Here is our guide to exploring England’s adventure capital
The Lake District offers a wide choice of activities and adventure. Free for all to discover are the fells, mountains, forests and lakes where you can choose tracks and trails to suit all abilities.
Popular steamboat trips and hire boats sail on the four big lakes of Coniston, Windermere, Ullswater and Derwentwater, offering you a different perspective of the passing landscapes. You can also borrow canoes, rowing boats, sailing dinghies and motor boats. Visit our comprehensive Lake District Guide to get ideas for your holiday itinerary.
We have lovely holiday cottages near all to all the adventuring hot spots. Read on to feel inspired.
Out of the ordinary
If you want to try something a little out of the ordinary, something to get the adrenaline rushing, your heart racing or simply an activity you might never have thought of doing – take a look at this list of activity centres and visitor attractions that should satisfy even the most adventurous spirited visitors.
Lyth Valley Falconry
Lyth Valley Falconry was founded by those with a passion for birds of prey and the natural environment. See these wonderful birds in beautiful surroundings where they feel at home and perform. It’s a great experience for those with an interest in birds of prey, falconry, and the natural world. With hands-on experiences available you can get up close and personal with falcons, hawks, eagles and more. Private and group sessions are available. For more information, click Lyth Vally Falconry here.
The Predator Experience - Walking with Wolves
Promoting the conservation of birds of prey and other predators through experiential education, the Predator Experience inspires the public to protect biodiversity for the future. Aid wild populations by promoting positive raptor management and research. Join the wolf hybrid pack on a magical walk through the woodlands and forests; learn the intricacy of social ranking and the subtle art of canine communication. If you’re lucky, you might even hear them howl. Set aside myth and legend, walk foot by paw on an exhilarating journey into the wildlife of a wolf. A reasonable level of fitness and ability is required for this experience. For more information, click here.
Kendal Climbing Centre & Climbing Wall
Spend a day at the Kendal Climbing Wall. The centre offers vertical routes on the indoor walls for guests of all abilities, along with instruction courses - a good option for a rainy day. For more information click here.
White Water Canoeing & Kayaking - Ghyll Scrambling - Gorge Walking
There are plenty of ‘activity and adventure centres’ located throughout the Lake District. They are often one-stop shops offering activities ranging from archery to mountain biking, paintballing to quad bike driving. One of the best and most exciting outdoor pursuits to get into is whitewater canoeing, so take an exhilarating trip down a fast-flowing river under the guidance of qualified instructors. They will choose the best river location on the day almost guaranteeing a great day on the water.
Gorge or Ghyll scrambling is a full on ‘get wet’ activity; scrambling up spectacular mountain becks, traversing deep pools, climbing small waterfalls, you could even swim and jump in whenever you feel like it. Wetsuits can be hired by course leaders. Details can be found on the GoLakes website.
Honister Slate Mine - Via Ferrata - The Iron Way and The Infinity Bridge
Honister is the last working slate mine in England, producing its famous Westmoreland Green Slate for over 300 years. Open to the public, the mine owners offer several activities and tours. For both adults and children, there are underground tours of the mine tunnels, offering a fascinating insight into both past and present practices and conditions. For the brave and seeker of thrills, there is the Via Ferrata and The Infinity Bridge. Perched at the edge of Honister Pass, high above the beautiful valley of Buttermere, this really is a unique, adrenaline rush of an experience.
The Infinity Bridge is so-called because you cannot see the other side in cloudy weather. Its 350ft length is strung 2000ft above the gorge, placing it among the highest and certainly the longest in Europe. For more information, click here.
Lake District Gyroplanes
Remember Little Nellie in James Bond’s You Only Live Twice, where the eponymous international man of mystery flies an autogyro over the lair of Ernst Stavro Blofeld, set under an extinct volcano, thinking to yourself what fun that would be? Well, Lake District Gyroplanes or Cumbria Gyroplanes offers a similar experience minus the unwanted firepower.
After a short instruction, you can take control or simply sit back and enjoy the ride in the hands of experienced pilots, flying over the lakes and own extinct volcanoes of the National Park.
Virgin Balloon Flights
Imagine the thrill as you soar majestically skywards aboard the basket of a huge balloon with the beautiful Lake Windermere stretching away below you. Virgin Balloon Flights make this dream real, you can take off right beside England’s largest and most famous natural lake. Found at the southern tip of the lake at the heart of the Lake District, Newby Bridge takes its name from the five-arched bridges built across the River Leven in 1651 and is arguably one of the most spectacular balloon launch sites in the world.
For more information, click Virgin Balloon Flights Newby Bridge Launch Site Info here.
North West Parachute Centre
Still in the air, NWPC will take you up for the thrill of a lifetime. From their custom-built planes, you plummet tandem-style with a professional skydiver from a height of around 15,000ft with a freefall descent of some 125mph. Once the parachute opens, you have a gentle five-minute canopy ride down where the views promise to be spectacular. Solo jumping courses are available too. Allow for weather holds - tandem jumping is a day-long experience, solo jumping is over a longer duration. For more details, click here.
Extreme Mountain Biking
Two of the best turbo-charged Mountain Biking trails are in the Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests.
Grizedale’s Pro North Face Mountain Bike Trail consists of nine sections of sinuous tracks and has a ‘red grade’. Of late they have added a black trail offering awesome jumps, berms and steep descents.
Whinlatter’s Altura Trail is the longest purpose-built trail in the Lake District. Some 19 kilometres long, it is a ‘red grade’ trail offering popular features like jumps, berms, rock features, skinnies and corkscrews. On top of this, the route takes you some 500m above Keswick offering fantastic views of Derwentwater, Bassenthwaite, Helvellyn and Skiddaw. These trails are not for the fainthearted and are designed for experienced to expert riders. There are less gruelling routes for cyclists of all abilities throughout the Lake District. For information on the hundreds of cycle trails in the region click here.
My lot spend a lot of time at the Kendal Climbing Wall. The centre offers routes on the indoor walls for all capabilities, along with instruction courses and is a good option for a rainy day
The GoLakes website has pages and pages of cycle routes and maps to suit all abilities.
Go Ape at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forests
A treetop adventure where you can channel your inner Tarzan. Based all around the UK, GoApe tree top adventures have two locations in the Lake District National Park, one at the Grizedale Forest in south lakes, the other at Whinlatter in northern lakes.
Hugely successful and great fun, it is a series of rope bridges, scramble nets, high ropes, tunnels and zip wires forming trails that are suspended high up in the forest canopy.
There are several options to choose from; the Tree Top Junior is for all ages, where adults can supervise either on the course or from the ground.
For information on both sites click here.
There are several companies offering off-road experiences to visitors. KANKKU based in Windermere have their own specially prepared vehicles offering guided off-road expeditions with tuition included as part of the experience. Alternatively, you can take to the tracks by yourself in one of their ex-army Land Rovers. You get a briefing, maps, satellite GPS and a road book direction system to take care of the navigation while you enjoy the drive. There are several other off-road experience providers available in the Lake District. For more info click here.
These are just a few of the many activities available in the Lake District. For up to date local information about local events and ‘need to know’ info about trails, forests and other visitor attractions, stop by your nearest tourist information centre.
We have lovely holiday cottages near all to all the adventuring hot spots. Please visit our collection to feel inspired.