Attractions

Creative Tourist

There are plenty of attractions in Cumbria and The Lake District, could there be a better place to spend a long weekend exploring? The fells and tarns that characterise the region’s unique landscape offer endless adventure, while its network of picturesque towns and villages provide the perfect way to while-away many a pleasant afternoon. It’s also home to Windermere, England’s largest and, arguably, finest lake.

What shouldn’t be overlooked, however, is just how much the area has to offer culturally, as well. Having inspired countless artists and writers over the centuries – from J.M.W Turner and William Wordsworth to Beatrix Potter and Kurt Schwitters, to name just a few – this rich and ongoing history is well celebrated throughout the Lake District’s many unusual galleriesmuseums and stately homes, which give those of nearby Manchester and Liverpool a run for their money.

Here, we’ve put together a handful of our absolute favourites.

  • 1. Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House

    Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

    Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House, Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3JT - Visit now

    Unlike many of the historic houses that dot the English countryside, Blackwell embodies the entire opposite of rarefied stately-home-stuffiness.

  • 2. Abbot Hall Art Gallery

    Abbot Hall from across the River Kent. Photo © Tony West.

    Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AL - Visit now

    Built in 1759 as a private home, saved from dereliction and opened as an art gallery in 1962, the Grade I-listed Abbot Hall, Kendal is now one of the best centres for visual art in Cumbria.

  • 3. Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

    Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

    Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AL - Visit now

    The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry in Cumbria explores the region’s history through the unique customs and traditions of its past inhabitants.

  • 4. Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in Cumbria
    Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Rayrigg Road, Windermere,, Cumbria, LA231BN - Visit now

    Windermere Jetty Museum, on the banks of one of England’s largest and most picturesque lakes, is a new museum dedicated to the timeless pleasure of boating.

  • 5. Windermere Jetty Cafe

    Windermere Jetty Cafe

    Windermere Jetty Cafe, Rayrigg Road,, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1BN - Visit now

    Windermere Jetty Museum’s lakeshore café has outstanding food and incredible views over Windermere.

Visitor guides

Literary places in Cumbria

Literary places in Cumbria

If it was good enough for Wordsworth and Wainwright, then Cumbria surely has much to offer the literature lover who strayed off the M6. From Kendal in the south to Carlisle in the north, we sniff out the best bookish shenanigans.

Music Venues in Cumbria

When the sun goes down and you’ve had your fair share of Cumbria’s great outdoors, head to the area’s music venues to catch folk and jazz sessions, as well as regular performances by touring musicians. We recommend some of our favourites.

Theatres in Cumbria

Theatres in Cumbria

For striking performances in the truly beautiful setting of the Lake District – check out our pick of theatres in Cumbria.

Museums in Cumbria

Cumbria is studded with fantastic museums – read our picks of the best here.

Art Galleries in Cumbria

Ranging from impressive, nationally-significant collections in Grade listed buildings, to historic houses that now have a particular focus on local, contemporary artists, here’s our guide to Cumbria’s collection of art galleries.

Culture Guides

Cinema

Cinemas might be closed but independent venues and distributors need any help they can get. We look at some films you can stream and places to donate.

Phoebe Davies: Points of Rupture at Site Gallery in Sheffield

Exhibitions

Art and women’s wrestling, Ancient Akkadian gravesites and invented artefacts – check out this month’s pick of exhibitions from across the north.

The elves and the shoemaker. Two green puppets with a male and female actor either side of them.

Families

Need some inspiration for fun and creative family days out? Look no further than our top picks for families across Manchester and the north.

Carcanet exhibition: Carcanet poets Michael Schmidt and Michael Symmons Roberts.

Literature

News of books just out and books worth revisiting, even if you can’t get to the events yourself. Plus a fabulous new exhibition about independent publisher Carcanet, on for the next six months…

Music

Discover the best live music coming up in Manchester and the north this spring and, dare we say it, summer!

Theatre in Manchester

Theatre

Bringing opera, dance, fierce experimental performance and new writing, there’s much to enjoy in our guide to the best theatre in Manchester and the North.

Classical Music in Manchester and the North

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester.

Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

It’s time to find the best restaurants for the weeks ahead. Here’s our guide to the best Food and Drink in Manchester and the North

tours and activities

Tours and Activities

Expect thrills, informative discussion, politically charged tours and wobbly towns in this month’s guide of Tours and Activities.

Things to do right now

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Because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis, we are unable to bring you our usual recommendations for things to do in Manchester and the North. Our thoughts at this time are with our readers and with the organisations and businesses who make the North of England a great place to live and visit. We hope you stay well and look forward to sharing more unmissable events and places with you later in the year.

Here’s our guide to supporting organisations in Manchester and the North.

Please note – many of the venues on our site will be closed and events either postponed or cancelled. Please check the venue website for details.