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45 Things to do on a Rainy Day in The Lake District

UPDATED: 2021

Castlerigg Hall has created this ultimate guide of 45 things you can plan to do, should you see a rainy forecast. It’s a mixture of indoor and outdoor-but-covered activities and attractions. Plus, read to the bottom to find the answer to the age-old question, “Why is the Lake District so rainy?” and get our expert packing suggestions to be prepared whatever the weather…

A rainy day at Castlerigg Hall Caravan Park Lake District
The views from Castlerigg Hall are stunning whatever the weather.

THINGS TO DO IN THE LAKE DISTRICT WHEN IT RAINS – GETTING OUT AND ABOUT ON A RAINY DAY

The Lake District is full of activities for all ages to enjoy come rain or shine! We’ve split up our list below so you can easily find activities and attractions that suit you best and will give you a holiday to remember.

ACTIVITY BREAK DOWN

Click a link below to find specific indoor and dry activities:

Get to know the FAMOUS FACES of the Lake District

Many notable people have found their homes in the Lake District. Some of them even have museums in their honour…

Dove Cottage

The beautiful Dove Cottage, home of William Wordsworth. Photo courtesy of Wordsworth Grasmere

1. Visit the William Wordsworth Museum in Dove Cottage, Grasmere

The story goes that Wordsworth was on a walking tour of the Lake District when he first saw the beautiful Dove Cottage. Instantly falling in love with the cottage, he decided to make it his home with his sister Dorothy. The location was the inspiration for many of Wordsworth’s poems as well as for Dorothy’s ‘Grasmere Journal’. These days, Dove Cottage and the Orchard Garden is a fascinating museum about their lives.

 

2. Or pay homage to another of his homes, Rydal Mount

With its stunning garden and glorious views over Windermere, magical to see in the mist and rain, Rydal Mount gives you a real sense of the life led by Wordsworth in another of his family homes. He lived here from 1831 until his death, aged 80 in 1850. The house was a focus for romantic literature and remains in the Wordsworth family, so you get a real feel of a lived-in family home.

3. Explore the studio of landscape artist, Heaton Cooper

Heaton Cooper remains one of the Lake District’s most celebrated artists. Famous for many his watercolours which epitomise the landscape of the lakes, capturing its tones, hues and unique atmosphere perfectly. Heaton Cooper built his studio in Grasmere, which is now a visitor attraction comprising three galleries and a very nice café too.

 

4. View Beatrix Potter’s home – Hill Top, Sawrey, near Ambleside

This special home, where the magical world of Peter Rabbit and friends was created, was first opened to the public 70 years ago, on the wishes of Beatrix. You gain a real sense of her life at Hill Top, with her furniture and belongings set very much how she left it. You can also have a peek into Mr McGregor’s Garden.

For younger Beatrix Potter fans, we would also recommend the World of Beatrix Potter, which we’ve written more about below in our section on things for children to enjoy.

 

5. the funniest museum in the Lakes! The Laurel and Hardy Museum

Who doesn’t love Laurel and Hardy, with timeless antics we still enjoy today? Did you know Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston? This museum is packed full of artefacts and memorabilia collected over many years by an enthusiast of this famous comedy pair.

Explore the town of Keswick

Keswick is a bustling Lake District market town overlooking Derwentwater, with plenty of indoor, all-weather places to explore.

Keswick Lights
Keswick is a beautiful town towards the north of the Lake District

6. Potter around Keswick

You can easily spend a rainy day getting to know Keswick better! Browse the many independent shops, lose an hour or two enjoying a Cumbrian craft beer in a characterful pub, or simply enjoy a morning coffee or afternoon tea with a view in one of the many quaint tearooms.

 

7. Learn all about Keswick at the Keswick Museum and Art Gallery

The museum is completely run by the community for the benefit of both local people and visitors to the Lake District. It’s a fascinating place to visit, full of displays all about Keswick’s history and culture (and there’s a lovely café too!).

 

8. Catch a film at the historic Keswick Alhambra Cinema

Visit the beautiful Keswick Alhambra independently run cinema to watch the latest blockbuster or a special showing of a classic film. Great for all members of the family and an easy way to pass a couple of drizzly hours.

