Summer in the Lake District is by far the most popular time to visit, with the region flourishing and the weather at its best and most reliable. This means you really do have almost endless amounts of choice when comes to things to do in the summer at the Lake District, with this being the best time of year for taking to the water, climbing those higher peaks, trying your hand at watersports and much more. We’ve put together this handy guide of 10 things to try now that summer has arrived.
Cool off from the heat with a dip in one of the region’s lakes – there are plenty for you to choose from! There are 94 tarns, meres and lakes here in the Lake District, not to mention countless pools, becks and rivers too, and you can swim in nearly all of them. You could try going for a dip halfway up a mountain in a mountain tarn, a unique and memorable experience – if you’re feeling adventurous and are well prepared, head to Red Tarn beneath the summit of Helvellyn, which is the highest substantial body of water in England.
This is a wonderful way to experience the incredible Lake District landscape, and great fun, but remember to take the necessary precautions to stay safe. The official Lake District website has excellent advice on staying water wise when swimming.
Summer in the Lake District means taking to the water, and there are few better ways to do this than hiring a canoe or kayak – or even paddle boarding or water-skiing. There are so many opportunities to do this around the region, on lakes such as Coniston, Derwent Water, Ullswater and Windermere, all of which have facilities to hire the equipment. There are also some great events taking place over the holidays that will allow beginners to try their hand or just give you an excuse to get out on the water.
The National Trust at Wray Castle is giving taster sailing sessions this summer, alongside Windermere Outdoor Adventure Centre, designed for young children and perfect for all the family to get a taste of life on the water. Sessions are running from 23 July until 30 August, so if you’re heading here in the summer holidays it’s a great way to try your hand. The National Trust is also holding two open days on Derwent Island – on the 1st and 22nd of August. Pick up a paddle and climb aboard a stable rafted canoe, and paddle yourself across the short stretch of Derwant Water to its famous little island – once there you’ll enjoy a guided tour of Pocklington’s Georgian house and can explore the gardens and rest of the island at your leisure.
If summer for you is about sand between your toes, the sound of the sea and salty air, you might be surprised to learn that the Lake District has everything you could ask for in terms of beaches. Its lakes and mountains are so famous and celebrated that the western coastline is often overlooked, but this means that there are some great beaches to see without the crowds you might ordinarily expect.
Cumbria boasts over 150 miles of coastline, with sandy and shingle beaches, areas of outstanding natural beauty, and some vibrant port towns, so there’s something for everyone. Haverigg Beach, just outside the Lake District National Park in Millom, is an award-winning Blue Flag beach at the mouth of the Duddon Estuary, with long, extensive golden sands and a picture postcard village with lighthouse. The village of St Bees, overlooking a long sandy beach, is well worth a visit, too. Its rock pools are perfect for a day of exploring and crabbing. Ravenglass, meanwhile, actually falls within the boundaries of the National Park, with some great peaks nearby that you could climb or just use as a spectacular backdrop to your beach photos. Ravenglass is easily reachable by train, and the charming L’aal Ratty steam gauge railway is particularly worth a visit – they have a range of events planned for summer, including Kids Free Friday and Driver for a Fiver.
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LOVELY FOLK OF THE LAKES! So you kind of ate ALL of our ice cream yesterday in #Hawkshead so we have Momma Mac doing the early gelato shift ready for 12pm 👍🏻 Please bare with us as we are playing catch up but we will he bringing out gelato as soon as it’s made! 😂 #freshfreshfresh
Summer means ice cream, and the Lake District is home to some incredible producers and suppliers, dotted throughout the region. English Lakes Ice Cream, based in Kendal, supplies numerous cafes and shops throughout the Lake District, so the chances are you can enjoy their luxurious ice cream wherever you are – the ever popular Brockhole, for instance, on the shores of Windermere, has its own kiosk, perfect for enjoying as you stroll round the lake. Syke Farm, found at the halfway point as you walk around Buttermere, makes its own ice cream on site, using milk from the farm’s herd of Ayreshire cows – with delicious results you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Coniston is also home to some delicious ice cream, with people queuing at the window of its Bluebird Cafe even on cloudy days to get a taste of its Angelito ice cream. Hawkshead’s Little Ice Cream Shop is a family run business with 22 different flavours, all of them made on site in their gelato kitchen, and with vegan and gluten free customers catered for, too.
Food and Drink Festivals
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Happy KEY LIME TAU day! We ordered this perfect weather for the TAU! If you want it there are lots of lovely places pouring it today and over the weekend! #keylimetau #beerevents #beers #beer #beerstagram #beersoftheworld #beersofinstagram #bier #cerveza #lakedistrict #beerfromthelakes #hawksheadbrewery #colorado #crookedstave #tauday #tau #mathsmeetsbeer #lime #keylimepie #sourbeer #keg #can
There are also a number of great food and drink festivals in and around the Lake District as summer rolls round. We’ve got some brilliant local producers and food suppliers in the region and these festivals showcase some of the best of what we have to offer. The Eden Food and Farming Festival, a seven day celebration in mid to late July, kicks off with Penrith on a Plate – a free day of fine foods and beverages in the centre of the picturesque market town of Penrith. The Taste Cumbria food festival comes to Whitehaven in late July, a perfect opportunity to sample some of the artisan produce from across Cumbria, while the small town of Sedbergh, near Kendal, has its own food fest showcasing the best of its local businesses.
There are also some exciting drink festivals taking place, giving you the perfect excuse to enjoy a tipple or two in the sunshine. The Hawkshead Brewery’s Summer Beer Festival is being held on 18th-20th July, an annual event that has been going on since 2007. With free entry, a showcase of some of the best breweries and brewers in the region, food all day and live music too, this is a brilliant way to spend a long summer weekend. The Lakes Distillery, meanwhile, is holding its own Gin Festival on 3rd August, with outside bar all day, live music and a BBQ. The Distillery is just round the corner from us at Herdwick Croft, so ideal if you’re staying with us over the first weekend of August.
