The Lake District is renowned for its beauty, as a place of outstanding natural scenery, and some of the best Gingerbread you will ever taste. But aside from the breathtaking views and delicious treats, there is another thing the Lakes has gained a reputation for over the years: raining.
It’s little surprise that the Lake District rains so much… it’s why the lakes exist! It’s also why everything grows so well, and why every person you meet has about three different coats and an umbrella on them at all times even when the weather forecast is optimistic.
In the past, the topic of rain has been a taboo one, and one which many locals shied away from in horror, refusing to admit that on average it rains 200 days of the year¹… a full 50 days more than the rest of the UK². However, recently we have noticed a distinct rise in pride towards the rain, as if it is now solidly what unites us in being Northern.
So what do us lot do for those 200 days of the year where staying inside seems best and running the dog round the block is something to procrastinate rather than pleasure? We’ve written a few things that may strike your fancy if you want to try your hand at being a local:
1. Enjoy a spot of afternoon tea – cheers!
If there’s one thing so many places get right round here it is an afternoon tea. From a good traditional cuppa to the refined Earl Grey, nothing beats a cup of the good stuff with some local finger sandwiches and cakes. There’s even Prosecco packages appearing for the classier lot! Some places on our not to miss list include Langdale Chase where you can overlook Windermere as enjoy roaring fires and handcrafted treats (from £24.95pp), or the Fizzy Tarte in Bowness on Windermere for a little of everything with a lovely quirky atmosphere (from £19.95pp).
2. Bunker down in a Boat’s Belly
Although a boat going across Ullswater at high speeds in the wind and rain doesn’t immediately spark joy – when you discover that they have cosy saloons you can sit back and relax in at lake level it opens up a whole new world of possibility.
The Ullswater ‘Steamers’ are great for a rainy day, taking you from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge, Howtown, or Aira Force, the time you spend on board with a cup of tea or coffee (or even something stronger!) is up to you. Walking into Pooley Bridge and back is a great way to spend the day too as construction for the new road bridge is well underway meaning the rabble stays out and you can truly get to know the village.
3. Support the local high street
What better time to duck, dip, dive, and dodge through shopping streets than the build up to Christmas. Everywhere is glowing with festivities, and even the average person may smile when you pass them, a truly magical time.
Kendal is a great town with a high street to match that ranges from big brands you love to small town favourites to discover unique gifts and experiences. Kirkby Lonsdale is also another good stroll, although smaller than Kendal, if you like to meander along then Kirkby Lonsdale is a great choice, and there’s almost a bakery, cafe, pub, or restaurant every other shop to make your life even easier!
4. Venture to the Pub
Plush seats, a roaring fire in the corner, and a sleepy dog under the table, nothing suites a rainy day better than a large pint and some good company. Once you have tried a Lake District pub there is really no going back, always in stunning locations, and with a gaggle of friendly locals to get to know, they truly are a fantastic experience regardless of if you’re extroverted or not.
Among our top contenders for ‘best local’ are The Drunken Duck Inn just above Ambleside with its beautiful oak beams and rustic feel, and The Black Bull Inn near Coniston serving locally made ales and lagers.
5. Relax in a Spa (ahhhhh)
Annnnnd breathe, if you feel the tension in your shoulders and the rain has got you down, one of the best pick-me-ups is a trip to a spa. Keep out of the rain in a treatment room, or (if you head to Low Wood Bay overlooking Windermere) then you can gaze off into the mountains in a pool or hot tub as the rain drifts down. It’s also a great idea to recover after a walk with muscle soaks and more for weary walkers.
6. Wrap up warm and just embrace it!
A real Cumbrian’s tried and true method of dealing with our lovely weather in all its glory involves a large coat, sturdy umbrella, and some waterproof walking boots (and a spare pair of socks)! Obviously we don’t stay indoors 200 days of the year, so venturing out into the rain every once in a while is something that has to be done, and honestly, it’s not that bad.
Yes it’s cold, and we definitely recommend hats and gloves, but after a brisk walk, a bowl of soup, a cold pint, or a humble cup of tea taste 1000x better and make the whole ordeal worthwhile. Besides, everyone has seen sunny images of the Lakes, but the best sights to see are usually in the rain and fog when everyone else has decided to stay at home #TopTip .
So next time the weather is acting up and you think your plans are scuppered, remember our top 6 things to do and you’ll be heading off on your next adventure in no time.