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Extreme Sports and Outdoor Activities in the Lake District

By Edited Feb 20, 2016 1 1

Your Complete Guide to Extreme Sports and Outdoor Activites in the Lake District

The Lake District is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, serene and tranquil places in the UK. It’s a beautiful part of the north and the fantastic lakes, beautiful wind swept beaches and the stunning views and rolling hills make for a fantastic getaway. However there’s a whole other side to the Lake District of extreme sports and outdoor activities that make the Lake District a paradise for. You can also relax and unwind of course but for some of us are holidays need to mix exercise and relaxation – with the two, in fact, going hand in hand. So let’s look at where to stay and what activities are on offer.

Where to stay?

If you’re travelling in a group then Lake District cottages provide a perfect base camp from which to explore the stunning scenery and partake in some outdoor sports. Lake side cottages in Lake District towns are the best places to enjoy water sports and sailing whilst in the hills you can find more peaceful locations. If you’re travelling as a couple or solo then the many B and B’s are the best option or alternatively (if you’re feeling frugal) try one of the areas many hostels. All of these options will give you fantastic access to the outdoor activities and extreme sports the region has to offer.

So the activities!

There’s so many outdoor pursuits here and wherever you stay in the lake district you’ll be close to an activity centre so we’ll go through the activities one by one.


Of course the Lake District is most famous for sailing with Windermere being alive with boats all year around. If you’ve never sailed before then the Lake District is the perfect opportunity to learn with classes being run all year around and the sheltered lakes providing a fantastic training ground to find you’re water wings. Many companies offer full week long courses or simply boat hire if you’re already a seasoned sailor. If you want to learn with less competition try one of the smaller lakes such as Coniston for a gentler and less crowded sailing experience.

Canoeing and Kayaking

The lakes make a great place to canoe or kayak on fairly gentle waters and in a safe environment. But if you’re looking for something more exciting then you should try the seaside resorts or the rivers. Here white waters and stout waves can replace the tranquil lake waters and provide you a much more challenging extreme sports buzz. There are many guided tours available covering rapids and beautiful stretches of coastline so you’ll have plenty to keep you amused.


Along the beaches of the west coast you can find plenty of decent surf spots with the areas between Whitehaven and Barrow-in-Furness providing a long sweep of Atlantic coastline. In good weather you get some great waves here though many of the beaches are fairly rocky and only suited to more advanced surfers.

Other watersports

The ones we’ve mentioned are the basics of course but there are a variety of other great outdoor pursuits within the area on water. Kite surfing is popular along the coast and provide something very different from your usual surf experience. Wind surfing is incredibly popular on the lakes and the nearby sea and is incredibly challenging. Water skiing is available on some (but not all) of the lakes and provides a fantastic adrenaline buzz for travellers who enjoy high speeds. Jet Skiing is also available on some lakes.

Mountain Biking

Given the regions landscape and the great rolling hills that surround the lakes its unsurprising that mountain biking is incredibly popular here. The cycle paths that litter the landscape provide challenges for all levels of skills and there are plenty of more professional courses scattered around that can provide even more of a challenge for the advanced cyclist.

Rock climbing

With the hills and the nearby cliffs of the Lake District there are plenty of opportunities for rock climbing both besides the Lakes and on the rugged coastline. The many places that offer rock climbing have courses and trips for all levels so you can be sure of meeting and challenging your current levels or learning a fantastic new sport for the first time.


Canyoning is a mixture of rock climbing, abseiling and other outdoor pursuits and is becoming increasingly popular in the Lake District with adrenaline seeking travellers’. Exploring the rivers and waterfalls of the lakes is a fantastic day out and incredibly challenging for lots of adventurers. Climbing through water and sliding down muddy paths is a great day out for everyone.

Caving and bouldering.

There are only a few places you can go caving within the Lake District but these are well worth exploring. Along the coast there are some opportunities for sea caving whilst throughout the region bouldering is becoming a popular pastime – squeezing yourself through, round, under and across large boulder fields.


Now if you prefer your outdoor activites to revolve around an engine then don’t worry the Lake District’s calm quiet exterior won’t disappoint you. There are tons of motorsports on offer in various parts of the area both on and off the waters of the lakes.

            In terms of water based motorsports you can enjoy speed boating (on some of the larger lakes and of course the sea) and jet skiing (on most of the lakes that don’t have a lot of fishing). In terms of real motorsports though you’ve got plenty of options with some of the finest dirt biking courses in the country as well as lots of quad biking excursions through thick mud and deep streams; there’s also a few places that do go karting. There’s also some great courses for more serious motorsport but they’re not open to the public – though watching other people risk their lives at breakneck speeds isn’t to be shunned!

Hopefully that gives you a nice taste of the range of outdoor activities in the Lake district and gets you excited to plan a trip. Stag do’s and large parties are particularly well catered for in terms of the outdoor opportunities here and I’d recommend you stay for at least a week to really get your adrenaline pumping. Just try also to relax and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the beautiful pubs as well.




Feb 10, 2012 8:10am
What a great article on what to do in the lake District. Cumberland, or Cumbria as it is now called is amazing. My uncle lives there and I try to get the the Lakes to do the tourist thing when we go back to England to visit.

Great ideas and activities in your article, voted up.
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