As a tourist destination, the Lake District packs quite a punch – with such an amazing array of beautiful landscapes, and exciting visitor attractions to suit all tastes and ages.

With so much to see and do, it is no easy task to select a ‘top ten’ list of places to visit – but we’ve aimed to highlight a good variety of attractions so that you can spot something to suit your tastes.

Literary Treats

1.Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse

Enter into a time capsule of the famous children’s author’s life at Hill Top, the 17th century farmhouse that has been kept just as it was when she lived there. If you have children, don’t miss the lovely kids’ garden trail.

2. Dove Cottage, The Wordsworth Museum & Wordsworth’s grave (Grasmere)

For Wordsworth fans, a visit to 17th century Dove Cottage in Grasmere – the home of poet William Wordsworth from 1799 to 1808 – will top their Lake District itinerary. Enjoy the 20-minute guided tour then wander at your leisure; visit the museum for one of the greatest collections of items relating to British Romanticism; then polish off your visit with some cake in the Dove Cottage tea rooms. While you’re in Grasmere, visit Wordsworth’s grave in the village at St Oswald’s Church.

History & Heritage

3. Muncaster Castle-Ravenglass

A historic castle that is said to be haunted, Muncaster is set in 70 acres of landscaped gardens and is also home to the World Owl Centre and the MeadowVole Maze. Visit with the family during the day, or join a night-time ‘Ghost Sit’ for a spookier experience.

4. Blackwell: the arts and crafts house

An internationally-important icon of Arts and Crafts architecture, Blackwell is home to period rooms that are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts furniture and early country-made pieces advocated by its architect, Baillie Scott. Visitors can explore the entire property and enjoy stunning views over the Lakeland scenery at Bowness.

Family Fun

5.Brockhole: the Lake District Visitor Centre

With plenty to get stuck into, Brockhole is an ideal destination for a fun family day out. Explore the gardens and the adventure playground; play mini-golf; or embark on lake-based activities such as kayaking, rowing or walking on water inside a giant inflatable ball. And brand new for 2012 is the aerial woodland adventure Treetop Trek and wildlife experience at Predator Park.

6. Windermere Lake Cruises (Windermere)

Enjoy a relaxing cruise on a Windermere Steamer for views of dramatic mountain scenery, sheltered bays, and lush, wooded islands. Create a whole day out by combining a trip on the lake with a stop off at one of the lakeside attractions, such as the Lakeland Motor Museum or the award-winning Lakes Aquarium – or head out in the evening for a romantic sunset cruise.

7. Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway (Ravenglass)

The Lakeland’s oldest, longest and most scenic railway takes visitors on a seven-mile journey from Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, to ‘Boot Station’ at Dalegarth, the ideal base for walkers, nestled at the foot of the Scafell Range. Head off along one of the many trails to enjoy this spectacularly scenic part of the Lakes.

8. The Lakes Aquarium

On the shores of Lake Windermere, the Lakes Aquarium lets visitors explore all sorts of underwater worlds, from Morecambe Bay to more exotic continents, as well as coming face-to-face with amphibians and reptiles in the Tropical Rainforest, and embarking on a recreated journey beneath Lake Windermere.

9. Honister Slate Mine & The ‘Via Ferrata’

At England’s last working slate mine, visitors can follow the ancient miner’s cliff-edge ‘Via Ferrata’ footpath high on Fleetwith Pike for a safe but thrilling outdoor family activity — while those seeking a seriously adrenalin-fuelled experience can try the more daring Via Ferrata Xtreme.

Wildlife Attractions

10. South Lakes Wild Animal Park

Hand-feed giraffes and penguins at this unique open wildlife conservation zoo; join the keepers for big cat feeding; and enjoy a ride on the miniature train. The zoo packs in animals from all over the world, and offers plenty to do throughout the day, alongside an on-site restaurant, picnic areas and gift shop.

This is just a tiny taste of what Windermere and the Lake District has to offer – browse through our other articles for further inspiration for things to do during your stay with us at the Howbeck Guest House.