There are enormous things to do in Cumbria and each one is set amidst a hauntingly beautiful background. Also known as the Lake District, this non-metropolitan county in North West England consists of six districts: Barrow-in-Furness, South Lakeland, Copeland, Allerdale, Eden, and the City of Carlisle. Combined, the landscape highlights the best of England, which has inspired throngs of artists for centuries.
Eye-popping views are everywhere so you are assured whatever you end up doing, it will be worthwhile. Go over this list and find the inspiration and escape you crave.
Outdoors in Cumbria
1. Castlerigg Stone Circle
Unknown origins, a series of stones standing in attention, connections with astronomical alignments – how mysterious can the Castlerigg Stone Circle be? This jaw-dropping Neolothic monument dates back up to 4000 years and creates an utterly dramatic sight amidst the mountain peaks overlooking the Thirlmere Valley.
Hours: Open access
Location: Castle Ln, Underskiddaw, Keswick CA12 4RN, United Kingdom
2. Tarn Hows
The crowds in the high season is enough proof that this is one of the best things to do in Cumbria. The lakeshore and surrounding woodland is every inch photogenic. Take slow, leisurely walks, enjoy the views, and breathe in nature at its finest.
Hours: Open access
Location: Lake District National Park, Coniston LA21 8AQ, England
3. Whinlatter Forest Park
Known as the country’s only true forested mountain, the park stretches five miles from Keswick and is a designated red squirrel reserve. It presents gorgeous opportunities for walking and cycling while watching a rich variety of wildlife. This is one of the best things to do in Cumbria for nature lovers.
Price: Free but parking fees apply: £2 for an hour and £8 for a day
Hours: Open access
Location: Keswick CA12 5TW, United Kingdom
4. Lodore Falls
After a good spell of rain, head to the south of Derwentwater, just outside the Lodore Hotel, and see the waterfall that inspired Robert Southey in one of his poems.
Hours: Open access
Location: Borrowdale, Keswick CA12 5UX, United Kingdom
Castles in Cumbria
5. Carlisle Castle
A silent witness to some of the most dramatic historical events in England, seeing this brooding, rust-red castle tops any list of the best things to do in Cumbria. Climb the battlements for splendid views that stretch as far as the Scottish border. Watch out for the “licking stones”, too. The castle also houses the Museum of Military Life and joint tickets can be purchased.
Price: Joint ticket with Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life costs £9.20 for adults and £5.15 for children
Hours: 10 AM to 4 PM every Saturday and Sunday
Location: Castle Way, Carlisle CA3 8UR, United Kingdom
6. Penrith Castle
More ruins than a castle, the Penrith Castle was built in the 14th century to defend the Scottish border. The location used to be a Roman fort and was chosen for possible defensive function more than the views.
Hours: 7.30 AM to 9 PM from Easter to October; 7.30 AM to 4.30 PM from November to Easter
Location: Penrith, northwest of England, a few miles east of Lake District National Park
Historic Buildings in Cumbria
7. Wordsworth House
This beautiful Georgian house is the birthplace of Romantic poet William WordsCostumedCostume guides take you back in time and let you experience the place in the way that the young Wordsworth saw it.
Price: £7.20 for adults £3.60 for children
Hours: 11 AM to 5 PM from Saturday to Thursday between March and October
Location: Main St., Cockermouth, England
8. Hill Top
This quaint rural farmhouse embraced by climbing ivy two miles south of Hawkshead belonged to famous writer Beatrix Potter. It features in many of her works including Samuel Whiskers, Tom Kitten, Pigling Bland, Jemima Puddleduck, and Peter Rabbit. Entry to this memorabilia-stocked house is by timed ticket. It is one of the best things to do in Cumbria so expect a pack of people looking around.
Price: £10 for adults and £5 for children; admission to the garden and shop is free
Hours: Open daily at 10 AM
Location: Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LF, United Kingdom
9. Holker Hall
Victorian splendour adorns Holker Hall, which used to house the Cavendish family. It is indeed a thing of beauty with mullioned windows, gables, and copper-topped turrets. The rooms are lavish, of course. Head to the Drawing Room and Long Gallery for some exquisite furniture and oil paintings. The library holds thousands of antique books, too. Outside, a rose garden greets guests, along with ornamental fountains and sprawling grounds that stretch over 10 hectares.
Price: £12 for adults; children go free
Hours: House opens at 11 AM to 4 PM; Grounds open at 10.30 AM to 5 PM every Wednesday to Sunday from March to October
Location: Two kilometres to the southwest of the village of Cartmel in the Cumbrian Coast, England
Museum in Cumbria
10. Keswick Museum
Quirky, rich, and diverse, this museum undoubtedly belongs in the list of top things to do in Cumbria. It covers a lot of ground: from ancient archaeology to the history of the area. Exhibits include a 700-year-old mummified cat and the Musical Stones of Skiddaw.
Price: £4 for adults and £2.50 for children
Hours: Open daily from 10 AM to 4 PM
Location: Station Rd, Keswick CA12 4NF, United Kingdom
Distillery and Brewery in Cumbria
11. Lakes Distillery
Created by master distillers, this is the only one in the Lake District and it is a treat to see and experience. It stands on a farm built in the 1850s and is popular for luxurious gins, vodka, and whisky. Guided tours are available, as well as tastings.
Hours: Open daily from 11 AM to 6 PM
Location: Nr Bassenthwaite Lake CA13 9SJ, United Kingdom
12. Jennings Brewery
Ale drinkers are all too familiar with the Jennings brand – pints have been served in pubs since 1874 and you might have downed one or a couple without noticing the name. Witness the magic happen in the brewing process via the enjoyable guided tours and go for a tasting session after. Count on it – this is one of the best things to do in Cumbria!
Price: £9 for adults and £4.50 for children
Hours: 1.30 PM every Wednesday to Saturday
Location: Brewery Ln, Cockermouth CA13 9NE, United Kingdom
Recommended Accommodation in Cumbria, England
The Hare and Hounds, Levens
The Hare and Hounds, Levens is a wonderful accommodation, with tastefully decorated rooms, excellent meals and friendly staff. It’s a charming modernised country pub, offering guests with lovely views. Great setting and atmosphere, truly one of the best and well recommended accommodation in Cumbria, England.
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Windermere Boutique Hotel
Windermere Boutique Hotel is an exceptional place to stay, with stunning and fantastic location offered, luxurious rooms and top notch facilities. Delicious breakfast being served, beautifully clean rooms, great staff. This is definitely one of the best and well recommended accommodation in Cumbria, England.
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CAR RENTAL TIP: We always try to rent our own car when we travel, so that we can explore off-the-beaten-path places on our own schedule. Check out the best deals on rental cars for your trip and explore your independence!