Ten things to do in and around the Lake District when it’s raining.
Let’s face it folks, up here in the North West and especially in the Lake District, we get more than our fair share of rain. For me, although the rain comes often, it doesn’t diminish the beauty of the views we have. In fact, one of my favourite views of Ullswater is when I’ve driven over the Kirkstone Pass through menacing storm clouds and the black glassy surface of the lake appears other worldly on the right of the road. As someone once said, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! Dress for the weather and don’t let it hold you back, but if you should require some wet weather fun in the Lake District, here are some ideas.
1) Townend, Troutbeck.
Head indoors to this modest, whitewashed, National Trust farmhouse, but the history contained within its walls is anything but modest. Generations of yeoman farmers from the same family lived here and their lives were well documented. The ‘fitted’ kitchen and old cookbooks are not to be missed. A charming morning or afternoon indoors can be spent here and if the weather clears up, there are many beautiful walks in and around Troutbeck as well. We recommend both pubs at Troutbeck too!
2) Beatrix Potter’s Hilltop, Near Sawrey
You don’t need to have children to enjoy the Beatrix Potter memorabilia in this atmospheric little farmhouse. The walled garden is reputed to have been the model for Mr McGregor’s garden much beloved by hungry rabbits!
3) Windermere Jetty Museum, Rayrigg Road, Bowness-on-Windermere.
New for 2019, this fascinating museum of ‘steam & stories’ is the perfect place to wile away a few hours. And if there’s a break in the weather, or you’ve got a waterproof jacket, the chance of a trip out onto Lake Windermere on the lovingly restored ‘Osprey’. Perfect thing to do on rainy day!
A scenic drive over the Kirkstone Pass, stopping for lunch at the pub at the top, to Penrith is a good way to spend a rainy day. Penrith is a traditional Lakeland market town with plenty to entertain. We enjoy visiting the many antique shops as well as browsing the eclectic wares at Brunswick Yard, an old reclamation yard which is a funky mix of old and new with antiques and collectables as well as Blackhand Wine, a knowledgeable and quirky independent wine merchant, designer Totty Lowther’s beautifully curated shop in a shipping container and a great little cafe & deli. On the way back stop off for a pint and say hello to our friends Claire & Roy at The Kirkstone Inn. Perched high up on the Pass, it’s the highest inhabited building in Cumbria.
5) Sizergh Castle, Sizergh, Kendal.
Another National Trust property, although this one is still lived in by the Strickland family. If it’s not raining you can enjoy the gardens too. Despite that, there is plenty to occupy you inside on a wet day in Kendal. Much of the interior is Elizabethan and there are huge fireplaces, wood panelling and of course some spooky stories too! If the weather clears, it’s a short walk to the pub, the Strickland Arms, at the castle gates for refreshments.
6) Brewery Arts Centre, 122a Highgate, Kendal.
There’s something so cosy about going to the cinema for a matinee performance on a rainy afternoon, you can even get a beer at the pub on site. The Brewery Arts Centre slap bang in the centre of Kendal has a selection of the latest films, plentiful popcorn and snacks and a visitor car park.
7) Haverthwaite Steam Railway, A590 near to Newby Bridge.
Be transported in a cloud of nostalgic steam, to the golden age of the railways and along to Lakeside, the southernmost tip of Lake Windermere. Once there, enjoy the Lakes Aquarium or get a steamer to Bowness. Beautiful pubs nearby too!
8 ) Windermere Pub Crawl
Less of a crawl (terribly uncivilised) and more of a stroll around the village whilst partaking of a few libations in our fantastic bars and pubs. Start at Cafe Italia and make your way up the hill finishing of course with pizza and cocktails at The Smith!
9) Traditional Lakeland Afternoon Tea.
Who cares if it’s raining outside- pick a table with a view at the myriad exceptional hotels in Windermere and indulge in scones, clotted cream, finger sandwiches, tea, and maybe even a glass of fizz! Windermere has a plethora of beautiful, characterful country house hotels perfect for afternoon tea. From Cragwood with its private jetty on Windermere itself and newly refurbished Lowood Bay overlooking the lake, to the world famous Holbeck Ghyll, Lindeth Howe, The Gilpin, & The Samling. Windermere has no shortage of views and no shortage of good food!
10) Abbott Hall Gallery & Museum, Kendal.
The finest building in Kendal, this Georgian grande-dame houses a collection of national, as well as international importance. The annual summer collection always has a local flavour, with 2019’s exhibition focusing on Ruskin & Turner. With a major redevelopment planned over the next few years, there is much more to look forward to. A great way to spend a rainy day in magnificent surroundings whilst soaking up the culture.
But let’s face it without the rain we wouldn’t have the lakes!