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10 Must-See And Do Activities In Cumbria

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The county of Cumbria, in the northwest of England, is one of the country’s most beautiful regions, boasting incredible views regardless of whether you’ve scaled its impressive hills or sat on a bench at the side of one of its many lakes.

From the charming town of Grange-over-Sands in the south, with views over Morecambe Bay, to Carlisle and Hadrian’s Wall in the north, a stunning coastline to the west, and views of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennies to the east, Cumbria is a sight to behold and has long been a popular tourist destination for visitors from all around the world.

There’s so much to see and do, it can leave you struggling to decide what to do with your time there! Thankfully, we have 10 must-see and do things for your trip to this beautiful region.


1. Lake District National Park

It is almost impossible to visit Cumbria without stepping foot in the Lake District National Park, but ‘The Lakes’, as the 885-square metre National Park is affectionally known, is usually the reason visitors visit the county.


The region is a UNESCO Heritage Site, and meanders over moors and mountains, with lakes, big and small, nestled in the valleys, with quaint villages and towns scattered throughout. Walking and cycling are popular activities in The Lakes, but if you don’t feel up to hiking up one of its impressive hills, there is ample opportunity to enjoy a gentle stroll and take in the region’s beauty.


2. Scafell Pike

If you want to experience the Lake District from up high, then you should head to Scafell Pike, which at an elevation of 978 metres is the highest mountain in England. It has long attracted hikers and climbers, many of whom aim to complete the National Three Peaks Challenge, along with Ben Nevis in Scotland and Snowdon in Wales.

Scafell Pike can provide the most incredible views of not only the many lakes and hills of the region but even as far as the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland across the Irish Sea and Snowdonia in Wales.


3. Lake Windermere

However, you do not have to climb mountains to be rewarded with incredible scenery, as you can experience the majesty of the region from its lakes, most notably, Lake Windermere, the most well-known of the National Park’s lakes.


There are Windermere Lake Cruises that allow you to explore the lake from the water, as well as provide a ferry service between the towns that line the edge of the lake. At the southern tip of the lake is the Haverthwaite Steam Railway which can transport you through the Leven Valley.

Also to the south of the lake is the Lakes Aquarium, a very popular attraction and the largest collection of freshwater fish in the UK, as well as other animals such as otters! Near Newby Bridge is the restored Victorian Fell Foot Park, where families can picnic or hire rowboats to explore the lake. The park also has a great playground for younger children.


4. Hill Top

The region has also been home to many artists and writers, all inspired by the natural beauty they were surrounded in. One treasured children’s writer who became a household name was Beatrix Potter, who bought the 17th-century farmhouse at Hill Top in 1905, with the proceeds of her first book, The Tale Of Peter Rabbit.

The house and farm were left to the National Trust when she left, with the stipulation that it be maintained and shown in the same condition as when she resided there. Each room in Hill Top contains objects that relate to the author’s stories, such as the dollhouse setting for The Tale of Two Bad Mice, and the desk where she wrote.

Be forewarned, it is a very popular attraction, so booking in advance is advised!


5. Dove Cottage

Born in Cockermouth, to the north of the National Park, William Wordsworth must be the quintessential Lake District poet, and what better poem than I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud sums up the tranquil bratty of the region?

Dove Cottage in Grasmere, near Ambleside, was the first family home of the 19th-century British poet, a traditional Lakeland cottage with stone floors and wood-panelled walls. The cottage is still furnished with the Wordsworth family belongings, and as with Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top, has been maintained to preserve the home to look as it did when Wordsworth penned his world-famous poems.


There is an adjacent museum that is filled with memorabilia about Wordsworth, and information about his family, his travels, and of course, his work. Dove Cottage is where the poet was most prolific, inspired by the scenery and the garden that he and his sister tended to.

For the first time ever, the original manuscript for I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud is on display at the museum, and tickets can be obtained at


6. A Virgin balloon flight over the Lake District

As mentioned, the best way to experience the glory and majesty of the Lake District is from up high, but why hike to the summit of Scafell Pike when you can take a restful hot air balloon ride across the region, and witness a panoramic vista like no other. You can book a hot air balloon flight with


7. Langdale Valley

Whether you take a leisurely drive or decide to burn off a few calories from the many pubs, restaurants and lakeside ice creams you’re bound to enjoy, the Langdale Valley is a treasured place for fell walkers, and includes some of the National Park’s most famous walks and views, such as the Langdale Pikes, Crinkle Crags and Bowfell.

Expert tip: At the end of your walk, head to the Old Dungeon Ghyll at the foot of the Langdale Pikes for a well-deserved pint!


8. A day out at Cartmel races

It might be one of the smallest racecourses, but Cartmel Racecourse has the third-highest attendance of any race meeting in the UK and is the only racecourse located in a village.


You don’t have to be a horse racing fan to have a wonderful day out at the races, as the village of Cartmel gears up for the crowds, who typically start arriving early on race days, with a medieval square full of ‘watering holes’, five pubs, several cafes, a funfair, county market, food stalls and the incredible Lake District atmosphere.

You can check out the season’s fixtures and more information here:


9. A meal at L’Enclume in Cartmel

Cartmel is also home to one of the best restaurants in Britain, Simon Rogan’s flagship restaurant L’Enclume, the first restaurant in the northwest of England to be awarded three Michelin stars, as well as five AA rosettes.

Chef and owner Simon Rogan has been rated as one of the world’s best chefs, creating unique food with rates and textures that will mesmerise you. There can be a waiting list of several months to book a table for dinner, which is worth the wait for the amazing 15-course sample menu, but you may have more luck getting a reservation for the smaller lunch menu.

Book online at


10. Iconic Lake District pubs

Phew, what a whirlwind of a visit already! If you’ve hiked up hills, traversed vast lakes, visited countless museums and National Trust homes, you’re likely ready for a drink and a sit-down.

Thankfully, the Lake District has no shortage of typical English villages and picturesque country pubs, that can provide stunning views while you rest your feet and quench your thirst.

While any list of pubs in the region will always be incomplete, The Drunken Duck, at a crossroads between Hawkshead and Coniston, is ideal for cyclists, The Woolpack, found just outside the hamlet of Boot is ideal for those heading off the beaten track, while The Mortal Man in Troutbeck Valley provides views down to Lake Windermere.

But don’t take our word for it, put your walking boots on and go discover Cumbria and The Lake District National Park for yourself and create memories that will stay with you forever.

If you’re looking for accommodation in Cumbria, then Harrison Holiday’s Wild Rose Holiday Park can provide the perfect base for your next Lakeland adventure!

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