This is the follow-up to our previous article: 7 Things to do in the Lake District
While most people visit the Lake District for the scenery, it’s the region’s wonderful towns that make it truly special. From rural villages to great coastal towns, the Lake District’s towns are each unique and interesting places to visit.
These six towns showcase the best of the Lake District – the charming cottages, the rural churches, and the wonderful local restaurants. Whether you’re stopping by for a day or an entire week, make sure at least one is featured in your itinerary.
1. Windermere (and Bowness-on-Windermere)
The twin towns of Windermere and Bowness-on-Windermere form the backbone of the Lake District’s tourism industry. The region’s top destination, Bowness is home to most of the Lake District’s tour operators, theatres, and information centres.
Despite the somewhat commercial feeling of the town – something that’s far more present in Bowness than in Windermere itself – the two towns are still charming, enjoyable places to visit.
Popular attractions in Windermere include Orrest Head – one of the Lake District’s most popular walking trails – and Lake Windermere itself.
Keswick is a charming small town with a lot to offer. Known for its weekend market, this charming small town is home to some of the Lake District’s best cafés and local eateries.
Situated between Derwentwater and Skiddaw, Keswick is widely regarded as one of the Lake District’s most scenic towns. The rugged scenery and quiet community has made Kendal a popular location for Lake District lodges for sale.
Popular attractions in Keswick include the town’s Saturday market, the Theatre by the Lake and the excellent walking trails that surround the town.
Ambleside is one of the Lake District’s oldest settlements. With structures dating back to the Roman era, Ambleside’s large selection of historical buildings makes it one of the Lake District’s top towns for history and architecture gurus.
Despite being home to Roman settlements, Ambleside is a very Victorian looking town, boasting some of the Lake District’s most picturesque stone churches and houses.
Popular attractions in Ambleside include the Armitt Museum and Rydal Mount, the home of William Wordsworth, which is located just outside the town itself.
The Lake District’s most popular coastal town has been a centre of British industry for centuries. Home to a large shipbuilding industry and an incredible history, the town of Barrow-in-Furness has a lot to offer for visitors.
Visit Barrow’s incredible Town Hall, which is visible from almost anywhere in the town. Step into the Dock Museum for an interesting look at Cumbria’s history as a shipbuilding region.
Popular attractions in Barrow-in-Furness include the Dock Museum, Piel Island and its impressive castle and the amazing North Nature Reserve.
Known for its mint cakes and beautiful grey limestone architecture, Kendal is one of the Lake District’s most pleasant towns. This charming town is a picturesque, quiet place to stay that’s a wonderful escape from the large crowds of the lakes.
Home to the impressive ruins of Kendal Castle, Kendal’s impressive historical sites and beautiful architecture make it a great town for photographers. It’s also home of one of Britain’s favourite snacks – the tasty, energising Kendal mint cake.
Popular attractions in Kendal include Kendal Castle, the Abbot Hall Art Gallery and the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology.
While Carlisle’s population gives it more in common with a city than a town, the far northern settlement is widely regarded as one of the Lake District’s most rewarding destinations.
Home to one of Cumbria’s best castles, a wonderful selection of old stone buildings, and some excellent walking trails, Carlisle offers a mix of small city convenience and classic Lake District charm.
Popular attractions include Carlisle Castle, the Prior’s Tower and the excellent Tullie House Museum.
Image source: Flickr