Lake District activity holidays

Travel advice from

There’s some great Lake District adventure holidays on offer these days. Really exciting and even some challenging outdoor activities in some of England’s most beautiful and spectacular scenery. You don’t have to go all the way to Switzerland or Tibet to find fabulous landscapes of soaring mountains and cascading waterfalls, because much of it is practically on the doorstep in Cumbria, the UK’s premier National Park. Home to famous lakes such as Windermere and Ullswater and covered in hiking trails, the English Lake District has everything you need for a great adventure holiday. Here’s our guide to activity holidays in the Lake District

Fell walking

The weather tends to be wet most of the year because of the mountains, but the delicious smells of damp vegetation and the great dark clouds that roll down the mountainsides create their own charm. Anoraks and cagoules are part of the essential equipment in these parts, as are stout walking boots and Ordnance Survey Maps. The most popular multi-day hiking trail is the Cumbria Way, which takes 5-6 days and covers a total of 70 miles. Walkers looking for an additional challenge could try scrambling, a cross between rock climbing and a steep walk, taking advantage of the excellent scrambling terrain in the region.


The Lake District offers the perfect mountain biking environment, with winding roads, steep inclines, very little traffic and brilliant views. There are classic long-distance routes such as the famous Sea 2 Sea route, which takes bikers from the Irish Sea across to the North Sea, and Hadrian’s Cycleway which follows the Wall and takes in many towns and villages along the way.

For mountain bikers there are numerous man-made tracks as well as bridleways across the high fells. Local riders have put many of these routes together for the specialist press, so they’re off the beaten track and present real challenges to enthusiasts of the sport.

Rock climbing

There are many rock climbing opportunities in Cumbria for all levels of ability. Gimmer, Esk Buttress, Dow Crag and the hills around Keswick are ideal for the mid-grade climber, whilst for the more experienced there’s Wasdale and the challenging Napes Needle, which wasn’t conquered until 1886. There is a range of different climbs around Coniston and the views here are also particularly attractive, whilst Glenridding and Patterdale offer some hidden gems like Gowbarrow Crag, the Thrang Crags and other single-pitch routes.

Water sports

With such an abundance of lakes, water sports are especially popular and there are opportunities in the Lake District throughout the year for practising canoeing, waterskiing, windsurfing, kayaking and open water swimming. Gorge walking and gryll scrambling are more recent specialised sports with a loyal following here, with plenty of swimming and pool jumping involved.

You can pick up all the necessary equipment at providers’ outlets around all the Lakes, and there are well-established routes for each type of sport. Canoeists have a choice of routes across Windermere and its islands, Ullswater, Conistonwater and Derwentwater, whilst Windermere provides the perfect expanse of water for waterskiing enthusiasts. Derwentwater and Windermere also have ideal windsurfing conditions.