Whatever the season, you should always be prepared for rain when you visit the Lake District. The saying goes: “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just unsuitable clothing”. However, if you haven’t come prepared or just don’t fancy getting wet, this list of things to do in the Lake District when it rains will be right up your street.
You’ll be pleased to learn that it’s not all fells and hiking in Cumbria, as there are plenty of indoor activities for families, couples and singles, too. From historic houses and museums to ancient castles, there’s lots of things to do in Cumbria when it’s raining.
Visit Castles in the Lake District
Although there are many different castle sites in the Lake District, not all of them are going to keep you dry on a rainy day. You’ll need to check opening times and prices beforehand, but the castles below are open to the public for most of the year. Learn about their fascinating histories and walk among the ancient walls.
- Wray Castle
- Sizergh Castle
- Lowther Castle
- Muncaster Castle
Historic Houses and Stately Homes in the Lake District
If you’re a bit of a history lover, you’ll be in your element with the many historic houses and stately homes that are dotted around the Lake District. Explore Dove Cottage where William Wordsworth once lived, take a peek into the life and works of Beatrix Potter at Hill Top or step into medieval times at Dalemain.
- Holker Hall
- Levens Hall
- Rydal Mount
- Dove Cottage
- Hill Top
- Wordsworth House
If you still want to explore the landscapes of the Lake District without getting wet, a boat cruise is a great way to get about and soak up the iconic fell scenery. With four of the major lakes offering boat cruises where you can sit undercover, you’ve no excuse for letting the weather put a dampener on your trip.
Ride on a Steam Train
This is another pretty cool (and dry) way to get out and about in the Lake District when it’s raining. Not only do you get to experience riding on a steam train, but you also get to see some of the scenery that’s off the beaten track.
- Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
- Lakeside and Haverthwaite
- South Tynedale
- Threlkeld Quarry Railway
Cream Tea and Steam Experience at Ravenglass Railway
Explore the Eskdale Valley as you journey along the Ravenglass Railway, disembarking for cream tea and sandwiches at Dalesgarth.
Indoor Activities for Families and Kids
There’s no doubt at times it can be difficult having to entertain children when the weather’s not on your side. But these indoor activities for kids are perfect for things to do in the Lake District when it rains.
- Lakes Aquarium Ulverston
- Rheged Centre, Penrith
- Climbing Walls at Kendal, Ambleside, and Keswick
- Lakeland Motor Museum
- Derwent Pencil Museum
- World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
- Laurel and Hardy Museum
- Armitt Library and Museum
- The Puzzling Place Keswick
Cosy up in a Pub
There’s no denying a long hike in the fells followed by some pub grub and a good old pint of local ale go together like cheese and biscuits. But if you can’t stand the rain, then you can always skip the hike and head straight to the pub. There are far too many pubs in the Lake District to mention so I’ve selected a few favourites that will wet your whistle.
- Wasdale Head Inn, Wasdale
- The Old Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale
- The Wateredge Inn, Ambleside
- The Angel Inn, Bowness-on-Windermere
- The Drunken Duck Inn, Ambleside
- The Mortal Man, Troutbeck
- The Wild Boar, Crook
- The Ambleside Inn, Ambleside
- The Cuckoo Brow Inn, Far Sawrey
- The Swan at Grasmere
Lake District Inn Collection
Discover more cosy inns in the Lake District where you can enjoy great food and a comfy overnight stay.
Shopping and Lunch
Shopaholics and those that lunch certainly won’t need any help in finding things to do in the Lake District on a rainy day. But, just in case you do need a bit of guidance, these are some of the best places for shopping and doing lunch!
Go Chasing Waterfalls
Of course, waterfalls are at their most dramatic when it rains. So why not embrace the downpours, get your waterproofs on and just get out there?! You never know, you might even enjoy these waterfall wet weather walks in the Lake District.
- Aira Force, Ullswater
- Stanley Ghyll Force, Eskdale
- Lodore Falls, Keswick
- Ritson’s Force, Wasdale Head
- Rydal Falls, Rydal
- Tom Gill Waterfall, near Coniston
Go Exploring Caves in the Lake District
Okay, so it might not keep you completely dry, but exploring caves can be one of the most fun things to do in the Lake District when it rains. You’re going to have to walk a short way to reach the caves, but I’ve selected a few that aren’t too far off the beaten track.
- Rydal Caves
- Cathedral Quarry and Caves
- Lacy’s Caves