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Best Things to Do and Places to See in The Lake District

The Lake District is one of the UK’s most-visited hotspots, and it is easy to see why. With miles of stunning mountain ranges, walking routes and quaint villages to visit, it is a must-visit.

If you are staying at Armathwaite Hall, we have the ultimate guide to everything you need to see in the Lake District during your stay.

 

Places to visit in the Lake District

Lakeland Fells

The Lakeland Fells offer some of the best high-level walks in England. The highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike (978 meters), is based in the area and is one of the most popular fells for walkers.

In addition to Scafell Pike, the Lake District offers other famous fells like Skiddaw (which is just across the lake from Armathwaite Hall!), Helvellyn and the Old Man of Coniston. All of the Lakeland Fells offer incredible views from their summits. You can go it alone, or enlist the help of an expert to guide you on your fell-walking adventure.

Roman Remains

There is a wealth of Roman remains to explore during you time in the Lake District.

Hardknott Roman Fort, an outpost in the Roman Empire, was built in the second century during Hadrian’s reign. Thanks to its remote location the ruins are very well preserved. Managed by the National Trust and English Heritage, Hardknott Roman Fort is free to visit.

Other Roman remains include:

  • High Street Roman Road
  • Ambleside Roman Fort
  • Barnscar Romano-British Farmstead
  • Ravenglass Roman Bathhouse
  • Aughertree Fell Settlement

Ambleside

Ambleside is a small town based in the Lake District popular with tourists thanks to its shops, cinema and accommodation. Ambleside marks the head of Windermere, England’s largest natural lake.

The town offers a great deal of activities for all the family to enjoy, including Wray Castle, Townend, Tarn Hows and Coniston.

Ullswater

This stunning lake is surrounded by mountain scenery to the south and gentle hills to the north. Ullswater is the second largest lake in England at seven and a half miles long, but less than a mile across.

It is also the 3rd deepest lake it the country at 250 feet deep. Whether you take in the views by foot or vehicle, you are guaranteed a picturesque scene.

Stone Circles

There are four stone circles in the Lake District, with all of them being free to visit. All have a mysterious purpose.

Castlerigg Stone Circle has 38 large stones, some standing at 3 metres high. Cockpit Stone Circle is a circular stone bank 27 metres across, with larger stones set in the inner face.

Swinside Stone Circle has 55 stones, up to 3 metres high which like Castlerigg, dates back to the Neolithic period. Burnmoor Stone Circles are made up of five separate stone circles, perched on the high moorland sating back to 2000BC.

Kendal

Often referred to as the Southern gateway to the Lake District, Kendal is nine miles from Windermere and 30 miles from Keswick. The town boats two castles, two museums, historic buildings and bridges, in addition to fine restaurants and public houses.

The ruins of 13th century Kendall Castle overlook the town. Kendal Castle was once home to the Parr family, whose family member Katherine Parr was Henry VIII’s sixth wife.

Buttermere and Crummock Water and Loweswater

Buttermere, Crummock Water and Loweswater occupy the long, glaciated valley towards Cockermouth and the coast. At one time Butttermere and Crummock Water were one large lake, but have since been separated by material brought down the mountain streams over thousands of years.

Loweswater is a unique feature in the Lake District in that it is the only lake that drains towards the centre of Lakeland.

Windermere

Windermere is the largest lake in Cumbria’s Lake District National Park. It is surrounded by picturesque mountains peaks and villages, including Bowness-on-Windermere.

Windermere lake is 10.5 miles long, one mile wide and 67 metres across. With various boat trips, boat hire and water activities on offer, there is always something to do at Windermere.

Aira Force

Aira Force is an incredible example of the force and beauty of nature. Known for its impressive waterfalls and over 200 specimen conifers, Aira Force is also home to the red squirrel.

The main force falls 21 metres from below a stone footbridge and is protected by the National Trust. The spot is also famous for inspiring William Wordsworth to write a series of poems about its beauty.

