Fun things to do in Cumbria

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Cumbria

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    Hethersgill Vintage Show

    by into-thin-air Written May 2, 2004

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    A Great Day out for the whole family !! Hethersgill Vintage Show is held on the Sunday before the first May Bank Holiday, so this year (2204) it was on the 2nd May -- From Traction Engines to Tractors, Stationary Engines to Sedan Cars and Motorcycles to Milking machines, Well over 1,000 Exhibits + Auto-jumble, Club Stands and Trade Stands -- A Cracking Day Out !!!!!
    The Show is held at Carlisle Airport, about 6 miles east of the city near to Crosby-upon-Eden.

    Mine's the White MG !!!
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    A Day to Remember !!!!

    by into-thin-air Written Nov 14, 2003

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    On the eleventh hour of the Sunday closest to the eleventh day of the eleventh month there is an a service of remembrance on the top of Great Gable at the Head of the Wasdale valley, This is not a religious service But a Service open to ALL people to remember the dead from ALL wars, so regardless of Creed, Colour or Denomination you will defiantly be welcome to attend and give thanks to those that made the ultimate sacrifice and enabled us ALL to have the freedom of movement that we take as our right today,
    This service was originally for the members of " The Fell and Rock Club " who purchased the Summit if Great Gable along with the summits of the surrounding fells as a fitting tribute to those of there members who died in " The Great War " But when the National Trust was formed The Fell and Rock club handed over all these peeks to be kept in perpetuity so that ALL were free to attend the service and indeed Roam these peeks at our leisure !!
    Great Gable is just under 3000 feet high and it is a fair walk to the summit, there are several routes to the top and you can set off from either Wasdale Head, Borrowdale or the top of Honister Pass near Keswick to name a few. It really is a Multi-National day and this year whilst walking up I talked to people that had travelled hundreds of miles to take part in the service. This year I also took a Radio Recorder up and interviewed various people on their way up to the summit for Radio Cumbria and this went out on Remembrance Day so that the people who couldn't get to the top had an idea of what it was all about !!!!
    I am Proud to take a Wreath up to the top and lay it on behalf of the members of the Gosforth and district of the Royal British Legion -- This is MY act of Remembrance
    If you are ever visiting the Lake District in November and would like to attend this service then Please don't hesitate to get in touch with me and I will gladly advice you of the routes to the summit and if you would like to walk up with me then I will be pleased to act as your guide !!!!

    The Summit of Great Gable for the Service
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    The Maize Maze

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    This was a new attraction for this year, a field of maize turned into a tourist maze. It's actually only part of the huge field., thank goodness otherwise we could have been in there for ever!!!
    You are given a very short brief on things not to do and given a flag to stick up above the maize, in emergencies.

    There are various posts with quiz boards along the way. The idea is the children do one quiz and adults the other. We didn't find all the clues and weren't inclined to look any longer, having been going round in circles for an hour or more and in the drizzle.

    You can buy a map to help you find your way out, for £1, which is refundable if you don't open it. There are three manned bridges where you can buy expensive drinks and the map if you haven't already obtained it, and also get a view of the maze from to try and get your bearings. This didn't help us a great deal but after much family argueing we did eventually get out with our map unopened. Yes, it's a good place for rows, everyone thinks they know the way but no-one does!!!

    There are some game type mazes and giant games to try, once you've "done" the maize, pedal tractors and go-carts and other entertainment for small children. Also in a field are some alpaccas which reminded me of giant poodles!!!

    The maize is created by Adrian Fisher who seems to be an old hand at this sort of thing :www.maizemazes.com

    We thought the admission charge was steep (check web site)and goods they were selling were a definite rip off.

    Lakeland Maze Deep in the maize maze Lost..... Finding our bearings in the maze Poodle or Alpacca?
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    Beaches

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Cumbria has miles of coastline, mainly sandy. Most of it is huge swathes of sand and pebbles with rock pools at low tide. Views extend to the Isle of Man, the Solway Firth and Scotland and on a go9od day, to Ireland.
    Due to the nature of the county, we also have coastal estuaries with mud flats and sinking sand. These are a haven for birds and popular with ornothologists .The tides sweep into the estuaries, sometimes with an actual bore and they can be dangerous places if you are not keeping an eye open for the tide. This often results in people being stranded and the coastal rescue services put into action.
    The Coast to Coast Walk begins in northern Cumbria, at the pretty beach of St. Bees.There are lovely views from St. Bee's Head.
    In summer the beaches attract families, out for picnics and general seaside fun. Even windsurfing is popular on wild days, we've seen the enthusiasts in the middle of winter togging themselves up as the rain lashes down and the wind howls around. Not for me, thankyou.
    Fishing is big on certain stretches of coast. I must admit we've never caught anything worthwhile from the beach but people do. Morecambe Bay is renowned for it's flukes, a flat fish caught in nets out on the sands and sold locally.
    Boating is becoming more popular now Windermere has a speed limit. People need somewhere to use their boats and the coast seems like a reasonable alternative.

