Stunning countryside, bustling market towns, pretty villages, and more opportunities for outdoor adventure than you can count: Cumbria is packed with things to see and do.
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Take your pick from two UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Lake District National Park and Hadrian’s Wall can both be found here, each worth a visit in their own right. Visit ancient forts and museums to learn about the history of the Roman frontier, or get outdoors and enjoy an adventure in the Lakeland countryside.
Cumbria’s coastline stretches from Morecambe Bay to the Scottish Borders and is the perfect place to discover if you’re looking for something slightly more secluded. Take a stroll along the beach, explore charming seaside towns or simply enjoy the serenity and thriving wildlife of the coast’s nature reserves and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Day or night, there’s a fantastic foodie scene to tempt your tastebuds, with Michelin-starred restaurants, cosy country pubs and locally made food and drink.
When it comes to places to stay, Cumbria has something to suit all tastes. Choose from luxury hotels, characterful bed & breakfasts and guest houses to a range of self-catering whether it’s a rustic cottage, cosy lodge or contemporary apartment – you can even stay in a castle! Get back to nature and enjoy a night under the stars with plenty of campsite options, or if you prefer an added touch of comfort, why not opt for a luxury yurt or even a treehouse?
Take a trip to the Lake District, Cumbria and uncover all the area has to offer, including hidden gems and nationally renowned sites of interest.
Find trains to Cumbria and the Lake District and plan your trip today!
Explore the English Lake District
Discover the English Lake District: a UNESCO World Heritage Site boasting some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country.
In the south lakes, the market town of Kendal is often called the Gateway to the Lake District and is a brilliant place to stay while exploring the area. In nearby Staveley, discover local cafes and walking routes – you can even sample a local ale at Hawkshead Brewery and Beer Hall located in Staveley Mill Yard.
Take the train to Windermere and alight in the heart of this stunning area. At 10.5 miles long, Windermere is England’s longest lake, and a cruise with Windermere Lake Cruises is a great way to experience it all. The towns of Windermere and Bowness are both worth a visit, with their charming local shops and eateries. A little further up the lake, you’ll find Ambleside: a traditional Lakeland village known for its outdoor clothing shops and fantastic hiking opportunities.
If there’s one thing the Lake District is known for, it’s outdoor adventure. And for good reason! There are watersports to enjoy on its many lakes and waters; Wainwrights to conquer, with something to suit all levels; and plenty of cycling trails, with bike hire available at a number of locations. England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, can be found here, as well as plenty of more accessible walks to enjoy.
Discover over 200 miles of stunning coastline
The stunning Cumbrian coast is just waiting to be explored, with rail links along the way - and breath-taking views as you travel!
Overlooking Morecambe Bay, the Edwardian seaside town of Grange-over-Sands is packed with charm. Take a stroll along the prom and visit independent shops and cafes. The town’s train station is something of an attraction in its own right: it was awarded the title of Small Station of the Year at the 2021 National Rail Awards.
Continue on and explore the Furness peninsula; discover Barrow-in-Furness’s rich industrial heritage, as well as fantastic shopping and wildlife. South Walney Nature Reserve is home to Cumbria’s only grey seal colony, while there are beaches like Roanhead and Sandscale Haws to visit too.
Travel up the scenic coastal route to Whitehaven which is packed with history: did you know it was used as a template for the expansion of New York in the mid-18th century? Learn more about its past at the family–friendly Beacon Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into the history of the local area.
The Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site extends down the Cumbrian coast, as far as Ravenglass - the only coastal village in the Lake District. 2022 marks the Wall’s 1900th anniversary, with events taking place throughout the year to mark the occasion.
Cumbria’s coast offers plenty to keep the family entertained. Take an unforgettable steam train journey with the Ravenglass & Eskdale railway (or La’al Ratty as it’s known locally) or watch birds of prey at Muncaster Castle. In Maryport, take a visit to the Senhouse Roman Museum and Lake District Coast Aquarium.
Cumbria on a plate: food and drink
Cumbria is a must-visit destination for food and drink, with local producers, restaurants, pubs and cafes across the region offering delicious dining and award-winning produce. There are eight Michelin-starred restaurants across the county, meaning Cumbria has the most Michelin star restaurants per county outside of London.
Four of these stars can be found in Cartmel: L’Enclume holds three, while Rogan & Co holds one. Cartmel is also the home of the ever-popular sticky toffee pudding, available at the local village shop.