Low Gillerthwaite

If you are looking for a great spot for stargazing in the Lake District then Low Gillerthwaite is the ideal place for you. 90% of Brits do not get to see the amazing spectacle that is the night sky due to light pollution.

Set in the heart of beautiful Ennerdale, Low Gillerthwaite rests at the feet of Pillar, Steeple and Red Pike. It boats the most spectacular night sky thanks to its remoteness, mountainous terrain and lack of light pollution.

Derwentwater

Keswick’s local lake Derwentwater is only a 10-minute walk from the centre of town. To the west you can see the fells of Cat Bells, and to the east unparalleled views of Friar’s Crag, then to the south you have the entrance to Borrowdale Valley.

You can take in the beautiful scenery during an 8-mile walk around the lake, or take a 50-minute lake cruise onboard Keswick Launch. With seven landing stages you can hop on and off combing a walk with a picturesque boat ride.

Grasmere

Grasmere is a small village in Cumbria popular with tourists. Named after its adjacent lake, Grasmere has links to a number of Lakes poets including William Wordsworth who lived in the village for 14 years and referred to it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”

Located at the foot of some spectacular fells, Grasmere has plenty of shops, pub and cafes to visit during your stay.

Honister Pass

Honister Pass connects Buttermere to Borrowdale valley. Rising from 11167 feet in height as its summit, Honister Pass is one of Cumbria’s highest passes.

The Honister Pass forms part of a scenic circular drive that includes Newlands Pass, Buttermere and Crummock Water.

There is also the Honister Slate Mine which offers a range of outdoor and indoor activities for all ages and abilities.

Activities in the Lake District

There are a range of activities to enjoy during your stay at Armathwaite Hall.

Sports activities

For sports enthusiasts and those who want to keep their fitness up and challenge themselves during their stay, we offer tennis and croquet. If you are a beginner, we offer lessons, but experienced players can take to our courts instantly.

If you want to learn a new skill and fancy something a little more challenging, why not try out our traditional estate activities of clay pigeon shooting or archery? Our trained instructors will help you master these crafts and put your skills to the test!

Animal experiences

Did you know that the Lake District Wildlife Park is located on our 400-acre estate?

Home to over 100 species of wild and domestic animals, the park offers daily themed presentations, bringing you even closer to some of your favourite animals.

Guests at Armathwaite Hall get 2-for-1 entry to the Lake District Wildlife Park and we are pleased to offer a number of animal experiences to our guests.

Birds of prey experience

Get up close and personal with our magnificent birds of prey. You will get the opportunity to hold, and fly, Bill the bald eagle and Gonzo the hooded vulture!

Otter spotting

This is one for our nature and UK wildlife enthusiasts! Take a guided tour around the Lake District and visit some of our otter hotspots to observe these playful creatures in their natural habitat!

Alpaca walking

We are home to a friendly pack of alpaca brothers who make the perfect companions for a tour of our gorgeous 400-acre estate.

The ultimate animal experience

This is one for the true animal lovers. With our ultimate animal experience, you will be able to get up close and personal with many of our captivating creatures, including our tapirs, meerkats and lemurs. You will spend time with our wonderful wildlife, helping to prepare their food and various enrichment activities.

Photography

What better place is there to master the art of landscape photography than the stunning rolling hills of the Lake District?

You will learn the tricks of the trade with our master photographer and capture some of the UK’s most gorgeous landscapes.

Forest and moon bathing

Our award-winning, 5 Bubble-rated spa offers a range of wellness activities designed to soothe your mind in stunning natural surroundings. Indulge in forest bathing and become one with nature – or try out moon bathing to experience the stunning vista that is the Lake District sky at night!

Wild Swimming

Wild swimming is not for the faint-hearted, but it offers a range of incredible benefits, including better mood and physical fitness.

Choose from a range of options designed for both beginners and advanced wild swimmers and see the beauty of the Lake District from a unique vantage point.

