things to do in the Lake District this Easter
Boasting both the highest mountain in England and the deepest body of water, the Lake District is an area of extremes. Here, vibrant towns nestle amongst rugged landscapes while ancient history sits harmoniously alongside modern life. There’s a lot to experience in the Lake District and with the long Easter bank holiday just a few weeks away, now seems like a good time to go exploring.
To help you make the most of your time in the Lakes, here’s our round-up of some of the best places to go:
Ravenglass and Eskdale Steam Railway
What better way to see England’s highest mountains than from the seat of a heritage steam train? As one of the longest and oldest narrow gauge railways in the country, the train transports passengers from Ravenglass, across the estuary and through the hills to Dalegarth for Boot Station.
This Easter, between the 8th and 23rd of April, the railway’s #teddyfest will be in full swing. Children with a teddy bear can go free (provided that they are accompanied by a paying adult). Follow the Teddy Trail clues placed around the railway for the chance to win some great prizes too.
Lowther Castle and Gardens
The dramatic and imposing ruins of Lowther Castle are set in 130 acres of breath-taking gardens and woodlands. Once wildly overgrown and neglected, the grounds have been the subject of a large scale renovation since 2011. Beautifully designed gardens have reconnected Lowther with both the surrounding landscape and its 800 year-old history. The ruins have also been undergoing extensive restoration work to make them stable and visitors are now able to access a large part of them.
Between the 8th and 23rd, you can sneakily educate your children with a Giant Dragon Egg Hunt that’s taking place within the grounds. With lots of prizes to be won, and a growing egg sculpture in the grounds to admire, it’s the perfect Easter treat.
The Lakes Distillery
Take a tour of the first, and only, distillery in the Lake District (and the largest whisky distillery in England). See how the master distillers create their artisan vodka, gin and whisky with a fascinating tour behind the scenes. Naturally, the tour includes a few samples – but if you’d like to try a few more there’s also a shop and restaurant on site.
While Dove Cottage is William Wordsworth’s most famous home in the Lake District, Rydal Mount is where he spent the most time. The house, still owned by the Wordsworth family, contains an interesting selection of prized possessions and portraits. But the real charm is the 5-acre garden which was landscaped by Wordsworth himself and remains as he designed it to this day.
Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread
This one is for foodies and history lovers alike. Grasmere Gingerbread is a Lake District institution. It was invented in 1854 by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson who sold it from a table outside her front door in the village of Grasmere. To this day, people flock from all over the world to Sarah’s old home, now The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop for a taste of her spicy-sweet concoction. You can also buy a number of other Lake District treats at the shop, including Cartmel Village Store Sticky Toffee Sauce and Kendal Mint Cake.
Taste Cumbria at Kirkby Lonsdale
Over Easter weekend, Kirkby Lonsdale will play host to the finest food and drink the country has to offer. With a bustling producers’ market and expert demonstrations in Lunesdale Hall, a beer festival, and lots of entertainment for children, it’s a foodie day out for all the family.
You’ll also get the chance to try the Taste Cumbria’s Easter Brew. Created by the Kirkby Lonsdale Brewery, it is the first ever Taste Cumbria beer and they’ve even given it an Easter flavour with locally made chocolate.
Beatrix Potter Gallery, and The World of Beatrix Potter
Located in the pretty village of Hawkshead, in a 17th century building that was once the office of her husband William Heelis, the Beatrix Potter gallery is a must-visit for fans of Peter Rabbit and Friends. The gallery houses an annually changing exhibition of Potter’s original illustrations which this year celebrates her love of nature. Aside from being a beloved illustrator, Beatrix was a prize-winning breeder of Herdwick Sheep, and the first elected female president of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders’ Association, so needless to say we’re big fans at herdy®sleep.
Truly dedicated Peter Rabbit fans should also check out Beatrix Potter’s home at Hill Top, and the World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness on Windermere, where families can see the author’s best loved characters brought to life. If like, Beatrix Potter, you’re a big fan of herdy sheep, then it’s not far from there to the Bowness Herdy shop. There are three herdy shops in the Lakes, all offering a wide range of unique herdy gifts and souvenirs.
This is no ordinary day out at the zoo. Daniel and Dee Ashman have used their extensive experience and knowledge to create a wildlife experience like no other. Get up close and personal with wolves, foxes, hawks and eagles and learn all about these fascinating creatures. It’s as interactive an experience as any animal lover could wish for, with falconry tuition and ‘wolf walks’ available.
Fancy a day on the water? Lake Windermere is the largest natural lake in England and as such it is an ideal spot for water sports and boating enthusiasts. There are a number of activity centres located on the lake with all abilities and tastes catered for. For those who prefer to simply enjoy the scenery, you can do so from Lakeside Pier where one can also catch a steam train or ferry to the surrounding areas. Alternatively, the wonderful Aquarium of the Lakes is a great family day out. It is home to more than 30 informative displays exploring the fascinating Windermere wildlife.