and Vindola serve to broaden the knowledge of history buffs. After inhaling lungfuls of Lakeland’s unspoiled air, you’re bound to feel renewed and connected to England’s natural landscapes.

Top 15 attractions in Lake District

Coniston Water

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The Lake District’s third-largest lake, Coniston Water is known for its depth and its scenic surrounds, which offer prime conditions for water-based activities. The area’s human history reaches back to the Bronze Age, and more recent notable locals include Victorian thinker John Ruskin and the writers Arthur Ransome and Beatrix Potter.More

Borrowdale Valley

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Borrowdale Valley is a highlight to any trip to Cumbria’s Lake District. With grass-covered peaks, oak-filled woodlands, and rolling pastures along the River Derwent, the natural beauty of the valley is undeniable, and its location at the heart of the Lake District makes it a prime destination for hikers.More

Ullswater

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With an area of 3.5 square miles (9 square kilometers), Ullswater is England’s second largest lake and one of its most beautiful, thanks to its zigzag shape and stunning setting. The area surrounding the lake is also famous for inspiring Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” sometimes also called “Daffodils.”More

Bowness-on-Windermere

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Bowness-on-Windermere, or simply Bowness, is one of the main tourist hubs of the Lake District. Located on the banks of Lake Windermere, the town’s picturesque Victorian architecture and good transport connections make it the ideal starting point to explore the surrounding region.More

Muncaster Castle 

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For 800 years, this stately pile overlooking the Eskdale valley has been—and still is—home to the Pennington family. Built in the 13th century, the castle has been expanded several times, most recently in 1885. Visitors can explore sumptuous state rooms, 77-acre (31-hectare gardens, and observe birds of prey at the Hawk and Owl Center.More

Grasmere

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Famously described by Wordsworth as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found,” Grasmere is one of the highlights of the Lake District National Park. The lake—which shares its name with the neighboring village—is circled by lush woodland and can be circumvented on foot or explored by kayak or rowing boat. More

Rydal Water

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Set at the foot of Loughrigg Fell, Rydal Water is one of the Lake District’s more modest-sized bodies of water, though its strong literary connections, multitude of walking opportunities, and scenic beauty means it rides high on travelers’ wishlists. William Wordsworth’s former residence, Rydal Mount, sits at the eastern end of the lake.More

Rydal Mount

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The furniture, books, and personal possessions of William Wordsworth still sit inside Rydal Mount, where the Romantic poet lived from 1813 up until his death in 1850. Visitors can explore the house, which is owned by Wordsworth’s descendants, and wander the landscaped gardens, which were largely designed by Wordsworth himself.More

Beatrix Potter Gallery and Hawkshead

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The Beatrix Potter Gallery is a popular destination for families and all fans of the famous author’s children's books. This 17th-century building in the town of Hawkshead, in the Lake District, was once the office of Potter's husband, the solicitor William Heelis, and now houses much of her original artwork.More

Hawkshead Village

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With its slate-roofed heritage buildings, cozy old pubs, and cobbled lanes, Hawkshead Village is the picture of English country idyll. Home to William Wordsworth’s old school and Beatrix Potter’s home, the village has got some impressive literary links. Green forests and fells on its doorstep, plus a car-free center, add to its appeal.More

Scafell Pike

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Towering 3,209 feet (978 meters over the Lake District National Park, Scafell Pike is the highest mountain in England.  The peak is one of a string of high fells that run between Wast Water and Buttermere lakes, including the nearby High Stile, Red Pike, and Great End. More

Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top House

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Children’s author Beatrix Potter lived in the 17th-century Hill Top farmhouse for most of her life, and bequeathed it to the National Trust on the condition that it was left “as if I had just gone out and they had just missed me.” The farm was a huge source of inspiration for Potter, who based many of her much-loved books here.More

Wray Castle

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With its battlements, turrets, and arrow-slit windows, the neo-gothic Wray Castle is straight from a storybook. Originally built in 1840 for a Liverpudlian doctor and his heiress wife, the estate once served as a vacation home for the family of children’s author Beatrix Potter and is currently owned by the National Trust.More

Crummock Water

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Craggy peaks rise up around the clean, clear water of this large stream-fed lake, creating a postcard-worthy panorama. Scenic walking trails run along part of the shoreline and into the surrounding fells, leading to overlooks and beauty spots including Scale Force, the highest waterfall in Cumbria’s Lake District.More
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Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

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Originally built to carry iron ore from the mines to the coast, the tiny Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway has been chugging through the Lake District since 1875. Ride the railway between Dalegarth and the coastal town of Ravenglass to admire landscapes that encompass sheep-dotted pastures, woodlands, ridges, and rocky outcrops.More

