As December draws to a close we are looking ahead to the forthcoming year. Forget new year resolutions about giving up sugar or keeping on top of the housework. Instead, make 2019 a year to remember by booking a trip to the Lake District and ticking these must-do activities off the list.

Lake District Walks

Buttermere Valley

Buttermere Valley


1. Climb Cat Bells

An ideal first fell, the double “hump” of Cat Bells offers just enough excitement to be challenge without being a chore.


2. The Buttermere Tunnel

Discover the tunnel that goes through the rock on the north-eastern shore of the lake.


3. Aira Force

Explore the area around the stunning Aira Force waterfalls, and enjoy a cake in the National Trust café afterwards.


4. Scafell Pike

Take on England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike. We think the corridor route is the prettiest, but you might have other ideas!


5. The Lion and the Lamb

Scramble up to the top of the Lion, a rocky outcrop at the top of Helm Crag near Grasmere, and pay a visit to its sibling, the Lamb.


6. Striding Edge

If there is one ridge walk that you will do in 2019 then make it this one.


7. Tarn Hows

Explore the gentle accessible circuit that circumnavigates Tarn Hows. This walk is particularly spectacular in the Autumn.


8. Grizedale Art

Go on a walk with a difference, visiting the outdoor art installations that are located at various points in Grizedale Forest.


9. Haystacks

It was Alfred Wainwright’s favourite summit, which should tell you everything you need to know about why you need to add this one to the “to-do” list.


10. The Borrowdale Yews

These ancient trees of Borrowdale are thought to be around 1,500 years old and are easily accessible via a very short walk from Seathwaite.


11. The Langdale Pikes

Instantly recognisable, the Langdale Pikes include Pike of Stickle, Loft Crag, Harrison Stickle and Pavey Ark. There’s a well-trodden route that takes in them all, and many outdoor activity companies offer guided walks that take in all the summits.


12. Haweswater

It’s one of the quietest lakes in the Lake District, but the scenery is simply stunning, and a walk from Mardale Head at the western end of the Lake to Small Water Tarn is a fairly easy stroll offering rewarding views.


13. Castle Crag

Borrowdale is a walker’s paradise, and we love the ancient hill fort of Castle Crag. It’s a family friendly walk that has fabulous views of Derwent Water from the summit.


14. The Fairfield Horseshoe

It’s one of the most popular horseshoe routes thanks to the awe-inspiring views that are on offer. It’s an 11 mile walk with 3400ft of ascent, taking in eight different summits, including Fairfield and Dove Crag. Beginner walkers should consider using a guide service.


15. Osprey at Dodd Wood

Take a walk up the fellside through Dodd Wood and see if you can spot the Osprey that nest above Bassenthwaite soaring through the air as they search for prey. There are plenty of red squirrels to be found here as well!


16. Bluebell Carpet at Rannerdale

If you are visiting in May then do take time to visit the Rannerdale Bluebells, though take care not to tread on any of these delicate and fragile flowers!


17. Cathedral Cave

Once featured in the 2014 film, Snow White and the Huntsman, Cathedral Cave is a vast cavern that can be found near Tilberthwaite. Walks in the area also take in the pretty Slater Bridge and the various quarries around Little Langdale.


18. Orrest Head

A short walk from the town of Windermere, this small hill has fabulous views of Lake Windermere. It was here that Alfred Wainwright began what would become a lifelong love affair with the Cumbrian fells.


Outdoor Adventures

Man Rock Climbing

19. Ski at Helvellyn

A volunteer ski club, the Lake District Ski Club, is in operation on Raise, adjacent to Helvellyn. There are no hire facilities, accommodation, etc. This is skiing in it’s truest, most basic form.


20. Ghyll Scrambling in the Esk Gorge

Considered amongst professionals as the gold standard for Ghyll Scrambling, the Esk Gorge is a long gorge that features numerous waterfalls and plunge pools, deep within Eskdale Valley in the Western Lake District. A number of activity companies offer Ghyll Scrambling in this area.


21. Abseil in Hodge Close Quarry

With drops of around 100ft, the abandoned Hodge Close Quarry is one of the best places to try out abseiling in the Lake District. Once at the bottom of the quarry, you can take some time to explore this ancient industrial structure. For safety reasons, this activity should be carried out under guidance from qualified professionals.


