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The Lake District is the perfect place to spend your summer holidays. Our welcoming towns and villages are set in a most magnificent and unique landscape of lakes, mountains, forest and fells, offering the perfect backdrop to your holiday. There are lot of Lake District activities to try during your getaway too with everything from a relaxing boat trip to soaring above the lakes in a gyroplane.
With summer comes the longest days of the year, giving you hours and hours to explore and enjoy all that the National Park has to offer. Why not have a browse of some of the suggestions below of how to spend summer in the Lake District and let us inspire you?
The Lake District lakes are especially magical during the warmer summer months when the sun glistens on beautiful blue water and pretty landscapes are reflected mirror-like on shimmering liquid surfaces.
For a classic Lake District experience
There are lots of boat trips to enjoy on the larger lakes so you can spend time gliding across the water while taking in the surrounding countryside. Here are some of our favourite summer boat trips to try:
• The National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola on Lake Coniston
• The Keswick Launch which travels around Derwentwater
• An Ullswater Steamer ride between Pooley Bridge and Glenridding
• A Windermere Lake Cruise from Ambleside to Bowness
For an active Lake District break
If you fancy an action-packed Lake District holiday, there are a selection of summer water sports that you can try on Lake Windemere and Coniston Water. Please note: under 18s must be accompanied by an adult and wear appropriate safety equipment.
Windemere Canoe Kayak are based at Bowness-on-Windemere and offer taster sessions, lessons and equipment hire for canoeing, kayaking and paddleboarding.
Coniston Boating Centre have two-person canoes, rowing boats for up to 6 people, motorboats for up to 8 people, and paddle boards for hire so that you can head onto the water with family or friends.
For a romantic day by the lake
For an idyllic day out in the sunshine, it’s hard to beat packing a summery picnic and eating it by the shores of Lake Grasmere. This was a favourite spot of William Wordsworth so is very romantic if you’re visiting the Lake District with a special someone – who know you may even be inspired to write a sonnet of your own.
Lake District summer walks
Long summer days are the perfect opportunity for a scenic Lake District walk - especially as you can discover hidden gems and call in at some pretty villages and historic country pubs for refreshments along the way. Here are some of our favourite Lake District walks to try this summer:
Best for a challenge
Rydal and Loughrigg Fell - Start and end this walk at the charming Badger Bar in Rydal where you can treat yourself to a locally brewed ale. The climb up Loughrigg Fell can be a challenge but the view from the top is well worth the effort.
Best for couples
Buttermere - This gentle 4.5-mile round-the-lake Buttermere walk will typically take around 3 hours to complete but there are lots of scenic viewpoints where you can linger along the way and take in the beautiful vista. We recommend calling in at the nearby Bridge Inn for refreshments after you’ve finished the 5-mile circuit.
Best for families
Grange-over-Sands and Cartmel - Spend some time on the Lake District coast with this lovely circular walk between the seaside town of Grange-over-Sands and the pretty village of Cartmel. You’ll be spoilt for choice of places to eat along the way but it’s hard to beat tucking into fish and by the sea.
Lake District summer activities
The Lake District is filled with historic houses, beautiful gardens and even a historic steam train to visit during the warm summer months. Here are a few suggestions of how to spend your summer break in the Lake District.
Best for family adventures
Lowther Castle & Gardens
With one of the largest adventure playgrounds in the country, Lowther Castle & Gardens makes a great choice for a family-friendly Lake District day out. You can also explore dramatic castle ruins, wander through scenic gardens and hire a bike to cycle through Lowther Castle’s extensive grounds. Admission costs £11 for an adult ticket and dogs on leads are welcome throughout the grounds.
Muncaster Castle & Gardens
The 77 acres of dog-friendly gardens at Muncaster Castle includes adventure playgrounds enchanted trails and the Meadowvole Maze to master. There’s also a hawk and owl centre on-site where you can watch twice-daily bird of prey displays. The castle itself is said to be haunted, so look out for ghostly apparitions during your visit. Admission costs start at £10.20 for an adult ticket.
For more child-friendly inspiration take a look at our guide 'Top days out for kids in the Lake District'.
Best for a romantic day out
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Travel back to a bygone age with an open-top steam train journey through the foothills of Scarfell Range. The 7-mile journey along the historic Ravenglass and Eskdale railway takes in the spectacular scenery of the Eskdale Valley and has optional stops where you can get out and explore the area on foot.
Keep your eyes peeled during the journey and you may well spot wildlife such as curlews and red squirrels along the way. Hop-on, hop-off tickets start at £9 and dogs can travel on the steam train too for a small additional charge of £1.50.
Sail ‘n’ Dine on Windermere
Take a twilight sail on a skippered yacht around Windermere then enjoy a 4-course meal served to you in a secluded Windermere bay – what better way to end a romantic Lake District holiday! Prices start at £65 per person for a shared Sail ‘n’ Dine where you’ll be joined by 2 other couples. Fancy splashing out? You can have the Sail ‘n’ Dine experience all to yourselves for £350.
Best for adrenaline junkies
Lake District Gyroplanes
Soar high above the Lake District National Park in a two-person plane. You’ll fly with an experienced instructor who will show you the ropes and let you take control of the gyroplane during the flight. This is an adult only activity and there are 30, 60 and 90-minute experiences available. No previous flying experience is necessary, and all safety equipment will be provided.
Ghyll Scrambling is an adrenaline-fuelled activity (also known as canyoning) that involves sliding, diving and generally scrambling down mountain streams in the Lake District. It’s wet, wild and bound to get your blood pumping. Family-friendly adventures are available at Stoneycroft Ghyll but for more extreme fun head to the Esk Gorge. Ghyll Scrambling should only be attempted under the supervision of a qualified instructor and prices start at £35 per person.
The Lake District has a range of entertainment options for summer with great venues such as The Theatre on the Lake at Keswick and the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal, where you can catch a movie, see a great stand-up comedian or book for one of the many live gigs from rock to pop, rap, country and blues.
- Theatre on the Lake - watch original productions on the shores of Derwentwater
- Lake District Summer Music - a summer season of classical music concerts
- Kendal Calling - a popular music festival which comes to the Lake District each July
- Brewery Arts Centre - a venue with everything from stand-up comedy to the latest films
- Zeffirellis – an independent cinema, jazz bar and restaurant in one Ambleside venue.
There’s also a variety of live music pubs throughout the Lake District including Bootleggers in Kendal, Tweedie’s Bar in Grasmere and The Mortal Man in Troutbeck.
Part of any holiday treat is dining out. The Lake District boasts some of the best restaurants and pubs in the country, with four chefs having won a prestigious Michelin award. With cosy pubs, boutique bistros and chic wine bars, the Lake District has got them all.
Here are some of the restaurants worth trying during your short break or holiday to the Lake District:
- L’Enclume - a Cartmel restaurant with two Michelin stars that’s a top choice for fine dining in the Lake District.
- The Drunken Duck - a charming country inn that produces upscale food in a beautiful Ambleside setting
- The Bluebird Cafe - a casual dining cafe nestled on the shores of Coniston Water
- The Masons Arms - a historic Lake District pub that boasts summertime views of up to 15 miles
- The Cottage in the Wood - a 17th-century inn that uses the best seasonal Lake District produce
- Forest Side – Michelin-starred restaurant in the heart of Grasmere
Spend summer in the Lake District
Explore the Lake District and the attractions, events and places to eat and visit this summer - take a look at our collection of Lake District cottages for summer to find your perfect place to stay in the heart of the action.