A Day Out to The Lake District

speeding train

Written by our web team

8 min read | 10 May 2024

Escape to one of the UK’s most beautiful locations with a day trip to the Lake District.

With iconic lakes and historic towns, you can prepare for an unforgettable adventure. Whether you’re travelling solo, with loved ones, or with a group of friends, the Lake District offers a range of experiences and activities.

Let’s dive into all that awaits you on your Lake District day out.

Why visit the Lake District?

This region of northwest England is famous for its breathtaking natural beauty and wealth of activities. Here are a few reasons why the Lake District is the perfect destination for a day trip.

Picturesque scenery

The Lake District is a feast for the eyes. Explore its vast and scenic lakes, including Windermere, Coniston Water, Derwentwater, and Ullswater.

Gaze up at majestic mountains including England’s highest, Scafell Pike, along with Helvellyn and Skiddaw. Explore the countryside's rolling hills to find serene valleys and lush woodlands. Nearby, the Aira Force waterfall offers a stunning cascade to admire.

Outdoor activities

The Lake District is also perfect for outdoor enthusiasts. There are many hiking trails to try, appropriate for hikers of all skill levels.

Enjoy scenic strolls like Orrest Head for Windermere views or the circular walk around Tarn Hows. Take on Catbells with its panoramic summit or Loughrigg Fell from Ambleside for something more challenging.

If you want to take to the water, rent a kayak, canoe, or paddleboard on the larger lakes. Or for a more comfortable experience, embark on a scenic boat cruise along Windermere, Ullswater, or Derwentwater.

Charming towns and villages

Explore the Lake District’s many charming towns and villages. Ambleside bustles with shops and serves as a key hiking hub, while Grasmere offers its literary ties and renowned gingerbread.

Keswick boasts a distinct market town atmosphere and access to Derwentwater. Picturesque Hawskhead is a must-visit for those who enjoy historic charm.

Cultural connection

The Lake District has inspired writers and artists for centuries. Wordsworth fans will want to visit Grasmere, home to his Dove Cottage and final resting place. Just a short drive south and you’ll find his other home in Rydal, the Rydal Mount and Gardens.

For those who love the works of Beatrix Potter, you can explore her beloved Hill Top farmhouse near Hawkshead. At Hawkshead, there is also the Beatrix Potter Gallery, while Windermere hosts The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction.

Things to do on a day out to The Lake District

A couple holding hands as they walk through the Lake District countryside

The Lake District offers a wealth of things to do for visitors of all kinds. Whether seeking adventures alone, a romantic retreat, or group fun, you’ll find ideal ways to enjoy this beautiful region.

For solo travellers

Find joy in the solitude with a moderate hike like Loughrigg Fell or Helm Crag. As you ascend through these peaceful landscapes, you’ll be able to enjoy the striking views from their summits.

The Lake District is also a great place for photography. There are many iconic viewpoints such as Surprise View and Ashness Bridge for you to capture that perfect frame. But as long as you have your camera, you’re sure to find your hidden gems as you explore the area.

If you’re a history buff, there are many museums to visit. The Wordsworth Museum is Grasmere offers an in-depth look at the renowned wordsmith’s life and work. For a fascinating exploration of the Lake District’s history and culture, there’s the Ruskin Museum in Coniston.

For couples

Couples can start their visit to the Lake District with ultimate relaxation at a luxurious spa. Book a visit to The Falls Spa at Lodore Falls Hotel and unwind with a couples’ massage that offers views over the peaceful Derwentwater.

Or create a romantic memory with a picturesque picnic. Equip yourself with a hamper packed with local delicacies and find a special spot like Friars Crag to enjoy your lunch and each other’s company.

If you’d rather see more of the Lakes together, consider hiring out a couple of electric bikes. Ulverston, Keswick, Windermere, and many other towns have local e-bikes to hire, so you can easily find a biking base for your shared trip.

For friends and groups

For groups travelling together, embark on an exciting water adventure during your Lake District visit. Hire canoes or kayaks for one of the most exhilarating ways to explore the lakes.

Or try the exciting experience of ghyll scrambling, also known as gorge walking. This demanding activity involves walking upstream, scaling waterfalls, and jumping into water pools.

You can also channel your bravery into doing a high ropes course at Grizedale or Whinlatter Forests. These daredevil courses are sure to bring excitement, laughter, and a touch of trepidation to your trip.