Country Fairs and Shows
The Lake District’s rich agricultural heritage is brilliantly demonstrated at this time of year by a series of country fairs and shows held around the region every summer. Blending traditional livestock displays with competitive events and have-a-go family fun, they make for a fantastic day out, and with the calendar so stacked with events there should be a show to see no matter when you visit. Here is a list of just a few of them this year:
- Penrith Show, Saturday 20th July
- Coniston Country Fair, Sunday 21st July
- Ambleside Sports, Thursday 25th July
- Cockermouth Show, Saturday 3rd August
- Cartmel Show, Wednesday 7th August
- Lowther Show, Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th August
- Rydal Sheepdog Trials, Thursday 15th August
- Hawkshead Show, Tuesday 20th August
- Grasmere Sports, Sunday 25th August
No matter your music taste you’re well catered to by the surprisingly extensive amount of music festivals in the Lake District this summer. The region may be best known for its landscapes and outdoor activities, but there’s a thriving music scene in the region too, and this is reflected by the number that have popped up in recent years. The biggest is of course Kendal Calling, held in Lowther Deer Park on 25-28 July, headlined this year by The Courteeners, Doves, Manic Street Preachers, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Years and Years, and Tom Jones. However, there are also a lot of smaller festivals that are well worth your time. Music on the Marr in Castle Carrock claims to be the country’s friendliest festival, and while you won’t see any big name acts, you’ll be able to enjoy some great local talent, excellent food and a vibrant atmosphere. The Hawkshead Brewery is home to the Lake District Folk Weekend, with evenings dedicated to folk music concerts at the brewery’s large events hall, by artists from around the country. The Lake District Summer Music International Festival, with chamber music at its heart, will be held across various locations in the Lake District once again this year. The growing ‘fake festival’ trend is also here too, with the UK’s best tribute acts heading to the Wannasee Music Festival on 23-25 August – the closest you’ll get to seeing The Beatles, David Bowie, ABBA, Elvis, AC/DC, Oasis and others all on the same bill.
For those fitness enthusiasts looking for a real test, take on a mountain outdoor challenge like no other. HonisterFest is a whole day of extreme activities at Honister Slate Mine on Saturday 20th July, including a unique fell run, gravel bike time trial and a team challenge, followed by live music and Cumbrian food into the evening. See if you can be crowned King or Queen of the Hill in the Grueller Hill Climb time trial, kicking off at 15.30 – this requires stamina, determination and consistency, so for hardy cyclists only. At 16.00, the 8k Honister Hurtle fell run begins, and it’s unlike any other fell run you’ve done before. Taking on the three summits of Dale Head, Fleetwith and Grey Knott, you’ll go deep inside the bowels of the mountain through mine tunnels, up a stepped incline to reach daylight before ascending to the summit and and descending Moses Trodd to the finish. The team challenge consists of four parts – a ‘Defender Drag’ (pulling a Landrover Defender), Pond Plunge, Cast the Clog and a mystery Surprise Challenge.
After all of these challenges comes the Slate Shindig ‘Apres-Race’, with live music, hog roast and bar from 6pm-10.45pm – a great way to wind down while surrounded by some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the Lake District.
The summer holidays in the Lake District are always full of excitement and fun for the kids. There are some great family days out to experience – we wrote about 10 of the best attractions here – and some special events being held through the summer holidays too. You and the family can get in touch with your inner Tarzan at Go Ape, which has two locations in the Lake District, at Grizedale and Whinlatter. These treetop adventures involve high ropes, challenging obstacles, intricate crossings, platforms and zip lines – all adding up to an exhilarating day, with some incredible 360° views of the Lake District fells. Whinlatter is also home to the WildPlay children’s play trail – nine different play zones set through the mountain forest. Families should also definitely make a bee-line for the Lake District Visitor’s Centre at Brockhole, Windermere. The amount of activities on offer here are too many to list in their entirety, but include an adventure playground, mini golf, bike and boat hire, kayak tours, gardens and grounds – and Treetop Nets, a UK-first with 1500 sq. metres of giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels suspended nine metres above the ground amongst the canopy.
The National Trust has some exciting events through the holidays, too. As well as the sailing taster sessions at Wray Castle mentioned above, there is also a wild play trail and gardens to explore at Sizergh Castle, bug hunting, dressing up and outdoor games at Wordsworth House, and picture perfect picnic spots and woodland to explore at Allan Bank.
On a wet day, immerse yourself in the World of Beatrix Potter at Bowness on Windermere – or head to the Old Laundry Theatre, where there’ll be daily performances of the Beatrix Potter Musical Adventure. Older kids will also love the climbing walls in Keswick, at KONG Adventure centre or the Keswick Climbing Wall.
The summer is absolutely ideal for walking in the Lake District, with the best possible conditions for exploring this spectacular part of the world. This makes summer the best time of year for tackling the most challenging of the fells as weather conditions will be at their best – though you should still make sure to plan and prepare well ahead of time. If you want to tick off Scafell Pike – England’s highest summit – from your list, the National Trust has some good guidance to check out before you tackle it. For families or those wishing to attempt something a little less challenging, there are also loads of walks that are suitable; so many, in fact that we put together not one, but two different lists of 10 Family-Friendly Walks in the Lake District – you can find the first 10 here, and the second 10 here.
Hopefully at least some of these suggestions have helped you plan your summer holiday to the Lake District! Click here if you’d like to view our caravan and holiday park and book online. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling: 017687 76241 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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