 

9. Watch a live performance at the Theatre By The Lake

If you prefer live entertainment, we would strongly recommend booking to see a performance at The Theatre By The Lake. With views over Derwentwater, Borrowdale and the Western Fells, you can enjoy great entertainment and drama on stage, and a stunning backdrop behind!

 

Castlerigg Hall Caravan, Camping and Glamping Park is only a 25-minute walk to the centre of Keswick, so you can easily wander down into town and don’t even need to worry about parking. Learn more about our holiday park.

FUN alcohol-themed things to do

The Lake District is truly establishing itself as a destination for breweries and distilleries. Do you fancy trying the local tipple?

Keswick Brewery

The Keswick Brewing Co brewery tour is a fantastic way to spend a rainy day. Photo courtesy of Keswick Brewing Co

10. Go on a brewery tour at Keswick Brewery

Built on the site of the oldest brewery in the town, The Keswick Brewery Company began operating here in 2006. They’re passionate about brewing great beers which have an environmental conscious at the heart of what they do. You can join a brewery tour and of course, try a sample or two.

 

11. Prefer something stronger? Try The Lakes Distillery tour & quiz!

This distillery produces whisky, gin and vodka! Learn all about the distilling process by joining a tour and take part in a guided tasting session. There’s a great quiz for kids so this is a family day out too. Plus this state-of-the-art building provides a great atmosphere to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea in the bistro.

 

12. Uncover the Rum Story at Whitehaven

Discover the dark spirit of Whitehaven, a port town once at the heart of the UK rum trade. The rum story takes you all the way to the Caribbean rainforest and the story of the slave trade, American prohibition, rum in the Royal Navy and the process of rum-making itself. It’s a fascinating museum and will take up many an hour of a rainy day. There’s a café and a shop there too.

Stay indoors and relax on-site

When the rain is really coming down, sometimes all you want to do is stay cosy indoors. Castlerigg Hall provides great facilities, so you can stay at the holiday park all day and enjoy the rainy view of Derwentwater.

Derwentwater Pod Interior
The high-spec Hex Pods are the perfect places to stay indoors on a rainy day

13. Relax by the fireplace

When the rain is really coming down, sometimes all you want to do is stay cosy indoors. Castlerigg Hall provides great facilities, so you can stay at the holiday park all day and enjoy the rainy view of Derwentwater. If you choose to stay at Castlerigg Hall during a rainy day you can make good use of the Campers’ Kitchen and Campers’ Lounge.

Here you can relax by the cosy fireplace, while you enjoy a hot drink or a tipple. Perhaps you’ll find a new book to read at our book swap corner, or a board game to play with your family. The lounge and kitchen have a friendly atmosphere, tips on best places to visit or enjoy a meal can be shared and maybe new friendships made.

 

14. Grab a coffee with an amazing view outdoors (and more inside)

The Gallery is our lovely on-site cafe where you can grab a tasty coffee and cake whilst enjoying the park’s beautiful view over Derwentwater and the mountains beyond. It’s also where we showcase local art and photography, so even on the foggiest days outdoors you can enjoy the views of the Lake District as you browse the gallery walls.

15. Stay cosy in self-catered accommodation

Of course, no matter the weather, staying cosy indoors is always a relaxing option on holiday. At Castlerigg Hall, we offer self-catered accommodation where you can stay warm and dry indoors all day, with all the facilities you need (and more). These include 5* Hex Pods and Inspire Pods glamping pods and also our luxury static caravans.

 

Learn something new at a Lake District museum

The sheer variety of museums in the Lake District means that there’s something for everyone.

Slate mines Ambleside
An old slate mine in Cumbria

16. Visit one of Britain’s rarest small museums in Ambleside

The Armitt presents a unique collection of books and manuscripts, drawings and paintings, memorabilia and archaeological objects telling fascinating stories of famous Lake District characters, including Beatrix Potter. It’s a fascinating and fun place to explore for everyone.

 

17. Learn about the mining & quarrying history of the Lake District

The Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum, near Keswick, is a hands-on museum that has lots to do for all members of your holiday group. Children can dress up as miners and you can try your hand at mining with a hard hat and light to get you in the mind of a miner. There’s also a narrow-gauge railway to enjoy, which has stunning views of Blencathra.

