Ten Ways to Occupy the Kids on a Rainy Summer Day in the Lake District

As much as the Lake District is known for its spectacular fells and beautiful lakes, it also has a reputation for not being the sunniest of destinations. Here's ten ways to keep the fun flowing!

Rainy day activities

As much as the Lake District is known for its spectacular fells and beautiful lakes, it also has a reputation for not always being the sunniest of destinations.

And while this isn’t entirely fair (the Lake District gets more than its fair share of beautiful sunny days during the summer months), the weather up here can be a little unpredictable, often swinging from one extreme to the next within the space of a couple of hours!

With that in mind, it’s a good idea to have a few activities in mind for the family that you can enjoy no matter what the weather. Here are a selection of our favourites.

Wray Castle, Low Wray

This family-friendly attraction at Low Wray, near Ambleside, is a magical neo-gothic castle which is a firm favourite with kids, who’ll love exploring the various rooms and turrets (which offer great views out towards Lake Windermere.

While the impressive gardens are great to explore in their own right, there’s plenty to see and do inside the castle on a rainy day too, such as historical fancy dress outfits so you can dress up as a king and queen, as well as the Peter Rabbit adventure rooms which are packed full of activities for little ones.

The castle has only recently been made open to the public, having been taken over by the National Trust.

Ullswater Steamers, Glenridding

The Ullswater Steamers are one of the most popular attractions in the Lakes, and while you might think that they wouldn’t be running on a rainy day, you’d be wrong!

These historic steamers head out onto the lake no matter what the weather (unless there is excessive wind) and they also have a covered section on the top deck as well as indoor lounges downstairs to enjoy the views from, which in many ways can be even more dramatic on an overcast day.

The company have been operating steamer services on the lake since 1859 and some of their oldest vessels have been in operation for almost 150 years!

Rheged, Penrith

This centre is located just off the M6, close to Penrith, and is instantly recognizable by its grass roof.

Inside, the centre is home to several shops and cafes serving local produce, as well as galleries with changing exhibitions, although the main attraction is the huge 3D IMAX cinema screen, which hosts all the latest releases, as well as hosting special screenings too.

Brewery Arts Centre, Kendal

This hidden gem in Kendal hosts a variety of arts events and exhibitions and is home to two cinema screens showing all the latest releases.

There’s also a full programme of music and theatre events too, many of which are targeted toward younger audiences, as well as great food and drink in their Vats Bar and Grainstore Restaurant. There are also frequent crafts workshops for children to take part in too.

Honister Slate Mine, Honister Pass

If the kids are slightly older, then why not take them along to the Honister Slate Mine, where you can get a guided tour right down into the last working slate mine in the country.

Its an immersive experience featuring enhanced reality technology and special effects to give you a true idea of what life was like in the mines, which have been in use for hundreds of years, with the first slate being mined in the area as far back as the Roman Era.

There’s also a host of other things to do such as the Via Ferrata and Infinity Bridge, although they’re probably best left for a slightly drier day!

Lakeland Motor Museum, Backbarrow

With over 30,000 exhibits which track the history of road vehicles over the last hundred or so years, you can easily spend a whole day at this hidden gem of an attraction outside of Ulverston.

The collection, which has been built over the last 50 years or so, includes all kinds of vintage vehicles, both cars, motorbikes and more, as well as an exhibition surrounding Donald Campbell’s Bluebird, which, of course, has strong ties to the local area.

There’s also a special children’s quiz for them to take part in as you walk round the museum too.

Hill Top, Near Sawrey

This house was the home of the famed children’s author Beatrix Potter and is now owned by the National Trust, who she the house to in her will.

The 17th-century farmhouse is fully open to the public and recreated to be as close as possible to how it was back when Beatrix Potter was living there, with lots of items and artefacts that were owned by her.

Derwent Pencil Museum, Keswick

Visitors walk into this unique museum through a replica of the graphite mines from which pencils have been made in the area for over a hundred years.

Exhibits include one of the world’s biggest pencils (measuring 8 metres long), the world’s very first pencil, as well as World War II pencils featuring hidden maps!

Trust us, it’s more interesting than it sounds!

Zeffirellis, Ambleside

Not your average small-town cinema, as well as showing all the latest films on their five screens, Zeffirellis in Ambleside is also home to an award-winning pizzeria, as well as its own jazz cafe!

It’s a completely different experience the usual multiplex cinemas that the kids might be used to, with matinee performances and special screenings to check out too.

Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside

This aquarium, perched on the southern tip of Lake Windermere, is home to more than 30 different marine habitats, featuring all kinds of species, both from the local area and around the world.

Some of the most popular exhibits at the aquarium include the adorable otters, who you can see being fed at certain times, as well as the underwater tunnel which lets you feel like you’re walking on the bottom of Lake Windermere!

If you want, you can also combine your visit with a trip on Windermere Lake Cruises, catching a steamer from Bowness down to the aquarium at Lakeside.



While the very best of the Lake District is experienced in the great outdoors, there’s still so much to see and do if you get caught in the rain.

If you’re thinking of a trip to the Lakes, be sure to check out our collection of holiday parks, located along Morecambe Bay, just a few miles from the Lake District.