22. Mountain Biking in Whinlatter Forest

Whinlatter Forest has several dedicated mountain biking routes, including the epic 12-mile long Altura trail that takes you to an altitude of 1600ft.


23. Conquer the Via Ferrata

High in the fells between Keswick and Buttermere, Honister Slate Mine is home to the Via Ferrata, a trail on the mountainside that uses cables, ladders, and rungs to traverse across previously inaccessible terrain. The “Extreme” version at Honister includes a number of exposed edges and is not for the faint-hearted.


24. Take a Segway Tour

Explore Whinlatter on these two-wheeled vehicles.


25. Go on a Navigation Skills Course

A number of activity companies and the Lake District National Park Authority run these courses throughout the year. You will learn some potentially life saving skills that will improve your fell walking and mountaineering experiences.


26. Do a High Ropes Course

Overcome your fear of heights and cross rope bridges suspended high in the trees on one of these many courses. There are Go Ape courses at Whinlatter and Grizedale forests, as well as a Tree Top Trek Course at Brockhole by Windermere.


27. Channel Your Inner Bear Grylls

There are several activity companies in the Lake District offering bushcraft courses where you can learn some basic survival skills.


28. Play a Round of Golf

At Hope Park in Keswick there’s an 18 hole pitch and putt course and a crazy golf course with clubs available to hire.


Lake District Food & Drink

Cumberland Sausage

29. Sample Some Buttermere Ayrshire Ice Cream

Reward yourself with an ice cream from Syke Farm, made on site with milk from their own Ayrshire cows.


30. Visit the Lingholm Kitchen

Treat yourself to a brunch or lunch at the Lingholm Kitchen on the edge of Derwent Water, made with bread baked on site. It’s so good you won’t be able to resist buying a loaf to take home.


31. Eat an Epic Burger

Can you finish the Ultra Kitchen Dare Burger available at the Wheatsheaf Inn in Lorton, near Cockermouth? It contains two burgers, chicken, pork, bacon, brisket, and a lot more.


32. Tour a Brewery

Visit Jennings Brewery in Cockermouth where you can take a tour and see just how their famous real ale is made. Plus, there’s a shop where you can purchase a bottle or two.


33. Indulge in Afternoon Tea

We love Afternoon Tea in the Lake District, and the versions offered by Armathwaite Hall in Bassenthwaite, and the Daffodil Hotel in Grasmere are particularly good, but there are plenty of other places to choose from.


34. Eat an Authentic Cumberland Sausage

We don’t mean the stuff you get on the supermarket shelves. A true Cumberland Sausage has a meat content of at least 80%. Cranstons in Penrith and Sillfield Farm in Kendal are widely acknowledged to be the purveyors of the finest Cumberland sausages.


35. Dine in a Michelin Starred Restaurant

There are four to choose from, each one offering exquisite food. L’Enclume and Rogan & Co in Cartmel are both run by Simon Rogan. The Forest Side at Grasmere is run by Kevin Tickle, whilst HRiSHi at the Gilpin Hotel in Windermere is led by Hrishikesh Desai.


36. Feast on Some Grasmere Gingerbread

The recipe is top secret and it’s still sold from the original tiny shop in Grasmere. There’s almost always a queue, but it’s definitely worth the wait.


37. Take the Kids to the Hawkshead Chocolate Factory

With workshops available every day throughout the day, children can make their very own chocolate creations whilst you relax in the café where you can watch them at work through the viewing windows.


38. Delight in Sunday Dinner Down the Pub

Cumbria is rich with pubs serving up delicious, wholesome roast dinners each Sunday. Local favourites include The Pheasant in Bassenthwaite, The Mason’s Arms near Grange Over Sands, and the Kirkstile Inn at Loweswater.


39. Sample Whisky at the Lakes Distillery

You can take a tour of the distillery that is located near Bassenthwaite where you will be offered several whiskies to sample. After, purchase a bottle to take home or enjoy some delicious contemporary dishes in the Bistro.


