Best times to visit the Lake District holiday cottages

Best times to visit the Lake District

Elianne Reed 10 December 2018

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

The Lake District is one of those places lucky enough to be bathed in beauty whatever the season. While its spectacular scenery is perhaps best experienced in spring and summer with the longer days and warm weather as a companion, the last two seasons of the year also have their advantages. With fewer visitors, it's just as beautiful with an ever-changing landscape: full of colour in the autumn and remote yet magical in the winter. The 16 lakes, perhaps the most famous of which is Lake Windermere, are not only excellent for gentle lakeside ambles, but also provide a gateway to some amazing walking country including fells, mountains and woody forests.

'A sort of national property in which every man has a right and interest who has an eye to perceive and a heart to enjoy' - William Wordsworth

The peak season runs from April until October, with July and August topping the visitor chart, so avoid this period if you prefer things a little more tranquil. Out of season, the area still has lots to do. Cosy tea rooms and elegant restaurants, festive fairs and historic houses and castles - you'll always find something happening, not to mention glorious lakes, fells and mountains to see that the area is so famous for. Whatever time of year you wish to visit, the Lake District will welcome you with open arms.

Step into Spring

Bluebells in Lake District
Bluebells in full bloom


The Lake District really comes alive during the first season of the year. Winter frosts have disappeared, blankets of daffodils and bluebells fill blossoming woodland, and baby animals scamper about, literally full of the joys of spring! After a particularly hard winter, seeing this spectacular area come to life will delight even the most seasoned of traveller. As trees start budding with leaves and the hard ground softens, there really is no more magical time to enjoy this region. The weather can be changeable so be prepared, but with May historically one of the driest months in Cumbria, a half-term break may be just the time to visit.

What's on in spring?


Spring is the start of a great calendar of events in the Lakes. Easter parades and Easter egg hunts are a popular choice for both locals and visitors alike, with historic houses and gardens offering special activities for all the family. Nobody does this better than The National Trust who have put on fabulous Easter events at such locations as Wordsworth House and Gardens, Wray Castle and Sizergh Castle as well as in Buttermere and Derwent Water.

The area is also known for its poets, in particular, William Wordsworth, whose Daffodils poem is the quintessential Lakes poem. Its other famous writer, Beatrix Potter, whose tales of little creatures have fascinated countless children over the years, also lived here. Her much-loved home, the 17th-century Hill Top was inspiration for her many books, and now owned by the National Trust, you can visit it on your trip to the Lakes. Full of her favourite things, it has been kept for visitors as stated in her will, 'as if I had just gone out and they had just missed me.'

Also come for:


Spring is just perfect for... fell walks in the warmer air, strolls through pretty woodlands and forests, ziplining with the kids, visiting historic landmarks, kayaking and generally messing about on the water... 

The long days of Summer


Lake Derwentwater


As spring turns to summer and the landscape comes into full bloom, head for the hills where longer days will give you ample opportunity to explore the National Park. Lakes and mountains take on a new hue, with shady forests the perfect place for a stroll on warm days, especially if you have a four-legged friend with you. Colourful boats gently glide across glistening lakes and the wildlife is magnificent. Generally sunny in the summer months, the area is partial to a summer shower, so make sure you pack some waterproofs.

What's on in summer?

Elegant cream tea

Summer brings a wealth of attractions to the area. This is the ideal time to explore historic houses such as Holker Hall or Muncaster Castle and there are many with beautiful gardens, such as Brockhole, Rydal Mount and Wray Castle. Follow it with an elegant afternoon tea at the luxurious Fizzy Tarte in Bowness-on-Windermere or for a more traditional cream tea, head to the Blackwell Tea Room. There are lots of outdoor events on in summer with many beer and food festivals, horse and agricultural shows as well as evening concerts and plays. Try The Theatre by the Lake at Keswick for a truly enchanting experience, with the Lakes Alive arts festival being another cultural choice.

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Summer is just perfect for... enjoying an al fresco evening concert, picnics on the shores of the lake, sampling a local ale in a country pub garden, sailing on the water or hopping aboard a steamboat, treating yourself to a scrumptious cream tea on the lawns of a historic house...

Autumn Glory

Stock Gyhll
Stock Ghyll


If you prefer to wait for the sound of crunchy leaves underfoot and enjoy the myriad of hues that accompany you on an autumn walk, then this is the season for you. Shake off the last of the summer as nights start to draw in, offering cosy evenings in front of roaring log fires. It's also the ideal time to do longer climbs before the short days of winter make hard work of getting back before evening falls. Scafell Pike is one of the most famous in the area if you like a challenging hike but there are many other easy ones, just perfect for a mild autumn day.

What's on in autumn?


Autumn is the season for dining as well as some fantastic food and beer festivals. Evenings outside have started to lose their appeal, and warm nights in beckon. This is the time to try some of the best restaurants and pubs in the Lake District, from rustic inns offering hearty food and tasty ales, to elegant restaurants such as The Old Stamp House located in the beautiful region of Ambleside. Serving delectable food sourced from the local area, this restaurant delivers food simply inspired by the natural landscape.

For those who like their comic art, the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival celebrates comic writers and artists from all around the world. If you are more old-school, head to the home of the world's first pencil, the Derwent Pencil Museum, to discover everything pencil-related, from secret WWII pencils to the Queen's diamond jubilee pencil.

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 Autumn is just perfect for... conker hunting in fabulous forests, mountain biking in the fells, ghyll scrambling, sampling new craft beers, laying the first log fires of the winter...

In the deep Midwinter 



Winter isn't just about brisk country walks in the Lake District, though many would argue that it's the best time of year with the crisp air and stunning scenery. It's also about cosy pubs with roaring fires, tasting the local ales, enjoying tasty cream teas in little tea rooms and walking around sparkling villages, all beautifully lit up for Christmas. That said, you can't come to the Lake District without seeing some of its most spectacular sights. From frost-topped mountains and glacial lakes to pretty villages covered in snow, it's truly a magical time of year to visit. While the low fells have about 20 days of snow per year, the mountain tops are a better bet for the white stuff with approximately 65 days of snow each year.

What's on in winter?

People holding sparklers

The last season of the year starts with a bang at the many bonfire and firework extravaganzas put on across Cumbria. Most are free and great for family evenings out, while others combine firecrackers and catherine wheels with a fine food experience, not for those who just want a hot dog with their sparkler! 

Come December, the area is full of festive food and Christmas fairs, often at historic houses such as The National Trust's Sizergh where you can browse the many different gift stalls and stock up on original Christmas pressies while sipping a glass of hot punch. Or why not buy some tempting treats to take back to your cottage to enjoy in front of a flickering wood burner as the rain falls outside? Bliss.  Browse our collection of cottages for Christmas.

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 Winter is just perfect for... kicking off your wellies in front of a roaring pub fire, browsing festive food fairs and Christmas markets, building snowmen and making snow angels, snuggling up with the dog on a lake cruise, sleighing down mountains in the snow...

Come away with us!

No.1 Rose Cottage

Whichever season you decide to make your next escape, we will have a magical Cumbrian hideaway just for you. For those with a dog in tow, we have a great selection of dog-friendly cottages, and for families, our family-friendly cottages will help you to find a place for all generations. If you are celebrating a special occasion in the Lakes, have a look at our large houses and if your celebration is just for two, book a few nights at one of our romantic cottages or cottages with hot tubs





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