23 Things to do in the Lake District when it rains
The Lake District is one of the UK’s most beautiful natural sites. With stunning mountains, vast lakes, rolling hills and abundant wildlife there’s plenty to enjoy when you’re there. While that sounds idyllic, it’s worth remembering that the Lakes isn’t the driest of places.
There’s a very good chance that you’ll get rained on when you visit the Lake District, sometimes with little to no warning. While a rainy day could suddenly blow through to reveal gorgeous blue skies, it’s worth planning for the worst, just in case.
If you’re trying to find things to do in the Lake District when it rains, we’ve got you covered. From shopping, to museums and swimming, there’s something for everyone to do in the Lake District when it’s rainy.
The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis lets you get up close and personal with some truly exotic wildlife and enjoy a range of activities that offer fun for all the family. There’s even the option to be zookeeper for the day. The park has an all weather indoor centre too, to keep you out of the rain.
Located in the original 1785 trading shop and warehouse, this engaging exhibit takes visitors through the fascinating story of the rum trade. It’s just 40 minutes from Keswick, making it easy to get to and it’s guaranteed to entertain when it’s too wet to be outside.
To truly escape the rain, why not head underground? You can get a full guided tour of the mine and learn all about the history of slate mining. If the weather dries up there’s also a bunch of exciting outdoor activities too, like the Via Ferrata climbing route and infinity bridge, which aren’t to be missed.
Immerse yourself in the magical world of Peter Rabbit & Friends with one of the Lake District’s most enchanting attractions. It’s the perfect place to teach your young ones about one of the UK’s most prolific children’s authors and pick up a souvenir.
Prepare to enter a captivating, super fun excursion into the delightful world of optical illusions. There are a number of attractions that will alter your perceptions, baffle you with illusions and, best of all, thrill the kids. The anti-gravity room and hologram galleries are must sees.
A dank, rainy day is the perfect time to indulge in some chocolate. Cocoabean Chocolate Factory in Hawkshead offers an educational angle to an edible subject, teaching kids the story of chocolate and letting them get hands on at the same time.
Gain an insight into the craft involved in creating delicious spirits, this award winning distillery is well worth a visit. Take a distillery tour and then hide from the rain with a dram in one of their tasting sessions. They’ve even got alpacas in the fields that you can meet.
Just because it’s raining it doesn’t mean there won’t be some stunning and atmospheric views across the lakes. Take in the sights from one of the Ullswater steamer boats and experience the Arthurian black lake of legend how it should be.
The Aquarium of the Lakes is an ideal candidate for a wet and rainy day. You can go and view the wonderful collection of freshwater and sea creatures across a range of different habitats, plus there’s a recreation of the bottom of Windermere lake.
You can combine a trip to the aquarium with a ride on the Lakeside Railway. There’s a short bit of train track connecting Haverthwaite and Windermere, complete with a steam train. Riding the steam train lets you trundle along a scenic route taking in the wonderful views across the lake.
While you’re in Windermere why not check out the local shops and cafes? There’s something for everyone in the small town. The town is dotted with small independent shops and eateries just waiting to be explored, whatever the weather.
Another place that makes Windermere a great rainy day option is the Windermere Steamboats Museum. Learn all about the history of steamboats and how they’re so intrinsically linked to lake Windermere. There’s even an exhibit on Arthur Ransome’s famous book Swallows & Amazons, that’s set in the area.
Penrith has the best swimming pool in the lakes, and while submerging yourself in water may seem like an odd contradiction as a rainy-day activity, it’s still a whole lot of fun and a great place to burn off some excess energy. There’s also a climbing wall on site too, if you really want to stay dry.
There’s a number of other indoor climbing walls in the lakes. While bouldering has been growing in popularity in recent years, these climbing walls have been popular for even longer. Mixing rope climbing with bouldering walls and other activities you’ll find some great active fun at Ambleside Adventures, Kendall Wall and the Keswick Climbing Wall. Additionally, you can check out our guide on things to do in Ambleside.
After climbing an indoor wall in Ambleside, why not kick back and watch a film or have a drink at the excellent 5 screen cinema and bar? The bar hosts jazz nights and other events too, so keep an eye on their events calendar.
Another great place to catch a film, a meal or have a drink. The Brewery Arts is one of the best places to go in Kendal on any day, not just a rainy one. With a great selection of films, from independents through to blockbuster releases, coupled with a great selection of drinks and food, it’s a great place to go and chill out.
The Armitt is a fascinating place to escape to. It’s one of the UK’s most unique small museums, primarily focusing on the cultural offering of the Lake District. With books and galleries showcasing the likes of Beatrix Potter and Kurt Scwitters. It’s also got a library attached.
If you’re after some hustle and bustle then the Rheged Centre in Penrith is a great choice for a wet afternoon. It’s a combination of shops, local food and an IMAX cinema.
While getting outdoors may not seem like the best thing to do when it’s raining, the waterfalls of the Lakes are at the best at these times. With rivers filling up from the rainfall you’ll find them at their spectacular best. Our tips for the best ones to go and see are the Aira Force at Ullswater and the Stock Ghyll falls at Ambleside.
If cars are your thing then there’s nowhere better. With vintage cars and excellent exhibits to help you learn everything about the history of the automotive industry, there’s something for everyone, even if you just have a passing interest in cars.
Lets face it, who doesn’t love a castle? Especially one so quintessential as this. With proper turrets and crenellated battlements, this National Trust property is open to the public and a great day out for all the family.
A garden centre may not be your first idea for a rainy day activity, but when it’s as big as Hayes it may be worth reconsidering. This expansive garden centre has huge numbers of plants as well as plots made up to offer inspiration for would be gardeners.
The absolutely stunning Theatre by the Lake is a joyous place to take in a play. It’s in a picturesque setting at the edge of Derwentwater in Keswick. Offering incredible access to the arts for locals and tourists alike, it’s also a great part of the community, offering outreach programmes at local schools and other centres.
So there you have it, a comprehensive list of things to do in the Lakes when it rains. We’re here to welcome you to Craig Manor all year round, and whatever the weather. The Lake District is an excellent place to visit, and a little rain shouldn’t stop you from having a great time exploring it.