    Cumbria's coast Cumbria's coast Estuary walking One of Cumbria's estuaries Views to the lakeland mountains
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    Muncaster Castle - something for everyone!

    by VickiJ Written Apr 20, 2006

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    This is a great thing to do for adults and children a like. It is great for a day out but also has rooms for people to stay - those who stay here say it is haunted by ghosts, including the legendary Tom Fool. Muncaster Castle is set in vast gardens which have designated paths and walks such as the Wild Walk or the Sino-Himalayan Trail (Make sure to wear suitable footwear!)
    Muncaster Castle also hosts the World Owl Center where you will find one of the largest collections of these types of birds!! There are also buzzard, red kites and kestrels that do daily flying displays on one of the lawns!!
    There is also a MeadowMole Maze, which is great for children - Imagine being a meadowvole - just two and a half inches tall - living in meadowland, where dangers lurk at every turn. The MeadowVole Maze is the secret world of wildlife which makes for a great experience for children. Here, where the grass is seven feet tall, you'll find what life is like for these tiny creatures. This is not a true maze where you can get lost as it is designed for the young at heart, it is indoors with areas of darkness so some children (under 5) may find frightening, so adults will have to join in the fun too!!!

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    • School Holidays

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    Heron Corn Mill and Paper Museum

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Although just off the busy A6, the mill is situated in a very peaceful, pretty landscape. beside the river Bela close to the Lancashire border.
    It is a working water-driven corn mill housed in a restored 18th c. building.The machinery is driven by a 14feet diameter high breast shot waterwheel (or so it says!) The driving water is taken from water above a waterfall , nearby. Here, in a deep cleft in the bank, is also a fish ladder for the spawning salmon swimming upstream.
    There is an exhibition inside showing 900 years of milling.

    In another building there is the Museum of Papermaking (the present day paper factory is just across the river) depicting the history of papermaking. It was founded in 1988 to commemorate 500 years of papermaking in England. If you are lucky you can watch demonstrations of handmaking paper.
    We found the cornmill the more interesting, the paper museum being more photos and drawings. The man who showed us round the mill was a real enthusiast and had helped in the campaign to restore and re-open it.
    You can walk across a footbridge here and look for fish, yes, there were some. The waterfall was quite impressive (I'm a sucker for them) and wild flowers were growing everywhere.
    There is car parking and the odd picnic table. From here you can also follow the footpath over the hill and down to Dallam Park where you should see deer grazing.

    I seem to remember admission to the mill was fairly cheap.

    Heron Corn Mill The power behind the waterwheel Heron millstones Quieter side of the river Bela Today's paper mill and driving force
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    Wasdale Head Shepherds' Meet & Show

    by into-thin-air Updated Sep 12, 2012

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    In My oppinion one of the BEST days out in West Cumbria is "The Wasdale Head Shepherds' Meet and Show", I have to much information on this event to put it all into one tip so I have decided to add it as a travelogue on My Cumbria Page -- Please check it out as this really Is a Fantastic Day Out with something for Everybody !!!!
    It is always held on the second Saturday in October -- I hope to see you there !!

    Herdwick Sheep on Show - Great Gable in Background Fordson Rowcrop tractor winner of vintage class 06 Shepherds Sticks on Show Shepherds Dog on Show Best Motorcycle on Show 06
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    Lakeland Wildlife Oasis

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    A great place for families where you can see some of the world's rarest creatures.There's an indoor tropical hall and butterfly house with hands on activities, including handling such things as snakes and chameleons, as well as watching the leaf-cutter ants at work (our favourite!) . Birds and butterflies and even bats, are free to fly around.

    Outside you can walk around an enclosed area, home to a variety of animals including the endeering meerkat.

    There's a picnic area and also a cafe and gift shop.

    Open every day except 25th and 26th December.
    Ample parking.

    Adults: £6
    Children: £4

    Chameleons Chameleon Brave boy..... Even braver.... So sweet.....
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    • Zoo

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    South Lakes Wild Animal Park

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    One of Cumbria's premier attractions and also one of Europe's top conservation parks.
    You don't feel like the animals are caged, here. They have enormous pens with a huge outdoor area.
    You can wander amongst kangaroos, emus and lemurs but don't attempt to picnic with them as they'll have your food.
    Rhinos, giraffes and baboons mingle happily together. You can hand feed the lemurs at feeding time and also watch the amazing feats of the Amur and Sumatran tigers as they leap up 6 metre poles to "catch" their food.

