Things to do in the Lake District in winter

Created Thursday, October 24, 2019, by Tina Alexander

Winter in the Lake District is magical, tranquil lakes and snowy mountain tops make the perfect winter retreat.

The Lake District is one of the most outstandingly beautiful places in the UK, even more so in the winter. Many people visit the Lake District for spring and summer breaks and miss the true magic of winter in the national park. A winter break in the lakes may have cooler temperatures but nothing beats looking out to the snowy mountain tops, wandering around the cutesy shops in the honeypot villages and sitting by the roaring fire of a country inn, feasting on a perfectly cooked steak.

If you leave the warmth and comfort of the open fire and explore the local area we’ve got our top winter attractions here:

Bowness Shops, Cafes and Lake Scenery

Bowness is a picturesque village bursting with little shops. We recommend looking in Gee’s for fashionable clothing before walking down the cobbled street to browse ‘Love the Lakes’ for local spirits, delicacies and Lakeland gifts. Right next door is Roly’s fudge, for all your sweet treats. Branded shops include Joules and FatFace, Pandora and a variety of walking clothing shops. Bowness is filled with eateries but our top places are Folk Café (tucked away behind Tesco) and Bryson’s. If you’re a true dessert fan then try ChoccoBar for waffles, crepes, cakes and more.

Staveley Mill Yard

Staveley is an undercover favourite with locals. Less busy and less expensive, this is a great stop for eats and drinks. Stop for lunch at the Antiques & Eclec Café, this quirky place looks like a shop from the front but believe us when we say they make a wonderful Dhal special, and the hot chocolate is delicious! Another popular place to pick up a snack is the ‘More? The Artisan Bakery’, in the mill yard, this bakery sees local workers queue up at lunch. All that eating might need washing down with a pint or two, the relocated Hawkshead Brewery sits in the mill yard and offers a host of local ales, ciders and larger.

Orrest Head - Windermere

If you’re feeling brave enough to brace the winter chill, this short walk offers stunning panoramic views of the lake. As Wainwright’s first fell, this short 20 minute walk to the summit doesn’t disappoint. Park in Windermere itself or in a layby just above the town. The track starts opposite the NatWest bank and has a large ‘Orrest Head’ sign.

Blackwell - Bowness

Blackwell is the home of arts and crafts in the Lakes. This large house was designed Baillie Scott and built in 1901 as a holiday home for Sir Edward Holt, a well-off Manchester brewer. The house is filled with extraordinary arts including a rare hessian wall-hanging, leaf-shaped door handles, ornate window catches, stained glass and carved wooden panelling.

Grill and Smokehouse Restaurant - Bowness

A winter getaway in the lakes wouldn't be complete without visiting a cosy country inn. The Wild Boar Inn is well known for its Grill and Smokehouse restaurant, with an on-site smokehouse they've created exquisite flavours in steaks, fish and ribs. Have dinner by candlelight and enjoy a romantic meal before snuggling by the fire with a drink from their extensive menu. Known for an extraordinary whisky list, the Inn has over 110 whiskies for you to choose from, or join a tasting - often for free if you're dining the same night! 

Armitt Library & Museum – Ambleside

The Armitt is a museum, library and gallery combined; it’s devoted to preserving and sharing the cultural heritage of the Lake District. Founded in 1912 to support exchanging ideas in the community, the Armitt has seen support from the likes of Beatrix Potter who gave some of her family’s books, her personal first editions of the ‘little’ books and a large number of beautiful botanical watercolours. The Armitt also hosts one of the country’s most important collections of artwork by Kurt Schwitters, who influenced development of twentieth-century art and lived in Ambleside during his final years.

Dove Cottage – Grasmere

This beautiful cottage was the home of the well-known poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy Wordsworth. They lived here from December 1799 to May 1808 and spent much of their time "plain living, but high thinking". The museum holds over 68,000 manuscripts, books, personal belongings and art relating to the Romantic era, the Wordsworth manuscripts are the centre piece.

Brantwood House - Coniston

This stunning historic house museum was once the home of John Ruskin, a famous writer, artist and social reformer. The house has extended gardens and overlooks the peaceful Coniston water. Guests can explore the house, gardens and visit the tea room.

Chocolate Factory - Hawkshead

The chocolate factory isn’t just for kids, they do a truffle making workshop with prosecco exclusively for adults. Get messy and creative whilst enjoying some bubbles.

The Lakeland Motor Museum - Newby Bridge

For any car enthusiast this is a real treat. The motor museum has over 30,000 exhibits from motorcars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles and motor accessories. The prize piece is Donald Campbell’s Bluebird replicas, dating 1935 – 1967, which are a tribute to his racing career.

Lakes Distillery – Cockermouth

An award-winning distillery which sits back from the beautiful Bassenthwaite Lake. Lakes Distillery offer several tours from whisky and tasting tours to meeting the alpacas. With an on-site bistro it’s easy to make an afternoon of it.


Winter Getaways

With an abundance of winter activities in the Lake District, book your getaway break at a traditional country inn. Winter in the lakes is full of experiences and often hotel deals. This makes it a perfect winter getaway.

The Wild Boar Inn sits in the heart of the Lake District national park, a world heritage site, with individually styled rooms and a cosy grill restaurant with its own on-site smokehouse providing unique and inspirational dishes by head chef Dylan Evans.