For a healthy bit of competition, go for a round of crazy golf. With places like Brockhole on Windermere, you can see who has the best putt while taking in the captivating view.

Places to visit on a day out to The Lake District

Two sheep outside of Grasmere in the Lake District

The Lake District's towns and villages each offer a unique experience. Whether you like bustling old towns or scenic spots by the lake, there’s a perfect place for every traveller.

For solo travellers

Grasmere is a picturesque village that captures the region’s literary charm. History buffs will enjoy Wordsworth's Dove Cottage and, if you have a sweet tooth, don't miss the famous Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

You can also enjoy the slower pace, exploring unique shops and the surrounding countryside.

Keswick is another great choice for those visiting the Lake District by themselves. This lively market town is full of character, thanks to its proximity to Derwentwater.

Outdoor lovers will be in their element, with the many independent gear shops for equipping their adventures. Keswick is also a great base for accessible hikes and water activities.

For couples

Ambleside is our first recommendation for couples on a day visit to the Lake District. You will find a lively atmosphere, a variety of shops, cafés and restaurants. There is even easy access to the water activities of nearby Windermere.

Ambleside also offers a variety of activities. From peaceful cruises to romantic hikes, whatever you do will be against a captivating backdrop.

Coniston is another ideal destination for couples. It is a charming market town centred around the beautiful Coniston Water.

It’s perfect for pairs seeking a quieter, idyllic experience in the romantic setting of the lake. Here you can enjoy the peaceful views or take a boat across the water.

For friends and groups

Bowness-on-Windermere is a top destination for a group of friends. It offers arcades, mini-golf courses, and convenient boat connections to other local towns. Here, you can enjoy endless entertainment possibilities.

For another unique experience, take your group to Ullswater. Home to the iconic Ullswater Steamer boats and the Aira Force waterfall, it promises fun for more active friend groups.

Challenge yourselves on hikes like Helvellyn and enjoy the striking local scenery together.

Activities for a family day out in the Lake District

A young family holding hands as they cross a river during a hike in the Lake District

Visiting the Lake District with kids promises fun for the whole family. With stunning scenery, gentle walks, boat adventures, and more, it will create lasting memories on a day out with everyone.

Fun for all ages

Step into the magical world of Peter Rabbit at The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere. It brings beloved stories to life with interactive exhibits, charming gardens, and exciting shows.

The kids can also run wild in the adventure playground at Brockhole on Windermere. Choose from relaxing alongside the idyllic scenery or taking part together in archery, mini-golf, axe throwing, and more.

Hands-on adventures

Little adventurers are sure to have a great time at the Go Ape treetop course in Whinlatter Forest Park. Alongside challenging forest trails for older kids and imaginative play areas for little ones, there’s fun for everyone.

Or get up close with fascinating residents at the South Lakes Safari Zoo or the Lake District Wildlife Park. You will spark an interest in wildlife for your children with these engaging and educational experiences.

Outdoor exploration

Explore the ruins of a grand castle at Lowther Castle and Gardens. With plenty of open space, kids will be free to run around and explore.

You can also visit some of the many National Trust properties across The Lake District. Allan Bank, Wray Castle, and Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top are all situated here. There's plenty to do here, especially on non-school days, with many family-focused activities and trails.

Getting to and from The Lake District by train

A train pulling into a platform

The Lake District is easily accessible by train, making day trips from major UK cities a breeze.

The best time of year to visit the Lake District is either in spring or autumn. During this time, the weather should be plenty pleasant for any outdoor activities, but crowds should be fewer.

Given its relatively central location in the UK, a train journey rarely takes longer than three hours:

Travel to The Lake District with Avanti

From bustling Windermere to historic Grasmere, the Lake District promises unforgettable moments. Travelling by train is the easiest way to explore its scenic hikes, family adventures, and romantic spots.

To make the most of your journey and budget, use our Priority Ticket Alerts to secure an Advance Ticket. This can save you up to 70% off your journey.

You can enjoy even greater savings by investing in a Railcard. Taking an additional 33% of any rail fare, it will pay itself off in no time.

For group and family travellers, explore our Group and Family Tickets for a discounted journey. Paired with children under five travelling free, there are fantastic savings to be had.

Buy train tickets for your next journey

Buying through our website or app saves you money because we never charge booking fees.

To take a look at more ways to save including using a Railcard, booking in advance, and booking as a group, visit our ways to save page.

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