40. Bravely Try Some of the World’s Hottest Chillis

The annual Chilli Fest takes place at Holker Hall on the 7th & 8th September, 2019. You might want to take along plenty of water.


41. Visit a Food Festival

Food Festivals are a staple of the Lake District events calendar. There will be several taking place in 2019 and they are an opportunity to try and buy a plethora of locally made produce, as well as see award winning chefs in action. Keep checking our events blog for details of dates.


42. Discover the Origins of the Sticky Toffee Pudding

There are several contenders for the “home of the sticky toffee pudding” but the Cartmel Village Shop is probably the most famous. It also stocks a number of other delicious puddings and sweet treats. You’ll need plenty of boot space for your visit, and perhaps a looser belt to match.


43. Try Some Award Winning Marmalade

The annual Marmalade Festival will return to Dalemain on the 16th March, 2019 but you can purchase some award winning marmalades throughout the year in the estate’s shop.


Water Adventures

Row Boats in Lake Windermere

Row Boats in Lake Windermere (jiggotravel /

44. Hire a Canoe to Explore The Lakes

Canoes are relatively stable boats, making them perfect to explore the lakes of the Lake District even if you lack a lot of experience. You can hire canoes at various places around the Lake District, including Brockhole (Windermere), Glenridding Sailing Centre (Ullswater), Coniston Boating Centre (Coniston Water), and the Derwent Water Marina (Derwent Water).


45. Take a Steamer to Wray Castle

Wray Castle is difficult to reach by road and parking is limited, so instead, combine your visit to this National Trust property by hopping on board a steamer at the Waterhead Pier in Ambleside. It will take you across Lake Windermere to the castle. The return journey stops at Brockhole and your ticket permits you to alight there as well!


46. Learn to Sail

There are several organisations in the Lake District offering courses that are accredited by the Royal Yachting Association, as well as half day taster sessions. Popular course providers include the Glenridding Sailing Centre at Ullswater and the Derwent Water Marina Marina near Keswick.


47. Take a Journey on a Victorian Vessel

The Steam Yacht Gondola was originally launched in 1859 and once carried wealthy Victorian tourists between the Furness Railway and the Coniston Railway. She was the inspiration for Captain Flint’s houseboat in Arthur Ransome’s, Swallows and Amazons, and sails on Coniston Water throughout the summer.


48. Kayak Along a River

Kayaks are designed to be navigated through fast moving water. Whilst you can hire kayaks to use on the lakes, several activity companies offer white water kayaking experience days for a more thrilling adventure.


49. Combine a Steamer Ride with a Walk

During the spring / summer period a steamer service operates between Glenridding and Aira Force waterfall, meaning that you can walk from the town to the falls along the lake shore path and through Wordsworth’s fields of daffodils at Glencoyne, before taking a leisurely cruise back to the car.


50. Go Wild Swimming in a Mountain Tarn

Easedale Tarn above Grasmere is particularly popular for this activity, especially as there are a number of plunge pools along the way.


51. Test Your Balance with Stand Up Paddle Boarding

It’s one of the latest crazes to hit the water. Offering more stability than a surf board, Stand-Up-Paddle Boards are perfect for calm waters and will give your core a good workout. Available to hire at the Coniston Boating Centre and the Derwent Water Marina.


52. Build Your Own Raft & Test It on a Lake

Gather your friends and family for a team building challenge where you have to build a raft stable enough to carry you around the lake. There are several activity companies offering this type of challenge.


Lake District Attractions


53. See the Otters at the Lakes Aquarium

The Lakes Aquarium has home to otters, reptiles, and fish from around the world.


54. Find Out How the South Lakes Safari Zoo Has Improved

Previously the subject of multiple controversies, the South Lakes Safari Zoo has seen significant improvements in the last year, receiving praise from the inspectors.


55. Reach New Heights at a Climbing Wall

Brilliant for gaining confidence, there are climbing walls at Keswick, Carlisle, Kendal, Ambleside and Penrith.


56. Give the Kids a Run Around in a Giant Fort

In the grounds of Lowther Castle by Penrith there’s a huge wooden play fort that will keep your children entertained for hours.


