The summer holidays are almost upon us, and if you’re booked in to visit us over the next couple of months your thoughts might now be starting to turn to the myriad of exciting things you could get up to in the Lake District. On the other hand, there are so many things to do you may not even know where to start! For those of you in need of a little inspiration, here are 10 great days out in the Lake District this summer.
1. Enjoy the best of Lake District traditions at a summer country show
Summer in the Lake District is absolutely full of traditional shows, fairs, sports days and gatherings. Blending 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. The Lowther Show, held 12th-13th August in the spectacular grounds of Lowther Castle, features the exciting and highly anticipated Lowther Horse Driving Trials – a hair-raising horse-and-carriage event with a 40-year history. Alternatively, the Penrith Show dates back to 1834, and has been held on the fourth Saturday of July ever since – this year it will be 22nd July. The Show is home to a great variety of agricultural competitions, as well as a host of local trade stands, food hall and rural crafts marquee.
2. Soak in the culture at PotFest in the Park and PotFest in the Pens
From 28th-30th July, over 100 artists from across Europe and beyond will display their wonderful pottery in the beautiful grounds and gardens of Hutton-in-the-Forest, an old country house four miles North of Penrith, for the PotFest in the Park event. Hutton-in-the-Forest is well worth a visit in itself, boasting a lovely historic house, walled garden, topiary terraces and woodland walks, so with the addition of incredible ceramics from leading artists it becomes a can’t-miss cultural destination. You can get involved yourself at the follow-up PotFest in the Pens, held under permanent cover at Skirsgill Auction Mart, Penrith, from 4th-6th August. This is the oldest potters’ market in the UK, and one of the few places where established and up-and-coming ceramic artists mingle and display their work under one roof. As well as some demonstrations, there will be free hour-long classes for adults, and children’s activities at the kids’n’clay corner.
3. Go wild at Grizedale and Whinlatter Forest Parks
For a wild adventure, why not visit Grizedale or Whinlatter Forest Park? Both forests are putting on weekly events for kids during the summer holidays, with Grizedale holding ‘Wild Things Tuesdays’, where children and families can discover the secrets of the deep dark wood. Whinlatter is holding ‘Warty Wednesdays‘, a series of free, led activities where children can become Gruffalo explorers. Alternatively, try Grizedale’s orienteering or Whinlatter’s mountain biking routes – the Quercus Trail is a moderate route suited for intermediate riders to hone their skills.
4. Get a day ticket to one of the Lake District’s many Music Festivals
Kendal Calling may be sold out, but there are still a whole host of fantastic – and diverse – music festivals in the Lake District this summer. Solfest, held from 25th-27th August in the very North of the Lake District, is one of the UK’s best loved independent festivals, with an eclectic bill that promises to have something for everyone, from punks and ravers to grannies and toddlers. Staveley, between Kendal and Windermere, hosts the Lake District Folk Weekend from 11th-13th August, while the Western Lakes is home to the brand new Rock the Fells Festival, the first of its kind in the area. Or head to Hutton-in-the-Forest again for a festival boasting a lineup of Michael Jackson, Queen, David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Oasis, AC/DC, Meatloaf and more – the Wannasee Music Festival, home to a world-class array of tribute acts. Running from 25th-27th August, this is the closest you can get to a show with so many legendary names on the same bill.
Finally, for a completely different type of festival, check out the Lake District Summer Music festival – an international arts festival based in the Southern Lake District with chamber music at its heart. The annual event sees more than 40 different performances spread between 11 different venues across the area, and features opera and classical music alongside folk and world music.
5. Blow off some steam at the Cumbria Steam Gathering
The last weekend of July sees the Annual Cumbria Steam Gathering return once more to Cark Airfield, to the very South of the Lake District. From 29th-30th July, you can experience the sounds, smells and sights of the golden age of steam as exhibitors from across the country proudly display their lovingly preserved machinery and vehicles, working displays, and collections of artefacts and memorabilia from days gone by. The Gathering regularly attracts more than 20,000 visitors over the two days each year, and this year also hosts a Moto Cross display team, lawn mower racing, a sheep show, a climbing wall and sandpit, among other attractions.
6. Explore some hidden gems at a National Trust Open Day
While so much of the Lake District is waiting to be explored any time of the year, there are some places that are ordinarily closed off that can only be visited at certain times. Over the summer some of these are open to the public for a one-off opportunity to see some of the region’s hidden gems. The National Trust is holding two such events, the first of which is the chance to visit the processing mill at Force Crag – which was the last working metal mine in the Lake District, until it shut down production in 1990. It has since been lovingly restored by volunteers, and is one of the Lake District’s most fascinating secrets, located in the heart of the stunning Coledale Valley, with the spectacular views reason enough to visit even if you’re not sure mining is quite your thing. It is only open to the public five times a year, and is available to visit on 26th July during the summer holidays.
