Things to do on a Rainy Day in Cumbria

Cumbria is a county in the northwest of England renowned for its scenic landscapes. Home to the largest national park in the UK, the region attracts millions of visitors each year seeking outdoor adventure. Due to its world class trekking peaks and nature trails, forest high-rope courses, kayaking, ghyll-scrambling and mountain-biking, Cumbria is even branded as an adventure capital.

But what can you do when its stormy outside? It rains from time to time here – ok, maybe a lot – but how else do you think we got our fabulous landscapes, abundant plant life, and those lakes? Anyway, if you’re visiting Cumbria and the Lake District this summer, it’s important that you plan for things to do on a rainy day, just in case!

From riding historic railways, taking a boat cruise on Lake Windermere, trying out the regions indoor climbing walls or visiting the county’s collection of fascinating museums, there are plenty of fun things to do in Cumbria that make for perfect rainy-day activities.

To make sure you can easily find activities and attractions that suit you best and will give you an experience to remember come rain or shine, we’ve put together a list of suggestions for what to do on a rainy day in Cumbria.

Rainy Day Activities in Cumbria for Families:


When it comes to museums and galleries in the Lake District, you’re really spoilt for choice. Cumbria has a huge collection of museums to keep visitors entertained when it’s raining. We’ve got museums dedicated to every conceivable subject – from the history of motor cars, boats, mining, the home of William Wordsworth to a museum that’s all about pencils (don’t knock it ‘til you try it), there’s something to appeal to all ages and interests.

Indoor Climbing Walls

Other things to do in the Lake District when it’s raining include checking out the indoor climbing and bouldering options at Kendal Wall, Ambleside Climbing Wall, Keswick Climbing Wall and Outdoor Activity Centre and Kong Adventure. Here you’ll find climbs suitable for all ages and activity levels ensuring you’ll be able to make the most out of your rainy day. And if physical activity isn’t your thing or you are a parent, there’s cafes to enjoy a cuppa and a piece of cake at all these indoor climbing walls.

Boat Cruise

No trip to the Lake District would be complete without a visit to its iconic bodies of water, and a rainy day won’t stop these cruises from setting sail. The Ullswater Steamers connect some of the most iconic walking routes in the Lake District, providing a scenic journey along the length of Ullswater. Windermere Lake Cruises offer cruises starting from Bowness, Ambleside, Lakeside or Brockhole. With both indoor and outdoor seating, a boat cruise makes for a wonderful rainy-day activity.


Cumbria is home to a selection of fascinating castles ranging from medieval strongholds to mock gothic Victorian forts. Today you can visit some of Cumbria’s most impressive fortifications including Wray Castle on the eastern shore of Windermere, Muncaster Castle near the west-coastal town of Ravenglass, Lowther Castle near Penrith and Carlisle Castle, to name a few. You can walk inside the remaining castle walls, enjoy the surrounding views, and learn about their fascinating history.


Board the steam train at Haverthwaite Railway Station and enjoy a scenic journey through the countryside to Lakeside, at the southern end of lake Windermere. What’s better, your four-legged friends are welcome to join you for the ride free of charge. Disembarking at Lakeside you can continue your journey aboard a Windermere Steamer and travel to Bowness or Ambleside or journey back to Haverthwaite. Further north, board the steam train at Ravenglass and journey through spectacular scenery on the route to Dalegarth, what’s more there is a selection of walks from either end of the line.

Rainy Day Activities in Cumbria for Adults:

Distillery Tours

Cumbria and the Lake District are home to an impressive number of award-winning distilleries, breweries and micro-breweries. There are also some fantastic distilleries in the region that offer tours and tastings including Made In Cumbria members Shed 1 Distillery and The Lakes Distillery. Distillery tours give you a behind-the-scenes look at the spirit distilling process and are the perfect opportunity to learn something new while supporting local Cumbrian businesses.

Afternoon Tea Experiences

Why not treat your tastebuds to an afternoon tea experience? Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply enjoying a break in the countryside, what better way to shelter from the drizzly weather? There are plenty of hotels in Cumbria serving up scrumptious finger sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and assortments of pastries and cakes accompanied by delicious teas. For our recommendations, check out our blog on the best locations for afternoon tea in Cumbria.


A trip to the Lake District would not be complete without trying some of the local cuisine, and as the county with the most Michelin star restaurants in the UK, Cumbria is not short of fantastic restaurants and eateries to try out. With menus inspired by the surrounding landscapes and with cosy settings, fine dining restaurants in Cumbria are a must for any trip to the region but saving a special one for a rainy day is a wonderful way to make the most of your stay.

Luxury Spa Days

Boasting beautifully designed networks of steam relaxation rooms and saunas, a wide range of body massage treatments and infinity pools overlooking idyllic surroundings, Lake District spa hotels are a perfect way to shelter from the weather and spend rainy days in the Lake District. Whether you’re seeking a bit of indulgence, tranquillity or a little bit of both, spa hotels in the Lake District have it all. Check out our blog on the best Lake District spa hotels to find out more.


Lined with beautiful shop windows and picturesque cottages, even the streets of Cumbrian villages and towns are well worth a mooch in their own right. To name a few popular towns: Keswick, Bowness-on-Windermere, Ambleside, Kendal and Penrith are packed full of independent shops including outdoor clothing retailers and cafes to explore. You’ll also find cosy pubs, delicious local food and fascinating historical sites to explore in all of these Cumbrian towns.

Above all, Cumbria and the Lake District are great destinations for couples, families, and young children. Whether it’s riding historic railways, embarking on a boat cruise on the UK’s largest lake, exploring wonderous castles, indulging in afternoon tea experiences, eating at one of the regions many fine dining restaurants or relaxing in a Lake District spa hotel, there are plenty of things to do in the Lake District and Cumbria for the whole family – whatever the weather!

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