57. Meet the Meerkats

At the Lake District Wildlife Park you can buy a special experience where you can get into the Meekat enclosure for a close encounter of the furry kind. The park also offers lemur and tapir encounters.


58. View a Collection of Quarrying Equipment

Fabulous for fans of diggers and classic quarrying machines, the Threlkeld Quarry & Mining Museum has a huge collection of vintage machines. There’s a mine to explore and narrow gauge railway to ride on.


59. Meet Peter Rabbit & His Friends

Visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-On-Windermere for cute display inspired by the author’s imaginative world.


60. Catch a Film at Rheged

There are film screenings most days and you can combine this with a browse around the centre’s shops where you will find some beautifully made gifts, plus you can feast on local produce in the café and restaurant.


61. Spend the Day at Brockhole

The visitor centre on the shore of Lake Windermere is operated by the Lake District National Park Authority and you can try a range of outdoor activities here. There’s a café and a massive play area for children.


62. Have Your Picture Taken with the World’s Largest Pencil

A visit to the Pencil Museum in Keswick is ideal for those rainy days.


63. Learn More About the Rum Trade

Visit the Rum Story in Whitehaven to learn more about the town’s links to the start of the rum trade in the UK during the Georgian era.


64. Take an Alpaca for a Walk

Alpacaly Ever After offer this unique experience in the grounds of the Lingholm Estate by Derwent Water.


65. See the Remains of a 700 Year Old Cat & Other Oddities

The Keswick Museum & Art Gallery is packed with unusual artefacts and a collection of over 3,000 rock, mineral, and fossil samples.


66. See Where Wordsworth Went to School

You can learn about how education has changed from the 16th century at the Hawkshead Grammar School museum where Wordsworth went to school.


67. Visit a Village in Miniature

The Lakeland Miniature Village has been created entirely by one man in his back garden and features over 100 miniature villages in the typical Lakeland slate style.


68. Boggle Your Brain with Optical Illusions

The Puzzling Place in Keswick features giant optical illusions that will leave you feeling confused and amazed.


69. See a Replica of Malcolm Campbell’s Bluebird

The Lakeland Motor Museum is packed with over 30,000 motoring exhibits, including a replica of Malcolm Campbell’s record breaking vehicle, as well as a plethora of vintage and super cars.


70. Take a Ride on a Narrow Gauge Railway

Get a different view of the Lake District by riding on either the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway or the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway.


71. Get Lost in a Maze

The Lakeland Maze Farm Park near Keswick has two large mazes made from maize. This working farm is also home to a number of indoor and outdoor activities suitable for children.


Historic Lake District

Castlerigg Stone Circle

Castlerigg Stone Circle

72. Explore the Legacy of the Lakes Poets

At Dove Cottage & the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere you can learn more about the life of William Wordsworth and the other Lakes Poets, including Samuel Taylor Coleridge. You can also take a tour of the former home of William and Dorothy Wordsworth.


73. Explore the Life & Works of John Rushkin

The 19th century philosopher, philanthropist, writer, and artist is memorialised at Brantwood, his former home near Coniston Water.


74. Visit a Mystical Ancient Monument

The Castlerigg Stone Circle by Keswick is one of the finest stone circles in the north of England, and you can walk amongst the stones, taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding fells.


75. Discover the Role of Carlisle in the Ancient Battles With Scotland

At Carlisle Castle you can explore the role the castle played in the numerous skirmishes that occurred between Scotland and England before the two countries were unified in 1707.


76. Walk Through the Woodlands that Inspired Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Mirehouse and Gardens is located on the shore of Bassenthwaite and is a delightful place to explore in the summer. It was here that Tennyson found inspiration for Morte D’Arthur.


77. Paint the View at Allan Bank

Another former home of William Wordsworth, this National Trust property is now occupied with craft activities, including a room where you can paint the view of the Grasmere fells.


78. See Medieval Weaponry in a Pele Tower

The beautiful Hutton-In-The-Forest stately home began life as a medieval pele tower and today visitors can how the tower might have looked during a medieval battle.


79. Visit the Home of Henry VIII’s Last Wife

Sizergh Castle in Kendal was once home to Catherine Parr and today it’s a fascinating National Trust property with a delightful woodland trail that children will particularly enjoy.