    Conservation talks and feeding times are a daily feature throughout the main tourist season as the plights of various animals are explained.
    It's a wonderful family day out and I certainly learnt a lot from the talks.

    There's a playground, train rides, cafe, picnic areas and gift shop.

    It is quite pricey, admission wise but I feel it's worth it. It's an unforgettable experience.

    Cheeky lemur Majestic tiger Fishy breath What's your name....?? Endangered spectacle bears
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    Levens Hall

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Photography is not allowed in the house so unfortunately the interior will remain a secret unless, of course, you make a visit yourselves!!

    The house began life as a pele tower until the Bellingham family acquired it in the 1590's when it was gradually transformed into the beautiful building of today. It really is magnificently decorated with some of the walls being covered in a leather wallpaper.The leather came from Spain and was treated and decorated, then pieced together and hung. It is probably one of the best examples of this sort of wall covering in Europe.What a lot of time and effort this must have been but as we were informed, it lasted so well and the walls never had to be re-decorated!!Other walls have incrediblely intricate carved oak panels, again, so much effort has been put in. Lok up at the ceilings and you'll notice the Italian plasterwork. Everything was so beautiful, glimmering chandeliiers, beautiful stained glass windows with views to die for and traditional Jacobean furniture is found throughout the house.

    As the house is lived in, there are family photos dotted about and it was obvious that the small library room was lived in. This was a lovely room, with great light pouring in from the windows.

    The earliest English patchwork is also on display upstairs in the hall, dating from 1694. It is hard to grasp that what you are looking at is so old.

    In each room information is provided and stewards are placed discreetly about the house, enabling you to gain as much or as little information as you feel inclined to take in.

    Levens Hall even claims to have it's own ghosts, a black dog and a lady in pink.

    The Hall is open April to October from 12 noon but not Fridays or Saturdays. There is ample free parking, a picnic area, cafe and gift shop and plants can be purchased. Meat raised on the estate is for sale as well as other locally produced items. Morocco Ale, a beer first brewed in the Hall's very own brewery from an 18thc. recipe can be purchased, although today it is brewed at Daleside Brewery.

    Stunning Levens Hall Levens Hall Note the chimneys.... Levens Hall  and classic car rally Classic cars at Levens Hall
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    Sizergh Castle

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    On a beautiful late September day, we decided to visit Sizergh Castle, somewhere we had been meaning to visit for years, it being not far away from us. We ended up having a great day out.

    Now in the capable hands of the National Trust, Sizergh Castle has been the home to the Strickland family for over 750 years, where they still reside today.

    The castle began life as a Pele Tower in the 14thc., it's sixty foot height and nine foot thick walls built to defend the occupants from the invading Scots. The tower was added to in various stages, with the great Hall being built in 1450 and a mansion built around the tower,adding to the luxury.

    Interior walls were decorated with intricately carved oak panels and within the original part of the house are five spectacularly carved overmantels, the best examples of such in this country.Different rooms have different types of wall panelling, the oldest being the linenfold oak panelling, so called because of it's "folded" linen look. In the Inlaid rooom, the best preserved room on display to the public, is the original state bed complete with it's carvings and covers. The ornate plaster ceiling is a work of art,if you look up there are various animals and figures depicted as well as numerous coats of arms. Unrecognised craftsmen created the ceiling, taking years to complete it.

    The walls in here are incredible panelling inlaid with poplar and bog oak. The panelling and bed were sold to the Victoria and Albert museum but have been re-instated in the castle, with the panelling restored to it's former glory. Apparently it took craftsmen years to make this panelling, now it can be re-produced by machine in a matter of hours. A section of machine made panelling is on display in the entrance hall.

    Beautiful English and French furniture, along with some impressive portraits, are found throughout the castle which is said to be the best fortified house in the whole of Cumbria. And justly so, I say. Magnificent.

    Although the castle is extensive, major renovation work is taking place to the whole of one side. It makes you wonder what the place will be like when it is all open to the public.

    Parking, toilets, gift shop, cafe, plant sales.

    Non giftaid admission: £6.40 per adult for garden and house.

    Be aware the castle and gardens are closed on Fridays and Saturdays, allowing the family a couple of days privacy.

    No photography allowed inside the castle.

    For tips on Sizergh's beautiful garden, read next tip.

    Pele Tower, Sizergh Castle Part of Sizergh vastle Sizergh Castle From the lake Original pele tower and entrance at Sizergh Castle
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    • Castles and Palaces
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    Wast Water the Deepest Lake!

    by VickiJ Written Apr 20, 2006

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    For those of you who like scenery and fresh air, a visit to Wastwater is a must!
    Wastwater is situated in Wasdale Valley, it is 3 miles long, half a mile wide and 260 feet deep, which makes it the deepest of all the lakes.