And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cumbria’s culinary gems. From country pubs to afternoon teas set in the most stunning locations, there are some truly amazing places to eat and drink across this beautiful area.
On the coast, feast on freshly caught seafood (make sure to try Morecambe Bay shrimps, a local speciality). Uncover Cumbria’s spice trail from the harbour of Whitehaven where spices were traditionally imported into the region and used as ingredients in a number of the destination’s famous delicacies; the iconic Cumberland sausage, served in eateries across the region and renowned country wide or Grasmere Gingerbread®, made in Grasmere to a secret recipe.
If you’re a gin fan, this is the place to be, with distilleries creating their own blends of delicious spirits. In Ulverston, visit the award-winning Shed 1 Distillery with their dedicated Gin Visitor Centre offering tours and gin making workshops. Take the bus north with Stagecoach and sample a beer at Keswick Brewing Company’s Fox Tap Bar or take some home with you from the Brewery Shop. Close to the shores of Bassenthwaite and also accessible by bus, visit The Lakes Distillery and go behind the scenes of the state-of-the-art distillery for a tour and tasting followed by a delicious lunch at the on-site Bistro.
Discover Cumbria’s cultural landscape
The cultural landscape of Cumbria has inspired numerous poets, artists and writers. This was the home of some of England’s greats, and there are lots of places to discover their work across the county.
Beatrix Potter was heavily inspired by the Lake District when writing her now world famous illustrated stories, with the success of The Tale of Peter Rabbit (this year marking its 120th anniversary) allowing her to move to the area. To learn more about the author and illustrator, visit the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness; and Hill Top in Sawrey where she once lived.
Take the bus to Grasmere, Dove Cottage was where William Wordsworth lived for much of his life along with his sister Dorothy. Today at Wordsworth Grasmere, visitors can discover the life and work of the poet by visiting the Cottage, Garden-Orchard and Museum.
The market town of Kendal is known for its vibrant arts scene, with galleries showcasing local and national works; and an events calendar bursting with exhibitions and shows. The Brewery Arts Centre is a cultural hub with theatre, live music and cinema; while the annual Kendal Mountain Festival is a highlight in the events calendar.
Another town which knows how to put on a show is Ulverston, with its vibrant festival programme including the Dickensian Festival to kick off the Christmas period. It was also the birthplace of Stan Laurel, and a museum dedicated to Laurel & Hardy is well worth a visit.
Experience adventure in Cumbria
It’s no secret that Cumbria is the place to experience the great outdoors! After all, it’s home to the Lake District National Park, including England’s highest mountain; as well as numerous walking, cycling, climbing and watersports opportunities. From high ropes courses suitable for all ages with Treetop Trek & Treetop Nets at Brockhole on Windermere Visitor Centre, to horse riding along the coast with Cumbrian Heavy Horses, hiking through the Lakeland fells to cycling the Bay Cycle Way, there’s something for everyone.
If exploring on two wheels is your thing, there are plenty of places to hire a bike across Cumbria; while Northern trains have space for up to two bikes (more information is available here). The C2C, or “Sea to Sea”, cycle route begins in either Whitehaven or Workington and takes in the northern Lakes and North Pennines.
For watersports, take your pick from lakes or coast. Go Kitesurfing in Barrow, or head inland for kayaking, paddleboarding and more on Windermere.
When it comes to hiking, there’s plenty to choose from. As well as the Wainwrights across the Lake District, there’s also the England Coast Path, which passes through towns and villages like Silecroft, Allonby and Whitehaven.
Health and wellbeing in the Lake District
Relax and get away from it all with a rejuvenating trip to the Lake District, Cumbria. This is the place to switch off and reconnect, with landscapes to soothe the soul and restore the spirit. The early Romantics recognised the restorative qualities of this part of the country in the 18th century, which endure to this day.
The health benefits of getting out into nature are many and varied. A walk on the fells or a stroll by the sea is enough to boost your wellbeing, but there are plenty of organised activities to help the mind and body too. Whether it's a spot of forest bathing, a visit to a coastal nature reserve, or wild swimming in one of our lakes and waters, there’s plenty to discover.
You can even take part in meditation sessions and retreats at the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, located at Conishead Priory near Ulverston.
For a truly restorative experience, how about indulging in a spa break? There’s a wide choice of hotels, each offering a luxurious stay in Cumbria located in stunning surroundings that lift the soul.
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