the lake district

Things to do near Cockermouth in the Lake District

If you’re looking for things to do near Cockermouth in the Lake District you’ll be spoilt for choice. When we were choosing where to stay during our family holiday to the area, I was slightly worried about staying on the edge of the national park. However, we found that it was a really relaxing place to be, especially during the school holidays when the more popular towns, such as Windermere and Ambleside, were extremely busy. We also discovered that there was lots to see nearby. Plus, it was easy to get to the places we wanted to visit which were further afield.

So whether you’re looking for things to do near Cockermouth with kids or you’re on an adults only break, this is a great area to base yourself in during a stay in the Lake District.

Things to do in Cockermouth

There are plenty of things to do in Cockermouth itself, from exploring its history to enjoying the independent high street shops. The town has a lively arts and music scene and there are regularly events held at local galleries and live music in the pubs at the weekends.

Cockermouth is famous for being the birthplace of the poet William Wordsworth. So poetry fans should head to his childhood home Wordsworth House and Garden, now owned by the National Trust.

History enthusiasts can also follow the 2km Civic Trust’s Town Trail, which provides information about points of interest. It includes an app, with commentary and photographs along the way. To access this, scan the QR code on the trail leaflet which is available from the Tourist Information Office.

Plus, if you want to step back in time, check out JB Banks and Son Hardware store. As well as serving customers, the shop also has its own little museum. It includes everything from old locks to car memorabilia. In addition, it has its original smithy and plumbers workshop, with all its old tools.

Cockermouth has a good number of independent shops, cafes and pubs. So there are plenty of options to stop and relax after a wander around town. Personally, I found Windermere and Ambleside to be really over-crowded. So Cockermouth is a good option is you want to base yourself somewhere a little quieter.  

Things to do near Cockermouth

We found that there were lots of great things to do near Cockermouth. We actually stayed slightly outside the town, in the countryside, but found we had easy access to lots of different attractions. Our week quickly filled up with activities and we could probably have spent another one there too!

Of course, there are plenty of great walks to do in this area. Bassenthwaite Lake and Derwentwater are the nearest lakes. It’s also just a 20 minute drive to the coast, if you prefer a beach. While many people head to Scarfell Pike which is England’s highest peak at 978m (3210 feet), Skiddaw is just 25 minutes from Cockermouth and is 931m (3053 feet).

If you’re looking for a truly unique experience, head for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea to the replica steam engine used in the film Murder on the Orient Express. Check out my review of Bassenthwaite Lake Station to find out what makes it so special.

Or if you want a bit of a pamper, you can indulge in a spa day at Armathwaite Hotel and Spa.

Things to do near Cockermouth with kids

There’s lots of things to do near Cockermouth with kids, especially if your little ones love nature. As well as walks in the countryside, we enjoyed trips to a wildlife park and a local aquarium with our little adventurers. Plus, Cockermouth is in a perfect location to reach the coast. So if you fancy a beach day, it’s not too far to travel.

When I was originally searching for accommodation in the Lake District, I was a little worried that we would be too ‘out of things’ by staying in this area. But actually it turned out to be the perfect location for us. We found that there were plenty of things to do near Cockermouth with kids.

One of our favourite days out was a visit to the Lake District Wildlife Park. Ahead of our trip I read mixed views about it online, so wasn’t sure what to expect. However we really loved our day there and thought it had a great variety of animals which seemed really well cared for.

The animals are a mixture of those you’d expect to see in a zoo and on a farm. You can buy food to feed the farm animals, which our little adventurers really enjoyed. There was a good range of information about the various conservation programmes the park is involved in. We went to a couple of talks with the staff and they were excellent, particularly the bird of prey display.

There is also a great outside play area and an indoor soft play for smaller kids. The food in the cafe was surprisingly good, especially the homemade sausage rolls. Some reviews I read said they only spent a few hours there, but we stayed the whole day. Then my little adventurers still complained when it was time to go home!

We also visited the Lake District Coast Aquarium, which again, although small, was great for our little adventurers. It includes a variety of different fish and sea creatures in tanks. Regular talks are given by staff and there’s also a conservation area, where you can spot things like baby sea horses. A round of crazy golf is included in the admission price and there is also an outdoor playground. So it’s an easy place to spend a few hours.

Beatrix Potter attractions near Cockermouth

Of course, one of the main reasons why many people visit the area is to see the Beatrix Potter attractions in the Lake District. The closest Beatrix Potter attraction to Cockermouth is The Lingholm Estate, which is a 20 minute drive away. While the World of Beatrix Potter and her former home of Hill Top House are slightly further away, it’s a lovely drive there. It’s also possible to visit both in one day if you don’t want to make two trips. 

The Lingholm Estate is where Beatrix Potter spent 10 summer holidays between 1885 and 1907. It is known to have inspired a lot of her early work. While it is possible to drive here from Cockermouth, I would recommend taking a boat trip from Keswick. It’s a 20 minute drive to the jetty and you can then enjoy a ride around the lake, hopping out when you get to Lingholm.

Hill Top House and The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction are both an hour away from Cockermouth. However, it’s a lovely drive through the lakes to get to them and both are worth the trip.

I hope you found this post helpful. If you find any other hidden gems near Cockermouth, I’d love to hear about them!

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The BEST things to do near Cockermouth in the Lake District