    Wastwater is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of all the lakes. It is surrounded by, Red Pike, Kirk Fell, Great Gable and Scafell Pike - Scafell Pike being the highest mountain in England!

    In the summer you find plenty of people canoing, diving and having picnics along the waters edge.

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    Levens Hall World Famous Gardens

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Levens Hall Gardens are amazing, a definite must see in this area.

    The gardens were created from 1694 onwards, by a French gardener, Guillame Beaumont who was installed by Colonel James Grahame when he took the house over.The world famous topiary is the garden's main feature and took years to complete. It is reputedly some of the oldest topiary in the world! Hedges have been lovingly nurtured into wierd and wonderful creations and you cannot help but be impressed by them.Make sure you have your camera at the ready!!

    There is a wilderness garden,(not as we think of today but a formal garden with paths through shrubbery) where the intriguing spiral sculpture by Harry Bagot (a member of the resident family) sits upon a plinth and definitely adds to the garden.At the top of this garden is a nice little children's play area.

    We loved walking through the various "tunnels" in the shrubs, not sure where we would find ourselves.Through one of these is the Fountain garden, added in 1994 to celebrate 300 years of the gardens existence.

    One of the features we loved was that vegetables were intermittently planted amongst flowers and shrubs. Gourds, pumpkins and courgettes blended in with nasturtiums, purple climbing beans, curly kale and rhubarb.There is also an orchard and nuttery, where apples lay rotting where they had fallen. I was rather sorry to see many of the vegetables and fruit left to rot, I would have thought garden produce could have been sold in the shop instead of silly, trivial unrelated to the garden, items in the gift shop!! I would have bought some, anyway!!

    Tucked into a distant corner is a triangular little building which was the smoke house. Nothing to do with smoking food, but a place where those who wished to light up were banished! How things have come full circle!!

    We were really impressed with both the hall and gardens, as you can see, I took quite a lot of photos!!

    Topiary garden, Levens Hall Spectacular gardens at Levens Hall Vegetables in Levens Hall garden Fantastic..... Sculpture, Levens Hall gardens
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    Lanercost Priory

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Enroute to Northumberland we decided to take a look at Lanercost Priory. Not far from Hadrian's Wall, it's situated in north Cumbria, near Brampton.

    It was founded in 1166 by Henry II and completed in 1220. Being as close to Hadrian's Wall as it was, the priory suffered from frequent raids. By 1538 it had ceased being a monastery and was dissolved by Henry VIII after the dissolution. Some of the priory was turned into a private residential farm. The rest slowly crumbled away until 1740 when it was decided to restore the nave and use it as the parish church. It is still used today and is open to the public, free of charge

    The ruins of the priory, behind the church, are not free and are owned by English Heritage. A fee must be paid to view these, although we discovered that the scant remains were easily viewed, at no cost, by walking round the grave yard where you can see the remains quite easily. Apparently, there is an audio tour available from the gift shop if you are really into these sort of things.

    We found the church beautifully peaceful and the wooden ceiling was most impressive.

    The old Gatehouse at Lanercost Priory What is now the parish church Parish church Some of the ruins at Lanercost Lanercost Priory and church
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    Grange-over-Sands

    by nickandchris Updated Jul 1, 2010

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    Having lived in Grange all my teenage years, I couldn't wait to escape from it's boringness. Now, some 35 years later, I see it as a pleasant, old fashioned town with some excellent, traditional shops.

    Don't come to Grange looking for the high life, there is none. It only has one pub, although the hotels all have public bars. There are, however, enough cafes and restaurants to go round, all offering something a little different. No need to go hungry here!!

    Situated in Morecambe Bay,Grange has a long pedestrian promenade where owing to it's mild climate, palm trees thrive.It's where most visitors. take a leisurely stroll You may not get to see the sea, this is an estuary with mud flats and sinking sand and nowadays, the tide only reaches the promenade on exceptionally high tides. It is possible to walk across the sands, but only with a proper guide as the sands and fast incoming tide are treacherous. Organised walks take place in the summer which are very popular.

    I suppose Grange's most popular "things to do" is feeding the variety of wild fowl in the Ornamental Gardens. (I told you not to expect too much excitement!!) Very popular in school holidays. Watch out for the greedy seagulls!!

    At the present time, Grange's indoor swimming pool is closed; lack of funding. It's a pity as there really isn't much else to do.

    Just a pleasant place to wander, especially if you like "nice quality" shops.

    This is a popular place with the older folks.

    Grange Edwardian bandstand Gardens, Grange A very high tide at Grange View across Morecambe Bay from Grange Ornamental Gardens
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Cumbria Things to Do

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