Rainy days and fun. Fun and rainy days. Do these two words actually go together? 

Oh yes, they do!

Walkies in the rain with our dog. Wet, but fun!
GOING OUT in the rain! Walking with Zack at Elterwater: it was raining very hard indeed, but we had fun!

Lake District rainy day things to do indoors

There are lots of places to visit when it’s raining outside. Keep yourselves dry and learn more about the people who contributed so much to Cumbria and the Lake District National Park by visiting their former homes.

Historic homes

There are many beautifully restored historic homes to visit in the Lakes. I’ve visited a couple of the ones mentioned below, and they are certainly worth exploring.

Dove Cottage

William Wordsworth, that Romantic poet so well known for his “Daffodils” poem beginning with “I wandered lonely as a Cloud”, was born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, and had a number of residences in the Lake District, probably the most famous of which is Dove Cottage. It’s one of the quaintest cottages to visit, and has a truly lovely garden, which Wordsworth, his wife, Mary, and his sister, Dorothy, carefully grew and tended. On a rainy day, why not also visit the Wordsworth Museum next door, and spend time there learning more about Wordsworth and the Romantic age?

(How to get there: Dove Cottage is located off the A591 in Grasmere, an easy bus ride or drive from Blenheim Lodge. If you are a keen cyclist and prefer to cycle there, there is bicycle hire from a kiosk in Bowness. Alternatively, we can arrange a door to door Lake District tour for you that includes a visit to Dove Cottage.)

Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter is possibly one of the world’s most beloved writers. As an adult, she moved from her birth city of London to live in the Lake District, where she was inspired to create her famous Peter Rabbit and friends characters. Her former home, Hill Top Farm, was bequeathed to the National Trust, and is today one of the most visited properties in the Lake District National Park.

(How to get there: Hill Top Farm is located in Near Sawrey, and may be accessed by way of the local cable car ferry at Ferry Nab in  Bowness on Windermere to Ferry House on the opposite shore, from whence a road winds uphill towards the hamlet. Alternatively, you can travel to Near Sawrey by driving along roads traversing either half of Lake Windermere from Bowness. However, for those travelling without a vehicle, it might be best to take a door to door tour which we can arrange at Blenheim Lodge. If you are energetic, it’s also possible to walk to Hill Top Farm from Ferry House or rent a bicycle in Bowness which you can then take onto the car ferry to cycle over there from the other side.)

Main Hall interior of Blackwell Arts and Crafts House
Blackwell House is well known for its beautiful Arts and Crafts style. This is its Main Hall. (Photo courtesy of Blackwell House.)

Blackwell House

If you like the Arts and Crafts Movement, you’ll enjoy visiting Blackwell House. Situated with fabulous outlooks over Lake Windermere, this beautifully designed house retains many of its original features. The Main Hall inside Blackwell House is probably one of its most eye-catching features, with its minstrel gallery, stunning ceiling, and ornate carvings.

(How to get there: Blackwell House is about 10 minutes’ drive or taxi ride from Blenheim Lodge. It is also possible to walk or cycle there, but the traffic can be fast moving on part of the narrow road leading from Bowness to this historic home.)

Go rainy day shopping!

Who doesn’t enjoy shopping? The Lake District has lots of shops, both large and small; but if you’re hoping to stay out of the rain for an extended period and don’t want the bother of moving from shop to shop, why not consider visiting one or both of the stores mentioned below?

Hayes Garden World

Hayes Garden World is a shopping treat for the green-fingered and house proud. It also sells clothes, stationery, garden furniture, cuddly toys, jewellery, and the most festive of items right now – Christmas trees! Lose yourselves in the huge maze of departments that make up Hayes Garden World and enjoy your day out. There’s also a cafe where you can sip a cup of tea or coffee along with some sustenance whilst you rest your tired feet.

(How to get there: Hayes Garden World is situated on the main bus route north from Bowness on Windermere, which will take a little longer than the usual a 10-minute drive or taxi ride from Blenheim Lodge. It is also possible to walk or cycle there. Alternatively, hop onto the Ambleside ferry from Bowness Pier and get off at Waterhead. From there, it is a short walk to Hayes Garden World.)

Lakeland

Lakeland Plastics store in Windermere, good for rainy day shopping
Lakeland store in Windermere. (Photo courtesy of Lakeland.)