Complete the Wainwright challenge

Are you a keen adventurer? Make the most of the incredible fells and mountains in the Lake District and take on the Wainwright challenge!

Complete the 214 fells, as documented by Alfred Wainwright, and enter the history books of the Lake District.

What to do in the Lake District when it rains?

The weather can be a little unpredictable in the Lake District. For those who prefer to shelter from the elements, there are plenty of activities available that are sure to keep you warm and dry.

Dining options

The Lake District is renowned as a foodie spot and we have three fantastic options for dining at Armathwaite Hall.

You can indulge in a menu of fine dining at our Lake View Restaurant, enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere with light lunches and continental delights at the Courtyard Brasserie or delight in dinky delicacies with our world-renowned afternoon tea experience.

If you are looking to sample some fine beverages, be sure to stop by our gorgeous cocktail bar!

Enjoy a spa day

Many of us find the patter of rain soothing as we relax indoors – so why not take that relaxation to the next level with a spa day?

Guests at Armathwaite Hall get free access to our award-winning Lake District spa, or you can book one of our tailored spa day packages.

We offer a range of treatments, including world-class facials and massages, plus outstanding facilities that include a 16-metre infinity-edge pool, outdoor hot tub, steam and sauna rooms and more.

Train tours

Enjoy scenic views of the Lake District’s gorgeous outdoor scenery while staying warm and dry by taking a train tour!

This is the perfect way to indulge in the natural beauty of our region without having to brave wet weather conditions.

Travel on the Furness Line to take in views of Morecambe Bay, Arnside, Ulverston, Barrow-in-Furness and more. You can also take a coastline train to enjoy coastal views of Whitehaven, Ravenglass and Maryport.

The beloved Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, known as the La’al Ratty, is another popular train route. You will take a seven-mile expedition in a miniature steam train, passing through key locations including Muncaster Mill and Murthwaite Halt.

Take an adventure back in time with the Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway and travel in classic 1950s carriages through the gorgeous Leven Valley countryside. History buffs will love the Victorian Haverthwaite station, complete with a traditional tea room.

What are the best indoor activities in the Lake District?

Beyond Armathwaite Hall, the Lake District boasts plenty of fantastic indoor activities that are perfect for a rainy day!

If you are visiting any of the enchanting villages in the Lake District, do not forget to check out the myriad local cafes and pubs.

Keswick Museum

The fantastic Keswick Museum has both long-term and specialist exhibitions.

You can expect exhibitions featuring famed Lakes poets, including Robert Southey, plus features on how the Lake District came to be a hotspot of natural beauty.

Brewery tours

The Lake District is home to some incredible and renowned breweries producing fine ales, lagers, whiskeys and more. From the award-winning Lakes Distillery to Hawkshead Brewery and Beer Hall, the region has a lot to offer for beer, whiskey and other beverage connoisseurs.

The World of Beatrix Potter and Hill Top

No list of Lake District activities would be complete without The World of Beatrix Potter. Fans can meet Peter Rabbit and all his friends during this gorgeous immersive experience. Watch as Beatrix Potter’s Lake District-inspired stories come to life.

Fans of the author can also visit her gorgeously quaint home, Hill Top. Not only will you see where the literary legend lived and enjoy scenes from her books in her well-flowered garden, but you will also see the source of inspiration for her books – one iconic scene inspired by the area was where Peter Rabbit stole vegetables from Mr McGregor!

You can get to Hill Top via the Windermere ferry, which transports car and foot passengers between the east and west shores – another way to see stunning vistas of Lake Windermere!

Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle is one of the hidden gems of the Lake District. Built at the turn of the 19th century was an impressive property with a room for every day of the year and gardens which were the envy of the north.

However, the castle was demolished in 1957, leaving its impressive ruins and gardens to explore.

With an adventure playground for children and beautiful grounds to explore, there is something for all the family at Lowther Castle.

