Things to do in the Lake District
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A trip to the Lake District is all about superlatives. Whether you're gazing up at - or down from - England's highest mountains, photographing the country's deepest lake or visiting the homes of famous romantic poets, you're bound to be drawn into the unparalleled natural beauty of England's iconic national park. Read our guide to the best things to do in the Lake District and start planning your adventure.

The best Lake District walks

  • Borger Dalr

  • The Tarn Hows Loop

  • The Alcock Tarn Walk

  • The Mickleden valley trail

Could this be the greatest backpacking route in the Lakes?

From YHA Langdale to YHA Helvellyn, check out Trail magazine's YHA inspired hostel-to-hostel hike through the Lake District's most mountainous region.

Read more

Pikes and fells

  • Scafell Pike

  • Helvellyn

  • Skiddaw

  • Castle Crag

Insider Tips

Top Attractions

  • Dove Cottage

  • Rydal Mount

  • Lake Windermere

  • Ullswater


  • By Train

    Given the wild, mountainous nature of the terrain, the Lake District is surprisingly well served by rail. Stations at Penrith and Oxenholme are on the London to Glasgow mainline, with a journey time of around three hours from London. Windermere, Kendal and Staveley are the stops on one of England's most spectacular branch lines.

  • By Car

    The main arterial M6 motorway passes close by the Lake District, west of Kendal, so initial travel access is easy. However, the National Parks authorities do underline the stress-free possibility of doing the Lakes by bus, train, boat, bike - and ultimately on foot - relieving traffic on steep single-track roads and busy peak-season car parks.

  • By Bus

    All of the major towns in the Lake District, as well as many more inaccessible villages and visitor attractions, are linked by reliable bus services. Stagecoachs Explorer day tickets (£10 adult; £7.50 under 16) can make great sense if you're travelling on a budget, enabling you to travel throughout Cumbria on most services.

  • By Bicycle

    Take your bike by train or car or take advantage of the many hire firms in the Lake District. The unspoiled high terrain offers fantastic challenges for adrenaline-fuelled off-road cyclists looking for a Tour de Lake challenge, while the lowland valleys, lakeside and river routes are far easier going and every bit as spectacular.


Average monthly sunshine and temperature charts reflect the expected summer highs for the Lake District - perhaps naturally, the most popular time to visit. However, average rainfall is not hugely lower during peak season than at other times of the year.

Lakeland scenery changes dramatically as the seasons spin by, and springtime and autumn breaks are now becoming popular especially if you're looking to wind down the year amid the spectacular reds and oranges of October and November.

Lake District adventures & activities

  • Mountain Biking

    Whether you're cycling country lanes in the lowlands, taking on established cross-country routes or cruising the purpose-built off-road trails at Whinlatter or Grizedale Forest, a day's mountain biking offers a completely different way to enjoy the Lake District whatever your cycling ability.

  • Watersports

    With countless square miles of fabulous open water fed by thundering river torrents, there's nowhere better than the Lake District to indulge your passion for watersports. Sailing, canoeing and windsurfing are available at most lakes, while kayaking and rafting are mostly river based. Check out our watersports page to find out which of our hostels are best equipped to accommodate watersports enthusiasts.

  • Climbing

    Walking in the Lake District is open to everybody with a stout pair of boots and a map, but higher-adrenaline activities such as mountain climbing, scrambling and canyoning in this natural wonderland are best taken on in expertly supervised groups. All levels of experience are welcome at the area's many specialist centres. Check out our climbing page to find out which YHA hostels accommodate keen climbers.

  • Swimming

    The Great North Swim takes place annually in June in Lake Windermere, with events running from half a mile to 10,000 metres. Its popularity has led to a rise in open water swimming in the lakes that allow it, but remember you'll need to seek instruction and safety support from a local provider.

Where to take your camera

  • Wasdale Head

  • Loughrigg Fell

  • Grasmere

  • Kendal Castle

  • The best budget accommodation in the Lake District

    Whatever Lake District itinerary you have for your adventure, we will have a hostel to match it. From remote shepherd's bothies to secluded lakeside retreats, you're sure to find unique Lake District accommodation for the best prices with YHA.

    Book a stay at one of our incredible Lake District hostels


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