 

18. Go underground at Honister Slate Mine Tour

At the very top of Honister Pass, this slate mine has been here since the early 1700s and is still in operation today! Westmorland Green Slate is still extracted from the mine and used to create an array of beautiful products (which are perfect gifts from a trip to the Lake District).

If it’s raining, take cover and enjoy a tour underground. If you are visiting on a sunny day though, you mustn’t miss taking part in one of the various adventure activities Honister has on offer.

 

19. Calling all motorheads! The Motor Museum is a must-visit

Anyone with an interest in cars or industrial heritage will be amazed at the beautiful vintage vehicles at The Lakeland Motor Museum. It’s a great indoor attraction with over 30,000 exhibits, including 140 classic cars and motorbikes, tracing road transport history through to the 20th century.

 

20. PREFER boats to cars? Learn about the boat building industry 

One of the Lake District’s best-loved museums, The Windermere Jetty Steamboats Museum is home to a unique collection of steam and motor boats once admired cruising on lake Windermere. The conservation workshop is available to access for visitors to see how these beautiful boats are restored.

 

21. UNCOVER the fascinating history of pencilS, in Keswick

Yes, pencils are fascinating! And the Derwent Pencil Museum is the home of the first pencil. It’s here that a thriving industry existed from three hundred years ago. Highlights include secret WW2 pencils with hidden maps, one of the largest colour pencils in the world measuring almost 8 metres and The Queen’s diamond Jubilee pencil.

Burn off some energy with these energetic activities

Staying indoors doesn’t mean you can’t break a sweat!

Bouldering
Climbing is great exercise and a useful skill for tackling some of the trickier fells

22. Go climbing at the Ambleside Climbing Wall

Still seeking a sense of adventure, even if it’s chucking it down? Have a go at scaling up the Ambleside Climbing Wall in this indoor climbing centre. You’ll be taught the best techniques by the experiences and how to keep yourself safe if you fancy trying to climb a mountain.

 

23. Or you could visit the Keswick Climbing Wall

Another climbing centre, the Keswick Climbing Wall and Activity Centre is really close to Castlerigg Hall, and the perfect place to get your climbing fix in, in the dry and warm. They also have a host of adventure activities to try outdoors when the weather improves.

 

24. Go for a splash at Keswick Leisure Pool

It’s raining so let’s get wet anyway at the pool! Kids can enjoy the crazy slides, toddlers can splash at the shallow end and the adults can have a leisurely swim or a seat by the poolside while the youngsters are entertained.

Take an unusual mode of transport

Make some great holiday memories by taking an unusual mode of transport. Plus, you’ll get to see the Lakes from a completely different perspective.

Ullwaters Steamers boat on Ullswater lake

It’s not every day you get to go on a lake cruise! Photo courtesy of Ullswater Steamers

25. Take a cruise with Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers operate one of the largest heritage vessel fleets in the world! So on their cruises you’ll experience both breathtaking views of nature and nautical history too. The steamers have open and covered upper decks and downstairs saloons with licensed bars.

 

26. Or sail around Derwentwater with Keswick Launch

See the beauty of Derwentwater and views of the surrounding fells from a different perspective – from the water. You can stay on for the 50-minute round boat trip or, if you get a break from the rain, how about disembarking at one of eight jetties to go for a walk up England’s fourth highest mountain, Catbells?

 

27. All aboard a historic train ride at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway

Enjoy a trip along one of the oldest and longest narrow-gauge railways in England at the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. These heritage steam engines have a picturesque route past 7 stops. Known affectionately as “La’al Ratty“ meaning “little railway“ in olde Cumbrian dialect, this railway is located in the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park.

 

28. Catch a steam train with the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Who doesn’t love a steam train trip? Stay dry inside one of the majestic full-size steam trains as you chug along, watching the beautiful scenery pass you by. Plus there’s a great family attraction at the end of the line. Take the steam train from Haverthwaite to Windermere and visit the Lakes Aquarium at the end of the line before the return journey (more on the Aquarium below!)

Explore unique attractions to the Lakes

You won’t find attractions like these anywhere but the Lake District!