80. Search out the Ghosts of Muncaster

This medieval castle is said to be one of the most haunted properties in Britain.


81. Explore the Ruins of an Ancient Abbey

Furness Abbey dates back to 1123 and once housed a powerful order of Cistercian monks.


82. Have a Picnic in the Grounds of a Ruined Castle

Brougham Castle near Penrith lies in ruins and its grounds alongside the river make for a delightful picnic spot.


83. See Where a Witch Was Turned to Stone

Legend has it that the ancient stone circle known as Long Meg and Her Daughters was created when Meg, a witch, and her daughters were turned to stone after dancing on the Sabbath. It’s the largest stone circle in Cumbria and can be found near Penrith.


84. Visit William Wordsworth’s Childhood Home

Wordsworth House can be found in Cockermouth and is where Wordsworth lived in his infant years.


85. Explore a Roman Fort High in the Fells

Hardknott Fort at Hardknott Pass in West Cumbria is the most dramatic setting for this ancient Roman fort that dates back to the creation of Hadrian’s Wall.


86. Visit Beatrix Potter’s Former Home

Hill Top at Near Sawrey was left to the National Trust by Beatrix Potter with the provision that it must be preserved exactly as she left it, so you can see all of her furnishings within the property.


Other Things to Do in the Lake District

Star Gazing in the Lake District

87. Join a Cumberland & Westmorland Wrestling Tournament

Most of the Agricultural Shows and country fairs that take place during the summer months in the Lake District will have a tournament of this unique and quirky sport that everyone can enter.


88. Become a Knight of Piel Island

Accessed via a ferry from the Furness Peninsula, visitors can attempt to become knighted by the King of Piel (aka the pub landlord) by buying everyone in the pub a round of drinks.


89. Compete in the World Gurning Championships

Held each year at the Egremont Crab Fair, the aim is to pull the most hideous face possible.


90. Hunt for Crabs at the Beach

The Solway Coast is brimming with wildlife and when the tide goes out it reveals a plethora of rock pools that are filled with tiny sea creatures.


91. Watch a Puppet Show

Upfront Theatre near Penrith is the home to several performances a year using puppets made by the theatre. It’s an imaginative experience for the entire family.


92. Watch the Cows Being Milked

At Low Sizergh Barn Café there’s a viewing area into the milking barn and the cows come in each day at 3.30pm to be milked.


93. Visit Cumbria’s Highest Inn

At 1,500 feet above sea level the Kirkstone Inn is Cumbria’s highest. You can enjoy a pint of real ale here, feast on some proper pub grub, and even stay the night. Just don’t try and get there in the snow.


94. Treat Yourself to a Spa Day

The Lake District has a plethora of spa facilities where you can relax in a Jacuzzi or enjoy a massage.


95. Buy Some New Walking Boots

Keswick, Ambleside, and Bowness-On-Windermere are home to numerous outdoor shops where you can pick up some specialist gear for walking in the Lake District.


96. See the Stars in Their Full Glory

Cumbria has two Dark Sky Discovery Sites: One is at Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre by Ennerdale Water and the other is at Allan Bank. The lack of light pollution in these areas results in a spectacular night sky.


97. Attend a Music Festival

Kendal Calling might be the most famous of Cumbria’s Music Festivals but there are several others set to take place in 2019.


98. See the Lake District from Above

Virgin Balloon Flights operate from Witherslack near Kendal and Dalemain from Penrith.

99. See the Lake District from Horseback


Go on a horse or pony trek for a unique way to explore the Lake District. Lakeland Pony Trekking, Cumbria Heavy Horses, and Pony Trekking Ullswater are among several companies that offer this experience.


100. Listen to an Epic Storyteller

Taffy Thomas OBE can be heard spinning his wonderful tales on the first Tuesday of the month at the Watermill Inn in Ings, and at the Storyteller’s Garden in Grasmere at various events throughout the year.

101. Light Up the Fells for Charity

The annual Lakeland Festival of Light returns on Saturday, 4th May, 2019. Walkers are invited to bring head torches for an evening walk to create a line of light along the ridge of Cat Bells, with donations requested to support the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Dogs charity.