13 things to do in the Lake District

"Веселые люди делают больше глупостей, чем печальные, но печальные делают большие глупости." Эвальд Христиан Клейсту ©
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Before the Lake District became the popular destination it is today, travellers journeying through would draw down the blinds on their carriage because the drama of the landscape was too intimidating. Now it’s that startling beauty which attracts people to this UNESCO World Heritage Site – as well as its culinary offering. The importance that Cumbria places on food is even apparent if you stop off at the county’s award-winning service station, Tebay, on the way. With its farm shop, butchery and deli counter, as well as some spectacular panoramic views, it serves as a taster of what’s to come as you head into Wordsworth Country.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    VISIT

    Ennerdale Water

    In the north-west of the Lake District, Ennerdale Water is the most remote lake in the national park and rivals Wastwater in terms of drama. It’s a seven-mile walk around (one of the most scenic walks in the Lake District) but it takes a lot longer than you’d anticipate as you’ll be constantly pausing in awe of the view. There are a couple of seats along the way and stony spots on the shoreline, so bring a packed lunch.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Wastwater

    Voted Britain’s Favourite View in 2007, England’s deepest lake is surrounded by fells and screes, making it genuinely awe-inspiring. It is located on the edge of the village of Nether Wasdale, home to a couple of pubs with microbreweries. St Olaf’s church in Wasdale village, at its north end, has one of the smallest churches in the county, with roof beams that are believed to have originally come from Viking ships.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre

    Conishead Priory has a long history of healing: in 1160 it was founded by Augustinian monks as a hospital for the poor. Now its focus has shifted from the medical to the spiritual, and the sprawling estate of this gothic mansion contains the first Kadampa Temple for World Peace and the largest bronze Buddha statue cast in the west. The modern Buddhist centre is set in 70 acres of gardens and woodlands, perfect for picnicking and strolling, and offers meditation classes, courses and retreats.

    Address: Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, Conishead Priory, Priory Road, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 9QQ


    Website: manjushri.org

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Lakes Distillery

    Housed in a refurbished Victorian model farm, just up the road from Lake Bassenthwaite, the Lakes Distillery crafts a range of whiskies, vodkas and gins, with the pink-grapefruit gin deserving a special mention. Choose from a selection of official tours and discover how everything is made – each ends with a tasting – or create your own sampling in the bistro, which serves clever cocktails and a regularly changing menu. Leave room in your suitcase for a couple of bottles from the gift shop.

    Address: The Lakes Distillery, Bassenthwaite Lake, near Setmurthy, Cumbria, CA13 9SJ


    Website: lakesdistillery.com

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Wordsworth House

    William Wordsworth is Cumbria’s most famous export, alongside sticky toffee pudding, and 2020 marks 250 years since the Romantic poet’s birth. Consequently, his birthplace – Wordsworth House in the Georgian market town of Cockermouth – is hosting an exhibition which delves into the relationship between him and his sister Dorothy, about which readers have been speculating for centuries. Meander around the pretty riverside garden and pop into the adjacent shop for locally sourced goodies.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Zeffirellis and Fellinis

    The beauty of the Lake District is perhaps only matched by the likelihood of rain – that’s what makes it so lush and verdant. Happily, Zeffirellis in the popular town of Ambleside is the perfect hangout for wet days. Alongside its restaurant – where vegetarians and vegans are well catered for – it has a jazz bar hosting free live performances most weekends, and a dinky independent cinema that champions new talent. Its sister venue, Fellinis, has an entirely vegetarian menu and an arthouse cinema above it.

    Address: Zeffirellis, 2 Compston Road, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9DJ


    Website: zeffirellis.com

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Dove Cottage

    While Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, it’s at Dove Cottage in nearby Grasmere that he spent many years of his adult life. This stunning village was described by Cumbria’s most famous son as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath found’, and there’s a building housing a collection of his works, alongside those of his contemporaries, near the house. Down the road, his simple headstone is in the churchyard of St Oswald’s, and is one of the world’s most visited literary shrines.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    EAT

    Baldry’s Grasmere Tearoom

    Right in the heart of the Lake District, surrounded by fells on all sides, Grasmere is home to this charming café. Each morning, freshly baked breads and cakes are set out on the pristine countertop of Baldry’s Tearoom, its towering Victoria sponge being a particular treat. There’s also an impressive selection of more than 30 teas to choose from, while quality coffee is sourced from fellow Cumbrian Farrer’s in Kendal.

