Walking is at the heart of the Eden Valley experience, even if you only make the short stroll to The Boot and Shoe Inn in Greystoke, with its fine ales and hearty menu.
If you’re trekking further, Aira Force waterfall is a good place to start. Keep going for a more challenging hike over Gowbarrow Fell with views over Ullswater. A cuppa and a creamy scone in the tea rooms will be your reward.
Other great walks will take you to Lacey’s Caves or to the ancient stone circle, Long Meg and her daughters. It’s a gently undulating walk that spans the generation gap.
You can enjoy the views in any weather with a drive over the Kirkstone Pass – Lakeland’s highest – from Patterdale to Ambleside, or along the Honister Pass with a diversion through the Honister Slate Mines with its fast zip line. Take a picnic and stop off by Aira Force.
Elsewhere, the Ullswater steamer is a great way to see both lake and landscape, or you can trek through treetops, see Shakespeare’s cottage and eat proper gingerbread at Grasmere, ride ponies at Coniston or watch the wildlife at Bassenthwaite.
For sustenance, you’ll find tea rooms, pubs and restaurants galore.
Cruise across Ullswater and engage the children with the kids’ club, with its activities and child-friendly maps.
Kids can go potty for pottery at Crafty Monkeys in Penrith, with pottery wheels, pottery painting, glass painting, mosaic making and plant-pot painting all on the agenda.
Take to the trees at Go Ape! or let off steam at the Glenridding Activity Centre, with pirate events, rafting, Swallows and Amazons, sailing and picnics a great way to lose a few hours.
The Lakes are a perfect place to try pony trekking, boating or biking. You can take a lovely pony trek over Barton Fell above Ullswater. Hire some bikes and head for the hills. Build dams and wet your wellies in Lakeland becks, go on a ghost walk, or just potter and explore the Eden Valley.
Ullswater steamers combine the best of two lovely worlds: serene lake cruising and country walking. If you’d prefer to see the landscape from horseback, try pony trekking, and enjoy panoramic views across the lake from Barton Fell.
You can shoot clays in the grounds or head out for a blast of quad biking – or blast your friends at a paintballing session.
Aira Force waterfall is a two-hour walk, but worth every minute. Its 65-foot drop comes wrapped in pretty woodland. Extend the walk to High Force or Gowbarrow Fell. Keep an eye out for red squirrels.
Elsewhere, you can see 3D films at Rheged at Penrith, tuck into delicious local produce from award-winning Greystone House Farm, fly falcons at the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre, and enjoy all manner of quirky workshops. Artisan bread baking or English longbow making, anyone?
Pubs are plentiful: try the Boot and Shoe Inn at Greystoke for great grub. Restaurants, tea rooms and coffee bars offer more-sober refreshment. Equally prevalent is the historic past, in the shape of more houses, gardens, abbeys and castles than you can shake a stick at.