Things to Do in The Lake District When It Rains

The Lake District, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, often experiences unpredictable Great British weather. With an average of 200 wet days a year, visitors can encounter 'all 4 seasons' in a single day. While most hope for clear skies, rainy days in the Lake District offer a unique perspective to its stunning landscape. The hue of rain adds elements normally unseen, like a rainbow over Windermere's peaks. Don't let a few drops impede your adventures; here are our top 6 things to do in the Lake District when it rains.

The Lakes Distillery

Location: Cockermouth CA13 9SJ

Open: 10 am- 5pm

Nestled on the north shore of Bassenthwaite Lake, The Lakes Distillery, draws inspiration from its majestic surroundings near Keswick to create fine whiskies, gins, and vodka. Home of the ‘World’s Best Single Malt 2022’, visitors can enjoy tours of the state-of-the-art distillery and sample award-winning spirits. The distillery store offers the full product range along with giftware from local artisans.

There are 5 tour options available at a range of prices between £10 and £100; Distillery Tour & Tour Tasting, The Lakes Single Malt Whiskey Experience, A Taste of Gin, Whiskey & Pairing Experience and Access the Archived. The varying price range means there is an experience for everyone!

Why not finish off the excursion with a spot of food and drinks at The Bistro? Featuring locally sourced ingredients The Bistro at the distillery provides informal dining and beverages. Whether it's a quick coffee with homemade cake, a leisurely lunch, afternoon tea, or a delicious three-course supper, the warm welcome in this scenic setting ensures a memorable experience. 

The Lakeland Motor Museum

Location: Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston LA12 8TA

Open: 9.30 am-5.30 pm

The Lakeland Motor Museum is nestled in the picturesque Leven Valley at Backbarrow, near the southern tip of Lake Windermere in the beautiful English Lake District. This thought-provoking attraction provides a perfect year-round venue, entertaining and enthralling visitors of all ages, whatever the weather. With a collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century, this museum has plenty to explore. With local history and period shopping displays, authentic recreations and picturesque riverside café, this museum makes for the perfect day out for the whole family.

Combined ticketing with Windermere Lake Cruises and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway is offered, providing added value for visitors. Adjacent to the museum, Cafe Ambio boasts a beautiful riverside setting, and the welcoming gift shop is among the best places to find the perfect present for any occasion. 

The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

Location: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3BX

Open: 10am- 5.30pm

Trying to keep little ones entertained during a rainy trip to the Lake District? Why not immerse them in the magical world of Beatrix Potter? The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction celebrates the famous English author and illustrator known for The Tale of Peter Rabbit and 22 other enchanting stories. Step into a magical recreation of the Lake District countryside where you'll meet Peter and his friends. Start your journey with a short film about Beatrix Potter and Peter Rabbit. Then explore Jemima’s woodland glade, spot Mr. Tod in Tommy Brock’s house, and visit the Peter Rabbit™ Garden with its iconic scenes from the books. Discover interactive views of the Lake District scenery and learn more about Beatrix Potter's fascinating history.

Additionally, there's a fantastic family-friendly café where you can indulge in a delicious High Tea and get a Peter Rabbit Picnic Basket for the kids. The menu also features fresh soups and salads made with ingredients from the onsite kitchen garden. With plenty of exciting events throughout the year, fun is guaranteed whatever the weather! Before you leave, don't forget to visit the gift shop filled with Peter Rabbit-inspired treasures to take a bit of Potter magic home with you.


Lakes Aquarium

Location: Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Ulverston LA12 8AS

Open: 10 am- 5.30 pm (last admission 4.30 pm)

Situated in the scenic Lakeside area on Lake Windermere's shores, Lakes Aquarium is home to one of the UK's largest collections of freshwater fish, including Pike, Sturgeon, Perch, and Carp. Lakes Aquarium also features marine species from Morecambe Bay, like Rays and British sharks. As the aquarium engages in local, national, and international conservation projects, by visiting you will be playing a part in conserving our wonderful wildlife. The Aquarium’s mission statement is “to provide an educational, entertaining and enjoyable experience, that appeals to all ages and delivers value for money in a safe environment.”

After an educational exploration of the aquarium, enjoy panoramic views of Lake Windermere from Oscar's or 1872 cafe, offering delicious menus. 1872 offers an exciting shopping and dining experience located on the ground floor alongside the station and pier. It's the perfect spot to grab a quick bite to eat and choose some unique gifts and treats! From Beatrix Potter gifts to local specialities like Kendal Mint Cake, you'll find sandwiches, pasties, cakes, cookies, and much more available to take away. Situated on the upper floor of the station building with panoramic views of Lake Windermere, Lake View offers both traditional and contemporary food. Serving a wide selection of ciabattas, burgers, cakes, Starbucks coffees and refreshing cold drinks. Children’s menu is available, and highchairs are provided as are facilities for warming baby food and milk.

Purchase tickets online and catch regular sailings to the Aquarium via Windermere Lake Cruise or steam train on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway from Easter to October.

A child at an aquarium

Explore the Rheged Centre

Location: Rheged Centre, Redhills, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0DQ


  • Café: 9 am – 5 pm
  • Shops: 10 am – 5.30 pm
  • Gallery: 10 am – 5.30 pm

The Rheged Centre is a multi-functional space located on the edge of the Northern Lakes, offering a gallery, café, cinema, shopping venue, workplace, and creative space all in one. A haven of shops, eateries, art galleries and exhibitions along with a huge IMAX and 3D cinema, there’s plenty to see and do here! Offering an alternative to the traditional experience, the cinema shows live streamings of theatre and ballet, along with the latest blockbuster hits. Rheged is where friends, family, and colleagues can come together to share a meal, watch a film, hold a meeting, see an exhibition, buy gifts, or catch up over coffee. Whether you're looking for a flexible space to gather or enjoy some alone time with a book or notepad, Rheged provides the perfect environment. It's a place where stories are told, ideas are sparked, and the Cumbrian landscape serves as a constant source of inspiration.A Lady Shopping

Wonderful Waterfalls

Location: Aira Force, Stock Ghyll Falls, Skelwith Force etc

The more it rains, the more impressive a waterfall becomes, making it the perfect time for a small outdoor adventure to witness some of the most spectacular sites in the UK. In the Lake District, you can discover a plethora of stunning waterfalls, each with its own unique charm. Aira Force cascades down a series of steps, surrounded by lush woodland, creating a truly picturesque scene. Stock Ghyll Force, tucked away in the heart of Ambleside, offers a mesmerising display of rushing water, while Skelwith Force boasts a dramatic drop amidst the rugged beauty of the Langdale Valley.

Exploring these waterfalls allows you to experience the raw power of nature and immerse yourself in the tranquillity of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you're taking a leisurely stroll along the winding trails or embarking on a more adventurous hike, there's something magical about witnessing the sheer force and beauty of these natural wonders. So, why not embrace the rain and embark on an outdoor adventure to discover these breathtaking waterfalls? It's a surefire way to make the most of the British weather and create unforgettable memories in the process.

The Lake District invites you to explore its vast natural beauty, wildly dramatic landscape, and unique indoor experiences, even on rainy days. Since the Great British weather is often unpredictable, remember to layer up to stay warm and adjust your clothing as needed. At John Norris, we offer the highest quality walking and hiking gear to keep you comfortable and safe on your outdoor adventures, as well as sophisticated and practical everyday wear for indoor explorations.