The Puzzling Place

The Puzzling Place is a world of illusions. Can you figure out how this picture was taken? Photo courtesy of the Puzzling Place

29. Tease your brain & Have a laugh at ‘The Puzzling Place’ in Keswick

The Puzzling Place is an entertaining and mindboggling attraction that all members of the family will enjoy. There are lots of interactive exhibitions that will have you scratching your chin until you get it! It’s educational as well as great fun, and you are bound to be in fits of laughter as you puzzle over brainteasers and optical illusions.

 

30. Tour the stunning Victorian Estate, Brantwood, Coniston

This stunning historic house and 250 acres of gardens was once the home of John Ruskin, one of the Lake Districts most influential residents and philanthropists.

Today, Brantwood is a vibrant arts centre and museum where you can gain a fascinating insight into the life of Ruskin. It’s full of many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and personal treasures. This huge estate is beautiful in all seasons, with great views over Coniston Water. The café, with a cosy wood burner, is a lovely spot to enjoy lunch or afternoon tea to round up your visit.

 

31. The best garden centre you’ve ever visited – Hayes Garden World

Perfect for the green-fingered and those who love to find beautiful things for the home. Hayes Garden World in Ambleside is Cumbria’s largest garden centre and is an independently run family business, which has been operating for 200 years.

Explore the mock Crystal Palace, which is home to a beautiful collection of exotic plants. The large aquatic area offers great interest for the whole family with a huge collection of tanks brimming with colourful fish. A visit can include a snack in the café or head into Ambleside, brolly at the ready, to browse the shops and visit a tearoom there.

 

Muncaster Castle
Muncaster Castle isn’t your average castle…

32. Explore Britain’s most haunted castle… if you dare

Muncaster Castle at Ravenglass dates back to 1208, and in that time there have certainly been some ‘strange happenings’ recorded on the premises.

So you can go ghost hunting or simply enjoying a wander around the castle’s many magnificent rooms, full of historic collections. The gardens are also stunning, including the Himalayan gardens and the bluebell wood, with trees sheltering you from the rain. Plus, the Hawk & Owl Centre makes for a very interesting visit.

 

33. Stay in unique accommodation

The Lake District is such a popular tourist destination that there are all sorts of fantastically unique types of accommodation to stay in.

At Castlerigg Hall, our Hex Pods are completely one of a kind glamping pods because they were designed and built by us, using local materials when possible. Named Hex Pods after their hexagonal layout, they are a great choice for anyone wanting to stay somewhere luxurious and unique on their Lake District holiday.

 

34. There is something for everyone at Lowther Castle… 

With exhibitions, beautiful gardens, castle ruins and one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds… it’s no wonder the ruins of Lowther Castle is one of the Lake’s most popular attractions come rain or shine.

Stay dry indoors, learning about the fascinating 850-year history of the Lowther family. Then, if there’s a gap in the rain, you can explore the gardens, castle ruins or even hire a bike to tour the full estate. Plus, little ones love the humungous ‘Lost Castle’ adventure playground. Complete with a toddlers’ area, cafe and outdoor tables perfect for a picnic!

Perfect indoors attractions for kids and little ones

Entertaining the younger members of your holiday party is crucial to making sure everyone has a relaxed and fun holiday in the Lake District.

Otter at Aquarium
Say hello to the otters and other aquatic life at the Lake District’s 2 aquariums

35. Indoor activity centre with a cinema, softplay and more!

Built for wet weather days, the Rheged Centre near Penrith is a great indoor family day out with Imax/3D cinema screen, a soft play centre, a Lego play area, a pottery painting shop and an outdoor adventure playground (should the weather cheer up!). Plus, there are two cafés, a delicatessen, an ice cream shop as well as lots of other shops selling locally made products. You won’t want to leave!

 

36. Burn off some energy with the adventure activities 

Kong Adventure in Keswick brings the outdoors indoors! Scale the climbing rock walls, one which has whacky bright colours and obstacles that resemble spaceships, trees and a knight’s castle. If that’s not enough, there’s also an ice climbing wall, a children’s play area and an indoor caving system to entertain the kids.

 

37. Discover the watery wildlife of our lakes at the Lakes Aquarium

It has a watery feel, but you won’t be getting wet at the aquarium! See the underwater creatures that are as much part of the Lake District as the mountains and Peter Rabbit. There are hundreds of species, fish and other animals living inside our lakes, here you can discover this underwater world. Plus, in the woodland area you can even meet some otters!

