My favourite place to visit in the UK, especially in the Autumn, but year round the Lake District is just beautiful with so much to offer. The great outdoors, beautiful hotels, incredible views, scenery and hot traditional British pub food may be the reason it is so popular to visit, but there is a whole host of local produce, gifts and treats available to bring a bit of the Lakes back home with you. These are some of my favourite worthwhile souvenirs from the Lake District, that aren’t the tacky, never to be used again kind.
Gin, Whisky or Vodka from The Lakes Distillery
The Lakes Distillery near Keswick is a great afternoon out for either a tour of the whisky distillery, carry out some tastings, have lunch in the Bistro, or if you want to see some alpacas in the field behind. They have an onsite gift shop which is filled with all their whiskies, gins and vodkas, as well as some other unique gifts.
We picked up a bottle of gin each after trying a few different flavours over lunch, and I got a rhubarb gin lip balm too. I’m regretting not getting a stuffed toy alpaca for Arthur as well.
The Bath House products
The Bath House is a luxury brand that was formed locally in the Lake District but over the years has expanded with 7 premises across the North. Their concept is artisans of natural beauty, and all their skincare and fragrances conform to this. They’re also beautiful, and so are the shops including the one in Ambleside.
It’s worth a full browse, but some of the products I’ve experienced are the hand sanitiser, the fragrances and most recently a natural charcoal face mask that is very light on the skin and I love it.
Homeware from Chesters By The River
A short drive from Ambleside, and a river walk along from Langdale is Chesters cafe, and as well as the cafe itself there is a lovely shop just next door that sells all sorts including books, cards, children’s gifts and a big range of homeware. It’s really good stuff too, not the cheapest but it’s a bit different.
The book section is also worth spending some time browsing, as they have a big range on locally inspired dishes, vegan specific books, and also local walking, hiking and camping guides.
Chocolate & Sweets from Ye Olde Friars
Founded in 1927 the Friars Chocolate shop of Keswick is still in the same family today, now with another shop in Ambleside. All their chocolates are hand made and they were the first to make the Prosecco truffle, then the gin truffle – both of which are amazing by the way.
In addition to a full counter of hand made chocolates, they have all sorts of sweets, chocolate boxes, biscuits, nougat, jams and chutneys. You can easily spend a fortune in there, and they are especially worth a visit in the run up to Christmas for all the Christmas themed goodies.
Beatrix Potter gifts
The famous Beatrix Potter might be widely known for her children’s books and illustrations, but she was also a conservationist and acquired so much land in the Lake District area that she left to the National Trust. Her tales of Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Jemima Puddleduck and Mrs Tiggiwinkle have made up childhoods including my own for a very long time, and her legacy goes on at the World Of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere.
The attraction itself requires tickets, but the Beatrix Potter books, merchandise, gifts, children’s clothes and toys are available from the shop, and many others across the Lake District.
World famous and over 160 years old you can still buy Sarah Nelson’s original recipe gingerbread from the same place she created and first made it. The tiny shop in Grasmere often has huge queues outside, but it’s worth it.
Buy some and then take a stroll through Wordsworth’s daffodil garden. For a tiny little place there have been some big names coming out of it!
Art supplies from Derwent Pencil Museum
Did you know the first pencil was made in the Lake District? There is an entire museum dedicated to pencils, the history, a graphite mine and unique pencils including (the worlds biggest, the Queens jubilee and WW2 pencils) in Keswick. The Derwent Pencil Museum may seem a strange sort of museum to visit, however it’s a good choice for a very rainy day or if you’re interested in art.
I loved art and took it for both GCSE and A Level. The gift shop was amazing for everything from full sets of fine art Derwent pencils, charcoal and oil pastels. I’d get a new set every time we went to the Lakes.
Prints & Supplies from Heaton Cooper Studio
Being one of the most stunning natural landscapes in the UK naturally the Lakes is the focal point for many painters, poets and artists. So of course there are an abundance of galleries across the entire National Park that sell paintings, photography and prints. I couldn’t even begin to list them all as they are everywhere, but one that is worth a mention is Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, as they also have a fully stocked fine art supply shop as well as being a gallery to purchase from.
Mr Duffin’s Fresh Coffee
Until our most recent trip to the Lake District I hadn’t heard of this, but we got a packet of it in our welcome pack at Mirefoot Cottages. We made it every morning and it was seriously good coffee. They are based in Staveley near Kendal but you can also put in online orders.
Kendal Mint Cake
Available to buy from all over the Lake District, especially mountain shops and confectionary shops, Kendal Mint Cake is another Lake District gem that has a long and local history. More of an energy bar, so great for mountain climbing or hiking, it has even conquered Everest.
Of course the best place to buy it would be Kendal itself, a pretty town with a castle, river walk and plenty of cute little cafes.
The relishes and preserves made by Hawkshead Relish company began as a sideline to what was originally their family run cafe. As people asked to buy them after enjoying meals there, they began to make them to sell in jars, and now have over 100 different products. There are stockists everywhere but they have a shop in Hawkshead.
All Your Outdoor Needs from George Fisher‘s
Mountain climbing, hiking and camping shops aren’t exactly hard to come by in the Lakes, with one literally on every corner, but as far as they go George Fisher in Keswick is one of the best. Walking boots, camping equipment, waterproofs and a huge dog section it has everything you’d need for a cold, wet British winter.
The cafe on the top floor is pretty good too, with views across some of the Lakes finest mountains and their tea cakes are delicious.
Fresh food at Keswick Market
The market in the centre of Keswick runs every Saturday, and is filled with stalls from local butchers, cheese makers, and all sorts of hand made crafts. If you’re lucky the Greek stall will be there too and they have a great selection of olives and feta cheese.
Lakeland Slate Co.
The Lakeland Slate Company near Keswick sources traditional green Lakes slate from multiple sites across the park. Boring as it may seem, they’re known for signage, house numbers, coasters and placemats, and kitchen worktops. You might need to be in the market for this type of stuff but if you are they’re worth a look.
As you can see not all souvenirs need to be the tacky kind, that you throw out within a week of coming home. Everything listed here is actually worth spending your money on, and a further trip to the Lakes to stock back up when you run out.
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