Muncaster Castle

A must-see attraction for when you visit the Lakes, the grounds of Muncaster Castle are said to be haunted!

Believed to be built on Roman ruins, Muncaster Castle is an important part of the region’s history. Muncaster is one of Britain’s most haunted castles, with hauntings often occurring in The Tapestry Room. The ghost of Tom Skelton, the Fool of Muncaster, is rarely seen but he continues to play tricks on staff and visitors.

Things to do near Bassenthwaite

There is plenty to keep you entertained near Bassenthwaite. Armathwaite Hall is situated on the shore of the mesmerising Lake Bassenthwaite and you will find much to enjoy both in and out of the waters.

Dubwath Silver Meadows

This wetland nature reserve can be found on the north shore of Lake Bassenthwaite. Not only does the area play a key role in controlling the flow of water into Lake Bassenthwaite to minimise flooding and improve the lake’s water quality, but it is also home to many natural wildlife habitats. You can find roe deer, badgers, red squirrels, bats, voles and mice here, as well as many species of birds.

The Lake District Wildlife Park

Renowned as one of the best wildlife parks in the UK, the Lake District Wildlife Park is situated on our estate, close to Bassenthwaite. As well as our animal experiences, you can enjoy:

• over 100 species of wildlife, including mammals, birds and reptiles
• educational talks from our keepers
• a range of events, including animal detectives and seasonal events.

Whinlatter Forest

As England’s only true mountain forest, Whinlatter Forest offers incredible views across Keswick, Lake Bassenthwaite and Derwentwater. It is the perfect destination for adventurers, with the longest purpose-built mountain bike trails in the region, challenging walking routes and a Go Ape Treetop Challenge.

Embark On Your Next Adventure

Looking to embark on your next Lake District adventure? Take a look at our revamped activities page offering everything from fell walking and kayaking, to wild swimming and animal experiences.

 

FAQs

What should I bring with me?

What you will need to bring with you will depend on the activities you plan on taking part in when visiting the Lake District.

Here, we have included some of the items you may want to consider for your trip:

• Hiking gear, including waterproofs and walking boots – especially important if you are taking on any outdoor challenges.
• SPF is essential for any outdoor activities – even if it is cloudy, rainy orcold, as the sun can penetrate through clouds and cause skin damage.
• Sunglasses – the weather can change in an instant!
• For more relaxed activities, like visiting museums, cafes and pubs, comfy and practical clothes are a good idea.
• If you are planning a spa experience during your time, read our piece on what to bring to a spa day.
• If you are bringing your dog, do not forget their leash, treats and toys – a lot of venues in the Lake District allow dogs, but some require them to be on a leash.

What activities are good for families?

The Lake District is a very family-friendly location, whether you are exploring the great outdoors or looking to visit some famed indoor hotspots.

We recommend The World of Beatrix Potter as fun for the whole family. Plus, a visit to the Lake District Wildlife Park is essential if you are a family of animal lovers! Venture out to the seaside and visit the Lake District Coast Aquarium to round off the perfect animal-themed day.

Many of our activities are kid-friendly, plus we have a wildlife detectives exercise just for kids that will turn them into little explorers! Further afield of the hotel, you can put adventurous kids to the test at Kong Adventure in Keswick.

Where to stay in the Lake District

For luxury accommodation, quality service, picturesque views and a host of activities that you cannot find anywhere else, Armathwaite Hall is the perfect place to stay in the Lake District.

We offer easy access to some of the best hidden gems in the region, including Lake Bassenthwaite and Keswick. Plus, if you are bringing the whole family, we have dedicated family rooms with plenty of space for the kids to run around!

Interested in bringing your four-legged friend on your break? We are a dog-friendly hotel and your dog will get the VIP (that is Very Important Pooch) treatment with our Doggy Zen Zone!

We always have a range of fantastic accommodation offers on the go – explore our hotel offers today.

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