For the energetic there are the Lake District fells, footpaths and lakes to explore with walks available for all ages and abilities.
If you prefer a more leisurely day out why not visit the many museums and historic houses such as Levens Hall near Kendal and Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage in Grasmere. If you want to just sit back and enjoy the scenery, you could take a leisurely cruise on Coniston Water or Windermere Lake and just watch the world go by.
South Lakes Wild Animal Park
There are tigers in South Lakeland, at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park. There are rare breeds at Trotters and Friends, at Bassenthwaite. At the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, they will even let you tickle a snake, or cuddle a tarantula.
Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
If stepping back in time to re-live boyhood memories of days gone by is your idea of bliss, then a steam train ride is probably right up your street. You’ll be on the right track in South Lakeland, at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, which boasts the oldest preserved steam loco in the world still able to pull a train.
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
At Ravenglass there is the world’s smallest regular passenger railway. The Ravenglass and Eskdale railway serves the communities of the Eskdale Valley, and runs on 15 in gauge track. The seven mile journey from the coast to the foot of England’s highest mountains takes about 35 minutes.
The Romans occupied the Lake District for 350 years, and left many landmarks for modern day tourists to visit, including one of the world’s most famous historical sites: Hadrian’s Wall. The wall started close to Carlisle, and it’s remains at Birdoswald fort are easily accessible from the Lake District
Roman fort at Galava
Closer to Hawkshead, the Roman fort at Galava, (Ambleside), is still visible today, as are traces of the Roman road that led from Ambleside to Ravenglass. Hardknott fort is situated at the top of Hardknott pass, the old road from Ambleside to Ravenglass, and at Ravenglass itself are the very well preserved remains of a Roman bath house.
Tarn Hows & Grizedale Forest
Walk or cycle to some of Lakelands top attractions, whether it be the famous local beauty spot of Tarn Hows or the wide open spaces of Grizedale Forest, home to the famous ‘sculpture trail’ with an impressive 86 exhibits. With over 6000 acres to explore and over 50 miles of tracks for walkers, mountain bikers and natural history enthusiasts, the area is an ideal location in which to unwind and relax.
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Woodland industries were also prominent, and 5 miles from Hawkshead is Stott Park Bobbin Mill, which was fully operational until the 1960’s, and is now a living museum.
Muncaster Mill, near Ravenglass, can be accessed by taking a short ride on the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. Here, flour is made the traditional way, and you can buy a bag that you have milled yourself.
The Lakeland of 200 years ago was a very different place to that which we know today. Tourism, the regions major industry, did not really exist in an economically viable form, and the inhabitants of the region worked the land and the forests in order to make ends meet. Mining was a major industry, with towns such as Keswick and Coniston being major mining centres. The Fells around Coniston are littered with old mine shafts, remnants of the days when Copper ore was mined from these hills in vast quantities. At Threlkeld, just outside Keswick, is a mining museum that provides a unique insight into this long gone industry.
There are many large houses in Lakeland, each with it’s own family history. Two of the most interesting are Holker Hall, home of the Cavendish family. As well as the house, you can also visit the gardens, and the hall includes the world famous Lakeland Motor Museum. Muncaster Castle, close to Ravenglass, is reputed to be England’s most haunted castle. It is open to the public daily, as are the adjoining garden centre, and Owl Centre, which is worth the admission fee in it’s own right.