Trip ideas

Top Literary Sites in the Lake District

Top Literary Sites in the Lake District

How to Spend 3 Days in the Lake District

How to Spend 3 Days in the Lake District

How to Spend 1 Day in Windermere

How to Spend 1 Day in Windermere

Top activities in Lake District

Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in Lake District

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Wonderful 8 Lakes tour
Sanford_F, Oct 2022
8 Lakes and Magnificent Scenery - Afternoon Half Day Tour
Tim with English Lakes Tours, gave us a great experience.
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Great way to see the Lake District.
Paul_S, Sep 2022
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
We only had one full day in the Lake District, so we thought this tour would be the best way to see the most sites in the shortest time.
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A Day Well Spent!
Lynn_W, Aug 2022
Beatrix Potter: Afternoon Half Day All-Inclusive Tour with an Expert Guide
We loved seeing the sites that were captured in her stories and illustrations, to see them in real life was just amazing.
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Amazing full-day tour of the stunning Lake District with a fantastic guide!
Jane_H, Aug 2022
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
We really enjoyed the day and would 100% recommend this tour to anyone who wants to see some of the most beautiful countryside in England.
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Best tour of Lake District
farhat_s, Aug 2020
4 hour Private Lake District tour
We look forward to see you again in future.
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Would recommend
Iram, Aug 2020
The High Adventure: Full Day Mountain Goat High Mountain Passes Tour
Get to see a lot of the Lakes.
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Fantastic experience. A wonderful...
sharon.hayes253, Nov 2015
Beatrix Potter's Half Day Lake District Tour Including Lake Cruise
A wonderful way to see the district and learn about her life.
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Spectacular! Should also do ten...
Maurice T, Sep 2015
The High Adventure: Full Day Mountain Goat High Mountain Passes Tour
Should also do ten Lakes to see the diversity of the slake District.
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The moody beauty of the Lake District
Brigette_M, Apr 2022
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
The continuous rain meant we got to see the moody beauty of the area.
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I went on the trip with my mother...
Emma F, Sep 2011
Beatrix Potter's Half Day Lake District Tour Including Lake Cruise
It is a good way to see a bit more of the Lake District if you don't have a car.
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Spectacular
Michele_M, Sep 2021
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
The tour enabled us to see the Lake District for all its glory So pleased we found you
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Unforgettable Lake District Tour with Brook Tours!
RichardSimon_K, May 2022
Full day Private tour of the Lake District
Not only was Brook Tours very amenable to visiting every single one of my requested locations, but David went above and beyond to incorporate the history of the region, knowledge of the area, and place name meanings and origins along the way.
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Wonderful day trip around Lake District
Mearia_H, Dec 2021
Private Tour: Winter Lake District Day Trip from Windermere
He took us to see many lakes along our journey, including Ullswater, Windermere and Buttermere.
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Not to be missed........
Tracy_L, Sep 2021
Ultimate Full-Day Lake District Tour: 10 Lakes, Amazing Scenery & Lake Cruise
The tour was well organised striking the right balance between touring in the bus and stopping off to see the wonderful lakes and sites with plenty of time to take photos.
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A brilliant experience!
Victoria_W, May 2019
High Adventure Day Tour from Keswick
It was a great way to see The Lake District as a first time visitor, my partner thoroughly enjoyed the day too even though he has been to The Lake District before.
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This was the highlight of our trip...
John W K, Jun 2015
Private Tour: Winter Lake District Day Trip from Windermere
Alan was more than willing to visit places we wanted to see and not repeat our own wanderings.
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Highly recommended activity if its...
ivy d, Jun 2017
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
Highly recommended activity if its your first time to visit the lake district.
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This tour is a fantastic way to see...
skclaudi, Sep 2015
The High Adventure: Full Day Mountain Goat High Mountain Passes Tour
This tour is a fantastic way to see the Lake District.
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This was the best way to see the...
Kendall K, Jul 2016
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
This was the best way to see the lake district in one day.
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If you have never been in the Lake...
Grit P, May 2016
Mountain Goat Full Day Tour: Ten Lakes Tour of the Lake District
If you have never been in the Lake District, have little time and no car, but want to see more of the area, this tour is a great start.
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All about Lake District

When to visit

While rain is common in the Lakes, it has the benefit of making the region extremely atmospheric. Visit from April through July for optimal sunshine; temperatures reach about 52°F (17.5°C). Spring also brings swathes of flowers—March’s daffodils are a highlight. August offers the same warmth as July but more crowds, while December and January bring crisp, snowy days that add drama to the landscapes. The region also hosts numerous events from May through September, including Keswick’s Jazz and Blues Festival.

Getting around

Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the Lake District’s landscapes. That said, you’ll have to navigate steep lanes, and the roads and parking lots are congested in the summer. Extensive local bus routes offer a scenic way to reach the prettiest towns and the lakes, where you can join hop-on hop-off cruises. Guided tours are ideal for leisurely sightseeing, and the area’s many walking and biking trails are popular with hikers and cyclists.

Traveler tips

While most tourists visit Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top house and garden in Far Sawrey, then hurry off for more sightseeing, it’s worth lingering in the area to visit Esthwaite Water. Just a short walk away, this glassy lake is wonderfully tranquil and, from April to September, offers electric-boat safaris to spot ospreys. Hire a craft—with or without a guide—to cruise the lake and spy these magnificent birds, or simply watch for them from the waterside Boathouse Cafe.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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What are the top things to do in Lake District?
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What are the top activities in Lake District?
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What are the top things to do near Lake District?
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What do I need to know before visiting Lake District?