The second such event is actually being held twice – once on 1st August, and again on 31st August. Pick up a paddle and, under the supervision of expert guides, climb aboard a very stable rafted canoe and head for Derwent Island, in the middle of Derwent Water. This forms the start of the National Trust’s Derwent Island House Open Day – and is actually a fairly peaceful paddle, and suitable for children as young as eight. Once you arrive you’ll be given a 45 minute guided tour of Pocklington’s Georgian House and then explore the gardens and the rest of the island at your leisure. This is a unique opportunity to discover the reality of life on the island past and present, and enjoy the gardens, grounds and amazing views.
7. Have a tree-top adventure at Brockhole visitor centre
A UK-first, the novelty still hasn’t worn off since Treetop Nets opened at Brockhole visitor centre two years ago. With 1500 sq. metres of giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels suspended nine metres above the ground amongst the canopy, it remains a fantastic adventure for adults and children alike, and offers great views over Windermere and the surrounding fells. Then try the Treetop Trek course – 35 exciting treetop challenges, designed to make you swing, climb, balance and fly through the ancient oak woodland canopy, finishing off with an amazing 250 metre triple zip from the 14 metre high Treetop tower to the shoreline. All ages and abilities from 5yrs upwards can join in the fun, as you’ll be connected to a continuous safety cable.
8. Go back in time with Medieval Muncaster
The 70 acres of grounds that surround Muncaster Castle are wonderfully atmospheric on any occasion – but they will be doubly so over the bank holiday weekend of 26th-28th August, when the Castle returns to the 15th century with the Medieval Muncaster weekend. Enthusiastic and knowledgeable re-enactors bring the past back to life and transport you to the time of the Wars of the Roses, helping put in context Muncaster’s own place in these times. Learn how men were armed, watch a siege re-enactment, go to Knight School and find out what life was like for our ancestors in these times. There will be have-a-go archery sessions for adults and children aged 8+ on the Castle lawns, while there will also be a Medieval Alchemist on hand to show off his potions, medieval wizardry and the many processes of alchemy – many of which form the basis of techniques used in modern chemistry today.
9. Get blown away by Bass Week
It may sound like a seven-day dub festival, but ‘Bass Week’ is actually the name of the week-long sailing regatta held on the shores – and waters – of Bassenthwaite Lake, running from 5th-14th August. Just two minutes’ drive from our caravan park, Bassenthwaite Sailing Club have been holding the annual event since the dawn of the new millenium, offering wonderful sailing in a great family environment and in a setting of unrivalled natural beauty. If you’re not keen sailors, feel free to simply sit back and observe, as the boats make for a spectacular sight; there will also be a great range of social activities at the sailing club throughout the week.
We’re also right next door to Lakes Distillery, one of the sponsors of Bass Week, who produce whiskey, gin and vodka, with behind the scenes tasting tours available. Throughout the summer holidays their bistro has a great ‘Kids eat Free’ offer – for every adult main ordered, a child under 12 will be able to enjoy two courses for free from the children’s menu.
10. Take a hike!
Of course, it would be remiss to talk of days out in the Lake District without mentioning the number of fantastic walks on offer in this spectacular part of the world. Herdwick Croft is 7 miles from Keswick, which is in an ideal location for exploring Friar’s Crag – described by John Ruskin as one of the three most beautiful scenes in Europe. On a clear summer night, this is a particularly spectacular spot for stargazing – and since we’re only 20 minutes drive away, finding your way back shouldn’t be an issue at all.
The gentle ascent to the top of Sale Fell is straightforward enough for even the most inexperienced of fell walkers, yet it offers fantastic panoramic views of Bassenthwaite Lake and the surrounding valley stretching to Cockermouth. You can also find the Lake District’s first wetlands nature reserve at Dubwath Silver Meadows, to the Northern end of Bassenthwaite Lake – this is a haven for wildlife, and is easily accessible for families with pushchairs as there are environmentally friendly boardwalks made of recycled plastic bottles. You can find more pushchair friendly walks on the Lake District National Park’s ‘Miles without Stiles’ website.
If you’re after more of a challenge, there are also some excellent peaks in the surrounding area for you to tackle. The WalkLakes website has some great suggestions for you to try.
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: email@example.com
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