Cumbria is known for being the home of the Lake District, one of the most beautiful regions of the UK. With its breathtaking lakes and mountains, it’s no wonder that the whole area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here are some of the best bank holiday May activities in Cumbria.
The Lakes is a playground for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts. There are countless walks and hikes you can do for every ability level. If you’re a beginner, head onto one of the classic routes, the Tarn Hows Circular Walk. It’s an easy walk around the lake with lovely views of Lakeland Fells. Another short walk is Hallin Fell, and this hill has fantastic views over Ullswater. If you fancy a bit of a challenging hike, the Helvellyn via Thirlmere route is a steep, 950m climb. Another Helvellyn climb is the one from Glenridding via Striding Edge. This steep climb takes between four and five hours, and isn’t for the fainthearted!
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
Why not give your legs a break from hiking and admire the scenery from a vintage railway. The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway starts at the coastal village of Ravenglass, and the station here is home to the railway museum which has a fascinating collection of relics, photographs, models and an audio-visual exhibition. The train chugs for seven miles along the estuary, through the rolling hills, and ends at Dalegarth Station where you can grab a bite to eat at the station cafe. There are several intermediate stops in between, where you can hop off and explore the surrounding area.
Explore Beatrix Potter attractions
Beatrix Potter is one of the most cherished children’s authors of all time. She spent many years in the Lakes during her lifetime, and her legacy is preserved in different attractions in the area. Hill Top was the first house she bought, and is where many of her stories were written. The house is the most popular Beatrix Potter attraction, and it’s kept exactly how she left it. The World of Beatrix Potter is another must-visit. At this themed visitor attraction you can meet the characters that Beatrix Potter created, and see life sized recreations of scenes from her stories. The Beatrix Potter Gallery is a 17th century building which was once the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, a local solicitor. It contains a selection of her original drawings and paintings.
Windermere is the largest natural lake in the Lake District and in England. It’s 10.5 miles long, one mile wide and 220 feet deep, and is fed by several rivers. Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the most popular holiday spots in the Lakes, and its location on the banks of Windermere means it’s an excellent base for water activities like sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, canoeing and water skiing. If you prefer activities on land, there is plenty to do around the lake, including walking and cycling. Head to the Brockhole Visitor Centre and the Grizedale Visitor Centre for a wide range of outdoor activities.
This castle overlooking the River Esk has been home to the Pennington family since 1208. Step inside the castle and explore the house with an audio tour which is narrated by members of the family. Make your way through the rooms including the great hall, the library, the dining room, the drawing room and the bedrooms, and learn about the castle’s colourful history and past residents. Listen to the ghost stories about Tom Fool, the mischievous court jester at the castle in the 16th century. A visit to the gardens is one of the best May bank holiday events in Cumbria. Set over 77 acres, the gardens come alive in May as thousands of flowers burst into bloom, spreading down the hillsides and ravines around the castle.
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
Built in 1835, this is the only remaining working bobbin mill in the Lake District. It was set up to produce millions of wooden bobbins which were an essential component in the spinning and weaving industries in Lancashire. At one point, there were approximately 250 men and boys producing a quarter of a million bobbins per week. Sitting on the pretty shores of Lake Windermere, the mill has tours available where you can learn about the story of the mill and the production process from tree to bobbin. Marvel at the original Victorian machinery at work, which was originally powered using a waterwheel and steam engine. You’ll get to see how the machinery is used and see bobbins being made.