    Address: Baldry’s Grasmere, Red Lion Square, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9SP


    Website: baldrysgrasmere.com

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    The Lingholm Kitchen and Walled Garden

    Set in pretty Portinscale on the shore of Derwent Water, this smart café has brilliantly big windows overlooking Skiddaw, one of the highest mountains in England. The menu adopts a ‘Cumbria first’ policy, with seasonal produce sourced from local farms and producers, and is replete with cakes, scones and breads baked on site. In the same grounds, there’s also a social-enterprise farm which rehomes and cares for unwanted alpacas and llamas from across the country. Make sure to stop by the pretty walled garden, which is said to have been the inspiration for Mr McGregor’s in Beatrix Potter’s story The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Kirkstile Inn

    Cumbria truly is a food lover’s paradise. Take the Kirkstile Inn: this handsome, traditional 16th-century inn serves delicious, unpretentious meals made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. It has its own brewery, Cumbrian Ales, ensconced in one of the building’s outhouses and a beer garden with unparallelled views. Both Crummock Water and Loweswater lakes are also nearby, so you can easily walk off those generous portions.

    Address: Kirkstile Inn, Loweswater, Cumbria, CA13 0RU


    Website: kirkstile.com

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Sharrow Bay

    It’s difficult to conceive of a more perfectly situated hotel than this property, based on the shore of Lake Ullswater with more than 12 acres of grounds. It opened its doors in 1949 and its founder and chef, Francis Coulson, invented the now legendary sticky toffee pudding in the 1970s. While there are many imitations of this delicious recipe, the original remains a very closely guarded secret, so Sharrow Bay is the only place where you can taste the real deal.

    Address: Sharrow Bay, Ullswater, Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2LZ


    Website: sharrowbay.co.uk

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    SHOP

    Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread

    Tucked in the corner of St Oswald’s was once the church cottage where the pioneering cook and businesswoman Sarah Nelson lived. She invented her eponymous Grasmere gingerbread in 1854 and it grew to be so popular with locals and tourists alike that she had to safeguard the recipe in a local bank vault. Sticky, sweet and crumbly, somewhere between a cake and a biscuit, it’s unlike anything else. The recipe remains a secret, while the business is still run by the family.

    Address: The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, Church Cottage, Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9SW


    Website: grasmeregingerbread.co.uk

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Cranstons Cumbrian Food Hall and Café

    Founded as a butcher’s in 1914, the Cranstons brand has become synonymous with quality meat, which is what makes its food hall such a treat. Less than a five-minute walk from Penrith train station, it’s a great place to pick up locally sourced essentials, as well as gifts. Try the county’s famous Cumberland sausage and local craft ales, as well as scrummy gins, honeys and preserves. And if all of that food shopping makes you peckish, the café upstairs has a Cumbria-inspired menu with particularly good scones.

    Address: Cranstons Cumbrian Foodhall, Ullswater Road, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 7EH


    Website: cranstons.net

    The New Bookshop

    On the edge of the National Park, the market town of Cockermouth is a masterclass in how to maintain a thriving high street. While admittedly there are a couple of chains in the mix, the majority of shop fronts belong to independent retailers, with the town’s bookshop – despite its name – being a real stalwart, having weathered both the floods and Kindles alike. It houses a great selection of local authors with plenty of signed and limited editions, while the coffee shop in the back is a cosy spot for a breather.

    Address: The New Bookshop, 42-44 Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9LQ


    Website: newbookshop.co.uk

    Shipton & Co

    This traditional jewellery store was established in the 1800s in Keswick, one of the Lake District’s most popular towns, and remains in the family’s hands. Its eye-catching window displays are colour-coded, nodding to the shop’s emphasis on gemstones, ranging from Ceylon sapphires and black diamonds to fire opals and jade, set in pretty pieces.

    Address: Shipton & Co, 21 Lake Road, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5BS


    Website: shiptonandco.com

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  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Zeffirellis & Fellinis

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Zeffirellis & Fellinis

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Grasmere Gingerbread

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Kirkstile

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Baldry’s

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Wordsworth House

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    The Lakes Distillery

  • 13 things to do in the Lake District

    Wordsworth House