Our Favourite Hidden Gems of the Lake District

We did some exploring to save you some time!

Read all about some of our favourite hidden gems of the Lake District

We know how much you love to visit us at The Swan Hotel & Spa and although it’s great to kick back and relax, you might fancy a day out to discover and explore some of our favourite hidden gems of the Lake District. It’s not always easy to uncover them if you’re unfamiliar with the area – but no need to worry, we’re here to help!

We recently did some exploring (…and sampling of delectable treats) to bring you our favourite recommendations for a delightful day out! We’ve also split these ideas by method of travel, so hopefully we’ve got an activity to suit everyone. If you’ve located your own, then why not contact us via our socials? We’d love to hear from you!

By Foot

Stott Park Bobbin Mill – Approx 35-minute walk

We all know the value of some historical and cultural enrichment, so we’d invite you to take a visit to Stott Park Bobbin Mill. Situated a stone’s throw from Lake Windermere, it’s a lovely experience for adults and children alike and it’s the only working Bobbin Mill left in the Lake District today!
Delve into the history of the Mill and learn how integral it was to Lancashire’s spinning and weaving industries. There are guided tours (no need to book in advance!), exhibitions and some stunning scenery. It was particularly green when we visited, so make sure you spare some time to take a stroll through the luscious woodlands!
You can visit the English Heritage website to book in advance for best prices, and to check out what’s on at the Bobbin Mill.

View of the mill

By Car

The Little Ice Cream Shop, Hawkshead – Approx. 20-minute drive

Ice cream. What more needs to be said? Well, perhaps that this delightful and independently owned parlour serves up scoops of delicious gelato, not only in a range of flavours but there’s a selection for those of you looking for gluten-free and vegan options. There are also dairy-free and sorbet options on offer too. We’re also reliably informed that gelato is creamier and low in fat – so there’s no guilt here!


We’re only a 20-minute drive from The Little Ice Cream shop, so it’s the perfect stop off on the way back to us or when you set off for a stroll around Hawkshead. Don’t forget, if your furry friend is accompanying you there’s also the DOGGO WOOF WOOF, their pooch-friendly ice cream.
We sampled their salted caramel, mint choc chip, cookies and cream. All absolutely exceptional, AND you can select from a wide range of cones and toppings.
Don’t just take our word for it, add it to your agenda and let the fun times begin with a scoop (or two, or three)! Oh, and if you head out to Windermere, they’ve also got a shop there – that’s potentially two days of ice cream fun to be had…

The Little Ice Cream Shop, hidden gems of the lake district

The KITTchen, Hawkshead – Approx. 20-minute drive

If you are indeed taking a trip to Hawkshead for the day, why not pay a visit to The KITTchen? This bar serves up a selection of beverages and supports independent breweries.

What makes KITTchen extra special is that they’re home to seven rescue cats you can visit while you enjoy your drinks! They also regularly host events and have an online store, so if you’re missing your favourite pint, you can make a purr-chase online once you’re at home. There’s also the option to donate a meal to the furry friends you’ll have made while there!

Hawkshead bar

Cartmel – Approx. 12-minutes Drive

We spent a fair bit of time in one of Cumbria’s most picturesque and popular villages – after a stroll around we couldn’t simply recommend just one place to visit so here are a few for you to choose from:

Cartmel Cheese

For those fromage aficionados! Stop by and treat yourself to something tasty. There is, of course, a HUGE selection of cheeses, but also a delicatessen with a wide range of accompaniments for your cheese board, and gifts for you to take home with you.

Cartmel Drinkshop & Wine Snug

Whilst you’re there, take (a very short) stroll across Unsworth’s Yard and into this fabulous shop. They specialise in a wide range of fine wines, spirits and liquors. There’s a try-before-you-buy option, but if you’re looking to savour your selection there’s a courtyard outside perfect for a sunny afternoon!

Lakeland Segway

Feeling adventurous? You can tour Cartmel via Segway! Lakeland Segway are recipients of the “Best Experience in Cumbria”, awarded by Cumbria Tourism – so you know you’re guaranteed a great time.

You’ll be familiar with some of the stand-out attractions Cartmel is home to that may require a booking (L’Enclume, Cartmel Races etc) but it really is a lovely spot for a stop-off on your day out, plus it’s only 12 minutes away from The Swan!

Inside the Cartmerl cheese shop

By Boat

Windermere Lake Cruises Bowness, Ambleside or Lakeside

What better way to see some of the hidden gems of the Lake District (other than up a peak) than by water? If you’re looking to take in the stunning scenery of the Lake District, we’d recommend paying a visit to one of the three “ports” Windermere Lake Cruises sail from.

There’s a variety of options and destinations to choose from; you can take part in a group tour, make use of the self-drive or even private hire if you’re celebrating a special event.

The Lakeside Pier is a mere 22-minute walk from The Swan, so why not set sail from there?

Lake Windermere