A lake surrounded by hills in Cumbria

Things to do in Cumbria

Cumbria is renowned for its scenery and is home to the Lake District National Park. As well as beautiful places to enjoy countryside walks, there are fascinating, historic, landmarks to discover, along with interesting activities to try. Whatever interests you have and whatever you like to see and do, our list of the best things to do in Cumbria is sure to inspire you.

When you are ready to book your perfect place to stay, choose from our handpicked collection of luxury cottages in Cumbria.

Sizergh Castle Stately Home And Garden, Cumbria

Sizergh Castle

Visit the National Trust’s Sizergh, a beautiful estate near Kendal that has been home to the Strickland family for over 800 years. The medieval manor house is renowned for its fine carved and inlaid decoration, particularly in the spectacular Inlaid Chamber.

Meanwhile, 1,600 acres of grounds comprise a variety of wetlands, woodland and pastureland, making it a beautiful place for a stroll at any time of year. Don’t miss a close-up look of the mirror lake, the orchard and the limestone rock garden.

When you’ve finished exploring, let the kids run free in the play area with climbing wall and rope swings. Or pay a visit to the shop to pick up some gifts, or head to the second-hand book shop in the Great Barn.

Ruins Of Lowther Castle And Gardens In The Lake District, Cumbria

Lowther Castle & Gardens

Lowther Castle & Gardens in Penrith is family and dog-friendly and promises plenty of atmosphere. It started out life at the beginning of the 19th century as an extravagant castle and rich gardens, however, was demolished and abandoned in 1957.

Just the façade and outer walls remained, while the gardens were left to overgrow. Today, Lowther Castle has been reinvented as a place of intrigue and adventure. Admire the pretty ruins and explore the re-designed gardens that include a formal parterre and a rose garden inspired by ‘Sleeping Beauty’.

Take a walk in the woodlands and wildflower meadows, visit the exhibition about the history of the house, let the kids loose in the huge adventure playground and don’t miss the views of the Lowther Valley from the Western Terrace. Alternatively, hire a bike and explore part of the 130-acre grounds by pedal power.

Group Of Red Deer Stags Grazing At Tatton Park, Knutsford, Chesh

Levens Hall

Levens Hall near Kendal dates back to around 1250 when it was a pele tower built for defence. An Elizabethan manor house was created around it and Levens Hall has been a privately-owned family home ever since. The house is a treasure trove of interesting details including fine oak panelling and collections of art.

Meanwhile, the 10-acre garden includes a special topiary garden planted in 1694 and believed to be the oldest in the world. It’s both fun and enthralling to explore the different areas created by the perfectly clipped hedges. Other highlights include a fountain garden, a willow labyrinth and scenic walks through Levens Deer Park.

Antique Opera Glasses On Sheet Music

Rheged Centre

The Rheged Centre in Penrith is a fantastic leisure venue comprising a gallery, cinema, shops and café. It stands out with its huge grass-covered roof and offers a host of entertainment options for those with a creative outlook.

Exhibitions are held throughout the year and the cinema shows a variety of films, as well as live ballet and opera performances. You can combine with shopping for everything from locally made crafts to walking boots, as well as a meal in the restaurant.

In addition, Rheged Centre hosts a programme of events including food fairs, antique markets and family days.

Lanercost Priory In Cumbria

Lanercost Priory & Hadrian’s Wall

If you wish to combine history with the iconic Hadrian’s Wall, head to Lanercost Priory. Located near Brampton, the former Augustinian monastery was often attacked during the Anglo-Scottish conflicts on the border.

Today, it is an impressive example of a Cumbrian 13th-century priory and you’ll be happy to hear it’s a very peaceful place to explore and reflect. Admire the eastern wing that still stands at full height and explore the archways and cloisters.

Afterwards, visit the World Heritage Site of Hadrian’s Wall nearby. In its entirety, Hadrian’s Wall stretches 73 miles from coast to coast and is perfect for a walk, taking in the views or discovering Roman monuments.

Woman putting a golf ball on a tee at sunset

Silloth On Solway Golf Club

If you love nothing better than a game of golf, the 18-hole, par 72 course Silloth On Solway Golf Course offers something special. Regarded by many as one of the best courses in the UK, the first thing to note is the location. It feels blissfully remote and offers stunning scenery from gorse and heather-covered areas on the course to views across the Solway Firth.

Then there are the fairways and greens, where a number of blind holes offer unexpected challenges, while dunes offer all you would expect of a links course. If you like the idea of playing an exciting round on a course that doesn’t always conform to modern convention, why not give Silloth a go?

Ravenglass And Eskdale Steam Railway in Cumbria


Ravenglass is the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park. Known for its Roman heritage, it was a Roman naval base in the 2nd century and the remains of a Roman bathhouse can still be seen.

Today, Ravenglass is best known for the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway. Originally built in 1873, this seven-mile, narrow gauge railway route travels through the estuary and hills offering spectacular views, including of Scafell Pike. There are enclosed and open carriages to choose from to add to the fun.

Meanwhile, Ravenglass is also a good place for birdwatchers to come and see what species they can spot in the Drigg Dunes.

Muncaster Castle in the Lake district

Muncaster Castle

About a mile away from Ravenglass is Muncaster Castle, which overflows with history and stories. Even after 900 years, the castle is still lived in and very much remains a family home. It is also open to the public and highlights include the Great Hall and exquisite state rooms.

There are various exhibitions and collections of objects from the house on display, while an audio tour will tell all about some of the previous residents. Amongst them is Muncaster’s 16th-century court jester who is said to haunt the castle to this day.

The setting is incredible too, with gorgeous gardens and views of Eskdale. If all that isn’t enough, the castle is also home to a Hawk and Owl Centre.

Stained Glass Window at Carlisle Cathedral in Cumbria

Carlisle Cathedral

If you’re visiting the city of Carlisle, pop into Carlisle Cathedral in the Abbey Precinct area. As the second smallest ancient cathedral in England, it is an intriguing place.

It began life as a Norman Priory Church in 1122 and became a cathedral 11 years later. Whether you visit for spiritual reasons, an insight into the building’s history and stories of pilgrims, bishops and kings; or simply to admire the architectural details, it has a lot to offer.

Some of the most breath-taking features inside include a set of medieval choir stalls, the choir ceiling with its exquisite angel and stars design and the east wing’s huge stained-glass window.

Holker Hall, Lake District, Cumbria

Holker Hall & Gardens

Located close to Grange-over-Sands and Morecombe Bay, Holker Hall Estate boasts a stunning setting in the Cumbrian countryside. At its heart is Holker Hall, the home of the Cavendish family who are committed to the conservation of the building. Parts of the hall are open to visitors on selected dates.

A haven for wildlife, the gardens are a delightful place to relax. They merge with 200 acres of parkland that is home to fallow deer and are edged by the Lakeland Hills.

There are several walks to help you explore the charms of the gardens. These will show you a variety of trees, shrubs and rare plants, a sunken garden and statues including a 17th-century marble figure of Neptune.

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