 

38. or explore our thriving coastal water wildlife

The lovely coastal town of Maryport is home to the Lake District Coast Aquarium. This aquarium focuses on the thriving coastal wildlife of the Lake District, with so much to see for all ages here. There are over 75 displays, depicting the different habitats of the sea creatures, plus daily fish feeding and talks. 

 

39. Discover the magical ‘World of Beatrix Potter’

The World of Beatrix Potter is a great all-weather attraction, with indoor and outdoor features. You can enjoy 3D displays showing how Beatrix Potter dreamt up Peter Rabbit and friends. Plus, there’s a lovely café, named The Tailor of Gloucester Tearoom, and gift shop to browse.

Activities worth braving the outdoors for

Rainy days can actually heighten the experience of some of the Lakes’ outdoor attractions and they’re often a lot less busy than on sunny days.

Aira Force

Aira Force waterfall looks even more majestic when it has been raining

40. Aira Force waterfall – this waterfall is one of the best in the Lake District, and the more it rains, the more magnificent Aira Force becomes.

41. Castlerigg Stone Circle – Only a short walk away from Castlerigg Hall, this famous historical site has a misty and mysterious atmosphere in the rain.

42. A Lakeland boat trip – going on a boat trip in the rain can be refreshing. Again, it has a different ‘feel’ in the rain as you take in the views and listening to rainfall on the stillness of the lake.

43. Swim in a lake – you’re going to get wet anyway and a swim in the rain is both atmospheric and invigorating!

44. Grab a drink at a Keswick local – walking to Keswick is a great way to get some fresh air in the rain and sober up on the way home! You can enjoy the changing views as rain and mist envelope the mountains that surround this picturesque Lake District market town. There are over 25 pubs in Keswick so plenty of choice!

45. Whinlatter Forest – It may be raining but the forest canopy will protect you from the worst of it, Whinlatter is a great option to get some fresh air. There are all sorts of activities available in the forest, from nature walking to e-bike riding and adrenaline-charged mountain biking.

However, if the weather forecast suggests you do not go hill walking, please do pay heed and stay safe.

WHY DOES IT RAIN SO MUCH IN THE LAKES?

Sunrays
The Lake District is one of the rainiest parts of England, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise if you get the odd rainy day here.

Here is the science behind our rainy days: according to the Lake District National Park, “The prevailing westerly winds cross the Atlantic Ocean picking up large amounts of moisture. The air hits the Lake District hills and is forced to rise where it cools, and the moisture condenses to form rain. This is called relief or orographic rainfall.”

This may be a useful fact for the next pub quiz!

It’s a microclimate and with the weather changing so quickly, you can experience all four seasons in one day. For an accurate forecast its worth checking the mountain weather service: mwis.org.uk

WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I PACK FOR A HOLIDAY IN THE LAKE DISTRICT?

 

Get the right clothing – prepare for a rainy day. The weather in the Lake District is varied yet usually not extreme. Pack flexibly and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. We would recommend bringing the following on your holiday:

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Walking boots/trainers
  • Jumper/fleece (in case it gets cold)
  • Midge spray and suncream for summer
  • Waterproof trousers if you’re planning on doing some proper hiking
  • Sunglasses and suncream (just in case! The weather changes very quickly here)

 

Of course, the Lake District is the walking and hiking capital of England, so if you have forgotten any essentials the vast array of mountaineering and outdoor shops in Keswick will set you right.

 

NEVER LET THE RAIN SPOIL YOUR LAKE DISTRICT GETAWAY AGAIN!

What rainy day activity are you most looking forward to trying from our list?

Hopefully, you’ve got some inspiration from all of the wonderful activities above. So no matter what the weather throws at you, you’ll never be left wondering what to do on your holiday in the Lakes.

Looking for the perfect place to stay and experience all of the above? At Castlerigg Hall, we offer glamping, caravan, camping and motorhome holidays. So no matter how you like to experience the Lake District, we have options for that. Click a below to find out more:

Rainy day at Castlerigg Hall Lakeland

Even rainy days won’t stop you having a great holiday in the Lake District 

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