If you love browsing and buying house and home goods, you will love Lakeland. It sells kitchen and home accessories; local foodstuffs to buy and try; and sprays, creams, and liquids to help keep your house looking perfect. There is also a cafe serving good food, which is particularly convenient for rail passengers as this store is next to Windermere Railway Station.

(How to get there: Lakeland is situated in its own grounds next to Windermere Railway Station, approximately 5 minutes’ drive from Blenheim Lodge in Bowness on Windermere, or 10 minutes’ bus ride. If you prefer to walk, Lakeland is about 20 minutes’ easy walk from Blenheim Lodge. It’s also possible to cycle there.)

Oh! It’s yummy in my tummy!

Duck into a local eatery and enjoy some well-cooked fare. Sit smugly in a cosy pub or cafe: listen to and watch the rain splatter outside. There’s always something so cosy about being in the warmth whilst all is wet and chilly outdoors.

Urban Food House

I don’t tend to recommend specific places to eat, but I thought I’d mention this place only because I had been there recently. It was a week night, and it was quiet when we got there – and remained so. (There were only two tables taken, including ours.) My friend and I enjoyed our meal, and especially the fact that we could speak to each other quietly without loud piped thumping music in our ears and crowded tables at our elbows. It was a pleasant experience.

(How to get there: Blenheim Lodge is in Bowness on Windermere, so we walked there and back from this restaurant, which is also in Bowness. It took approximately 5 minutes to walk from our B&B to the restaurant. We can order a taxicab for you from Blenheim Lodge if you prefer not to walk. Depending on the time of travel and which taxi company is used, the taxi driver could charge you as little as £3.50 each way.)

Sheep at Loweswater under cloudy grey rainy day skies
Rain clouds over Loweswater do not detract from its scenic beauty.

Kirkstile Inn

This is probably one of our favourite places to eat. The first time we went there, lowering clouds welcomed us, and we walked around Loweswater in the damp, grey weather. However, the scenery more than made up for the chill that attempted to seep into our bones but did not quite succeed. It’s not cheap to eat at the Kirkstile Inn, but the food that we’ve tried so far has been consistently excellent.

(How to get there: The easiest way to get to the Kirkstile Inn would be to drive there. Just be careful that you don’t get lost!)

So, there you have it: some suggestions on how to beat the rain in the Lake District National Park!

However, please don’t forget that without the rain we wouldn’t have the spectacular lakes, meres, waters, tarns, waterfalls or forces, rivers and becks to enjoy! Rainfall is necessary too for providing and replenishing the water which is piped not just to local residences and businesses, but also to those further afield, such as the homes and businesses in Manchester. Indeed, Manchester was the first place outside the Lake District to benefit from its plentiful water. To that end, the first aqueduct from Thirlmere to the City of Manchester was built in 1894.

Storm clouds on a rainy day out at Dungeon Ghyll, Great Langdale
Storm clouds rolled across the Great Langdale fells on one of our rainy day outings in the Lakes, adding atmosphere to this picturesque scene.

Join the fun rainy days things to do outdoor party!

Finally, if you feel you cannot beat the rain, why not ignore it or simply join in? Just go with your original plans for visiting the Lakes, whether it’s taking a cruise or riding a steam train or walking on the fells. Had you thought also of being in the water? Think ghyll scrambling: it gets you soaked anyway, so even heavy rain can’t get you any wetter! And, of course, you can continue to squelch through fields, walk muddy puddly footpaths, and scramble up or down fells as long as you take care.

Fun rainy day walk with my dog at Elterwater
RETURNING HOME: Bedraggled but happy on our return! Do you know how long it took to dry that sopping wet coat? Much longer than one might think is the answer!

And when you return to our warm, comfortable, and welcoming Bowness Bed and Breakfast, we have a vestibule for wet boots, walking sticks, and other muddy gear. We can also attempt to dry off your dripping clothes in our boiler room. Hopefully, the latter will see you with drier apparel to wear when you need it again!

And never forget . . . the views from your room of Lake Windermere and the fells will look as good as ever, rain or no rain! Just take a look at the rainy day view from Blenheim Lodge below and you’ll see what I mean!

Dark sky over Lake Windermere from Blenheim Lodge B&B
A fabulous view of stormy rain clouds over Lake Windermere snapped from The Eyrie single room at Blenheim Lodge, Bowness.

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

Visit our website: www.blenheim-lodge.com

Email: enquiries@blenheim-lodge.com

Phone: 00 44 (0)15394 43440