04 May 2024

10 Things to do in Cumbria

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Home to The Lake District National Park, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Cumbria is a beautiful county spanning 6,767 km². The county boarders Southern Scotland, Northumberland, County Durham, West Yorkshire and Lancashire, but when there's so many beautiful things to see and wonderful things to do in Cumbria, why would you need to go elsewhere. Below, we have listed some of our favourite things to do in Cumbria to give you some inspiration for your next day out.

Lowther Castle & Gardens

Lowther Castle & Gardens

Lowther Castle and Gardens offers dramatic ruins and beautiful gardens. When Lowther Castle was first commissioned in 1806 by William, 1st Earl of Lonsdale, it was said to have a room for every day of the year and housed a grand art collection. Over time, the castle was passed from Earl to Earl, and 130 years after it was built, it was abandoned by The ‘Yellow Earl’, the 5th Earl of Lonsdale. Standing empty for years, the castle's fate was sealed by James Lonsdale, the 7th Earl, as he removed the roof in 1957. Find out more about the history of Lowther at The Story of Lowther exhibition found in the stable gallery.

The estate offers vast gardens to explore, spanning 130-acres. Laid out in the 17th century by the first Viscount, Sir John Lowther, the gardens are home to the Roman Bath and stone collumns from the mid-Victorian era, as well as the Rock, Japanese, Sweet-Scented and Iris Gardens from the early Edwardian period. Over time, as the castle was abandoned, so were the gardens, allowing the wild undergrowth to dominate. Today, following a project to restore the gardens, visitors are greeted with a perfectly maintained courtyard, the Garden-in-the-Ruins with a collection of botanical rareities, and the Rose Garden, inspired by Sleeping Beauty and planted in the shape of a rose. The gardens are also home to a number of summerhouses, tree hives, wildflower meadows and vast woodland, all ready to be explored. 


Alpaca Walking

Alpacaly Ever After offer private, guided walks with herds of Alpacas and Llamas at a number of locations in the Lake District. While endevouring to rehome Alpacas and Llamas from all over the country, Alpacaly Ever After are also helping to encourage all of us to experience the great landscape that is Cumbria, through their wonderful Alpaca and Llama experiences. Take the Alpacas and Llamas out for a paddle (weather dependant), or take part in feeding time, for quite possibly the cutest couple of hours you could imagine.

With five different sites offering varying experiences, hanging out with these wonderful animals has never been easier. For an Alpaca meet and greet, head to The Lakes Distillery, or to take a stroll with Alpacas, make your way to Whinlatter Forest. To combine the two and extend your experience, you can visit The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden, or to Basecamp North Lakes, to hang out with and walk the Alpacas. If you prefer a Llama over an Alpaca, head to Littletown Farm Guest House to go Llama Trekking.

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers

The Ullswater Steamers have been offering scenic lake cruises on Ullswater for over 160 years. Provided all year round, and suitable for all weather, these lake cruises offer breathtaking and unique panoramic views of the Ullswater valley. With four piers, five heritage boats, and a timetable that runs 363 days a year, you can plan your cruise based on what is most convenient for you. Whether you're heading from Pooley Bridge to Howtown, or Aira Force to Glenridding, the Ullswater Steamer cruises are a wonderful way to enjoy the beautiful Lake District scenery. To elevate your experience further, there are a number of events offered, including Gin Cruises, Fish & Chips Cruises and a Dawn Photography Cruise. 


The World of Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter is a great place for the whole family as it brings the world of Peter Rabbit to life. Wander through the self-guided tour of the exhibition and learn about the wonderful world that Beatrix Potter created. Take a stroll through the garden, where you could bump into Jemima Puddle-Duck in the woodland! Treat yourself in the Beatrix Potter themed Tea Room, or pick up the Peter Rabbit picnic basket if the weather is on your side! It really is fun for all of the family – regardless of the weather!

Ravensglass & Eskdale Railway

Ravensglass & Eskdale Railway

Enjoy the picturesque seven-mile, 40-minute train journey from Ravensglass to Dalegarth, as you take in the panoramic scenery and see the wildlife that call this route home. The Ravensglass & Eskdale Railwayhas been in use since 1876 and is now a great way to spend the day in the Lake District. Once the train departs from Ravensglass, there are seven intermediate stops, all of which offer excellent starting points for a number of walks. Upon arrival at Dalegarth, there is a cafe serving homemade treats, and a gift shop full of treasures, as well as the Eskdale Mill, a must-see at Boot village, just a five-minute walk away. The Ravensglass & Eskdale Railway also offers events, including The Ratty Arms Beer Festival, Fish & Chips Trains, and a Little Engineers Day. Vouchers for experiences can also be purchased for those interested in Cream Tea & Prosecco, Picnic or Private Carraige experiences, among others. To enhance your experience further, why not stay over in one of the train coaches or in the cottage.


Theatre by the Lake

Whether you're in the mood for a stage show, a creative workshop, or fancy a drink at the cafe, there is something for everyone at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick. Situated on the shores of Derwentwater, and on the outskirts of Keswick, the theatre couldn't be more perfectly located. With a variety of shows to watch, from comedy and music, to musicals and plays, there is something to suit every taste. The theatre always has different exhibitions on show in the gallery space, showcasing a variety of artwork, from professional artists to children's schoolwork.

Aira Force Waterfall

Aira Force Waterfall

Aira Force Waterfall can be reached by a short walk from the car park found off the shores of Ullswater. Take the woodland trail up to the 65-foot waterfall, which is a wonderful display of what Cumbria has to offer. From the top of the waterfall, you can continue your walk and make your way towards the High Cascades and then onto the open fells, which provide the option to embark on a longer walk by tackling Gowbarrow. Alternatively, you can head back down the woodland trail and treat yourself in the tea room. 


Lakeland Motor Museum

Housing a fascinating collection of 30,000 exhibits that document the history and development of transportation, the Lakeland Motor Museum is nestled in the Leven Valley. Browse the vast selection of transportation displayed across a number of exhibitions, including motorcars, motorcyles & scooters, Campbell Bluebird, Isle of Man TT, automobilia, bicycles, and pedal cars.

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall

Hadrian's Wall stretches 73-miles and runs along the neck of England, from Bowness-on-Solway in the West to Wallsend in the East. The wall was made up of a combination of forts, milecastles, turrets and birdges, and today, the ruins stand as a reminder of the Roman Empire. In Cumbria, the best places to see the remains of the wall are Birdoswald Fort, Banks Turrets, Pike Hill Signal Tower, Milecastle 48, Willowford Bridge and Tullie House. Learn more about the history of Hadrian's Wall at Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery.


Lake District Wildlife Park

Just a ten minute drive from Keswick, the Lake District Wildlife Parkis the perfect family day out. Set on 24-acres of land, and with Skiddaw as the backdrop, the wildlife park has over 100 species of wild and domestic animals. Pay a visit to the mammals and birds that call the Lake District Wildlife Park home, and learn more about them at the keeper talks that are heald throughout the day. To immerse yourself in the experience even further, treat yourself to one of the animal experiences, allowing you to get up close and personal to some of the animals, including the Alpacas and Birds of Prey. 

However you decide to spend your next day out in Cumbria, you're guarunteed to have a good time! Whether you're spending your time outside walking an Alpaca, exploring Lowther Castle & Gardens or taking a walk up to Aira Force Waterfall, or you're enjoying one of the indoor experiences Cumbria has to offer by visiting The World of Beatrix Potter, watching a show at the Theatre on the Lake, or taking a ride on the Ullswater Steamers or the Ravensglass & Eskdale Railway, there is something for everyone. 

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