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How to enjoy a day in the Lakes when the rain is pouring

Whilst the Lake District receives its fair share of rain, it doesn’t need to dampen your holiday mood. Not only does the region have stunning landscapes, it's also packed full of fantastic attractions, museums, galleries, cinemas and activities to keep you entertained, warm and dry.

Discover our top 10 things to see and do in on a rainy day in the central Lakes area of Ambleside, Bowness, Grasmere and Windermere.

1. Windermere Lake Cruises

Enjoy England’s longest lake from the warmth and comfort of the inside saloons onboard.

No matter where you start your journey, be it Bowness, Ambleside or Lakeside, the spectacular voyage gives you magnificent views of mountain scenery, secluded bays and the many wooded islands.

Add to this the opportunity to break your journey with some fantastic local attractions and you have the makings of a perfect day out.

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Location: Windermere

2. Allan Bank

Warm and welcoming this National Trust property feels like a bustling family home with something to do in every room.

There’s a place to sit by the fire and read a book whilst watching the red squirrels; a room to play dress-up with your little ones; somewhere to pick up a pencil or a paintbrush and take inspiration from our 360 countryside views; a space to sit and knit; or somewhere to tuck into a picnic with a hot drink.

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Location: Grasmere

3. The Armitt Museum, Ambleside

An independent museum and library, founded in Ambleside in Cumbria by Mary Louisa Armitt in 1909.

Dedicated to sharing and preserving the cultural heritage of the Lake District, you’ll find an impressive number of Beatrix Potter family’s books including a large collection of botanical watercolours and works that reveal much about the lesser-known aspects of her life story.

The library also holds her personal first editions of the ‘little’ books.

The Armitt also boasts an important collection of artwork by Kurt Schwitters, who influenced much of 20th Century art, and who lived in Ambleside during his final years.

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Location: Ambleside

4. Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats Steam & Stories

You don’t have to be into boats to enjoy a visit to this brand new museum, especially with the picturesque views through the vast windows in the cafe.

You can easily while away a couple of hours here.

Discover the stories behind the boats on display and being restored in the conservation workshop.

Arrive by boat, bus, car or foot. You can combine it with a trip on Windermere Lake Cruises direct from the Jetty’s own pier.

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Location: Windermere

5. Blackwell House The Arts & Craft House

One of the finest examples in the country of arts and crafts style design this Grade I listed building was designed by Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott.

When you visit you can sit and soak up the atmosphere in Blackwell’s fireplace inglenooks and inviting window seats while enjoying stunning Lake District views. 

Explore the house, join a talk or meet the Holts through our digital augmented realities to learn about life in the late Victorian period.

There is a delightful café and shop filled with jewellery, textiles, ceramics and glassware by contemporary British craft makers.

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6. Cinemas, Ambleside and Bowness

Zeffirelli’s and Fellini’s in Ambleside are independent cinemas showing a mix of blockbusters and arthouse films across their six screens. They offer a popular Movie Deal combining a reserved cinema seat and two course meal in one of their two vegetarian restaurants.

Find our more: or

7. The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness

A great one for families with younger children with interactive displays bringing to life the much-loved stories by Beatrix Potter, with a café serving tasty home-made cakes and scones, and shop you’re sure to be occupied for a couple of hours. 

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Location: Bowness

8. Honister Slate Mine

Go deep inside the mountain on the guided multimedia mine tour to find out the 800 year history and hear the stories of the men and boys who worked there.

Whatever the weather outside, the mine remains a constant temperature.

If you feeling adventurous but don’t fancy being out in the rain on the Via Ferrata, you can do the Climb the Mine experience where you explore the caverns.

Find out more:

Location: Borrowdale, near Keswick

9. Lakeland Motor Museum

Are you fascinated by all things motor related? With over 30,000 exhibits from classic cars, to motorbikes, caravans, motoring memorabilia, recreations of a 1920 garage and 1950s café there is plenty to keep you busy whilst the rain is falling outside. Learn about Sir Malcolm and son Donald Campbell and their speed attempts.

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Location: Lakeside

10. Derwent Pencil Factory

Home to the world’s largest pencil, you enter through a replica graphite mine learning about how the humble pencil has developed from then to now. The gift shop is perfect for picking up art supplies for yourself or as gifts.

Find out more:  Location: Keswick

Make Heart of the Lakes part of your next UK holiday. We have over 300 perfectly placed Holiday Cottages from which to explore the Lake District National Park - the largest UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK.