The Lake District is better known as a destination for hiking than shopping, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to buy. While you won’t find high street fashion in the national park’s tiny towns and villages, there’s an outstanding array of truly unique shopping experiences in the Lake District, with great local goods sold by remarkably popular independent shops.

    You won't be spoilt for choice when souvenir shopping in the Lake District. The speciality of the region is definitely food items, especially sweets, but you'll also find iconic homeware, antiques, and artworks inspired by the amazing natural scenery all around you. Check out our guide to the best shopping experiences in the Lake District.


    Farmers’ markets

    Save on your food costs by buying directly from the growers

    • Shoppers
    • Budget
    • Food

    Restaurants in the Lake District can lean towards the expensive side, so self-catering is one of the best ways to cut down on the cost. While there are supermarkets where you can stock up on supplies, you'll get much better prices and more enjoyable experience at a farmers' market.

    Most of the markets around the Lake District are held at specific times of the month in the towns on the national park's outskirts. For example, Kendal's street markets take place on the last Friday of the month, Penrith's is on the 3rd Tuesday, and Cockermouth's on the 1st Saturday. In the park itself, Keswick Farmers' Market is held on the 2nd Thursday of the month.


    Cumbria Crystal

    See celebrity ornaments being created at this factory shop

    • Shoppers
    • Luxury

    The dazzling products of Cumbria Crystal have been featured in James Bond films and on TV shows like Downton Abbey, so you know they must be of supreme quality. They are created using techniques that date back to Roman times by a small team of skilled craftspeople working in a factory shop just south of the Lake District National Park.

    The factory is worth a visit just to watch the staff at work, but the products of their labours are truly remarkable. Its range includes various designs of glasses, jugs, decanters, vases, bowls, dishes and more, most of which have a distinctive local flair. Naturally, Cumbria Crystal’s premium quality items come with a hefty price tag, but you can get a considerable discount by checking out its factory outlet range, which features products with only slight imperfections.

    Location: Unit 4 Canal St, Ulverston LA12 7LB, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 4 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)1229 584400


    Keswick Market

    Stock up on boutique items, souvenirs and local produce

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Shoppers

    Keswick Market is one of the best places to soak up the local culture and stock up on arts and crafts, takeaway bites and local produce. Held on Thursdays and Saturdays, this award-winning outdoor market has been running for over 740 years.

    In almost every village in the Lake District, you’ll find boutique stores, designer brands and souvenirs. Other notable weekly markets are held in towns such as Barrow-in-Furness (Monday), Penrith (Tuesday), Ambleside (Wednesday), and Egremont (Friday).

    Location: Market Square, Keswick, CA12 5JR, UK

    Open: Thursday and Saturday from 8 am to 4.30 pm (closed on Thursdays in January)


    photo by User:Diliff (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Hawkshead Relish Company

    Grab a tangy taste of the Lake District to preserve your fond memories

    • Families
    • Shoppers
    • Food

    Among the many unique flavours that Cumbria has given the world, the selection from the Hawkshead Relish Company is one of the most extensive and popular. Using high-quality ingredients, it has created over 100 relishes, preserves, jams, chutneys, pickles, marmalades, mustards, jellies and sauces, over 60 of which have won awards.

    The family-run business in a little village just north of Esthwaite Water started in 1999, growing from a busy café to large-scale distribution of its amazingly popular relishes. Remarkably, every one of its extensive range of products is still handmade using traditional techniques and equipment. They are also free of nuts, gluten, additives and chemical preservatives, with all being vegetarian friendly and most even suitable for vegans. If you want a proper taste of the Lakes, we suggest getting the original Westmorland Chutney, which has a rich flavour of dates, prunes, apricots and ginger.

    Location: The Square, Hawkshead, Ambleside LA22 0NZ, UK

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 5.30 am, Sunday from 10 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)15394 36614


    Windermere’s Fairtrade stores

    Ethical shopping in the Lake District’s main hub town

    • Shoppers
    • Food

    Windermere old-fashioned town centre is home to a great selection of independent stores selling Fairtrade goods. In fact, Windermere and Bowness officially became a Fairtrade town in January 2005. Taking a walk around the town’s old stone and timber frame buildings will reveal some interesting places to stock up on supplies or grab a few unique souvenirs.

    Highlights to look out for include Windermere Wine Store on Crescent Road, Manuka Health Food Store on Main Road and supermarket chains Booths and the Co-op. Many cafés, guesthouses and hotels also make use of Fairtrade goods, so you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your trip to the Lakes is doing some good in the developing world.


    photo by Jorge Franganillo (CC BY 2.0) modified



    Sink your teeth into some innovative sweet flavours

    • Couples
    • Families
    • Shoppers
    • Food

    The Friars chocolate shop has been operating since 1927, with the first store opened by William Long in Keswick. Now joined by a 2nd store in Ambleside, the family-run brand continues to make innovative and high-quality chocolates that range from English classics to iconic inventions of its own.

    The store made a name for itself by making the first prosecco truffle, following it up soon after with its gin truffle. More recent creations include a unique Easter treat – the hot cross bun truffle. For the environmentally conscious, it’s worth noting that Friars was among the first chocolatiers to transition towards 100% biodegradable packaging – the store even offers vegan chocolates.

    Location: 6-8 Main St, Keswick CA12 5JD, UK

    Open: Monday – Saturday from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm, Sunday from 10.30 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)17687 72234


    Ambleside’s art galleries

    Take home the beauty of the Lake District

    • Shoppers

    It’s hardly surprising that the picturesque little town of Ambleside, with its premier view along the length of Lake Windermere, is home to so many art galleries. Easy to get to, it’s one of the most popular holiday towns in the Lake District. It’s home to plenty of stores where you can pick up a beautiful reminder of time well spent in the area.

    The choices of art galleries include Old Courthouse Gallery, La Galerie D'Art, Hobbs Gallery and Peter Hill Fine Art Kentmere Gallery. There are also various smaller gift shops selling excellent pictures, like Signature & Memorabilia Ltd and The Crux of Ambleside.


    photo by Jorge Franganillo (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

    An ‘old-school’ bakery, in every sense of the word

    • Shoppers
    • History
    • Food

    Grasmere Gingerbread Shop stocks the unique and very popular product that gives the bakery its name. Invented in 1854 by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson, Grasmere gingerbread is a spicy-sweet combination of biscuit and cake. It goes great with another Cumbrian invention that the shop also makes and sells – rum butter.

    The family-run Grasmere Gingerbread Shop occupies what was once a small village school, built in the 1630s. The period look is even stronger on the inside, as is the enticing smell of fresh ginger. You can pick up other local delights here, including Penrith butter fudge, Kendal mint cake and Cartmel sticky toffee chocolates.

    Location: Church Cottage, Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9SW, UK

    Open: Daily from 9.15 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)15394 35428


    Unsworth's Yard

    Get your fill of local food and drinks

    • Shoppers
    • Food

    Unsworth’s Yard is a little hidden gem of a food court in Cartmel, just to the south of the Lake District National Park. The little courtyard is surrounded by the Unworth’s Yard Brewery that gives the place its name, with other highlights including Cartmel Cheeses, The Wine Snug and Mallard Tea Shop – see if you can guess what each place sells.

    Each of the shops in and around Unsworth's Yard is locally famous for its goods, which generally stick to local recipes. If a tasty snack in a cosy environment doesn't satisfy your shopping urges, have a wander around the nearby streets and you'll find a gift shop, a vintage and antiques store and a bookstore. The Cartmel Village Shop is somewhat iconic and worth a visit, too.

    Location: Ford Rd, Cartmel LA11 6QD, UK


    photo by BazzaDaRambler (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Westmorland Shopping Centre

    Your last taste of high street shopping before the Lakes

    • Shoppers

    Westmorland Shopping Centre is a modern mall in the centre of Kendal, just outside the Lake District National Park. As the shopping in the park itself consists mostly of small independent stores, this will likely be your last chance to browse high-street names before you reach your rural paradise.

    Brands found in Westmorland Shopping Centre include Clarks, Topshop, Thomas Cook, and Superdrug. It's hardly Harrods, but it's the best you'll find anywhere nearby. The mall itself is a lovely place to explore, offering a short of historical street look with a glass roof protecting you from the elements.

    Location: Stricklandgate, Kendal LA9 4LR, UK

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 8.30 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 9.30 am to 4.15 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)15397 40060


    photo by Lewis Clarke (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    George Fisher

    Stock up on your outdoors supplies

    • Shoppers

    George Fisher in Keswick is a great local outlet where you can prepare yourself for tackling the Lake District’s breathtaking landscape. Its range includes the top brands in everything from base layers to accessories for men, women and children. The store also has an extensive choice of equipment for camping, hiking, climbing and even skiing.

    An excellent feature of George Fisher is the option to buy online and collect your gear from the store in person. With the store being right in the Lake District, there are few better places to have your new outdoor clothes ready and waiting for you.

    Location: 2 Borrowdale Rd, Keswick CA12 5DA, UK

    Open: Monday–Wednesday and Friday–Saturday from 9 am to 5.30 pm, Thursday from 10 am to 5.30 pm, Sunday from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)17687 72178


    photo by Jim Barton (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Adventure Peaks

    Outdoor store, climbing wall and tour operator all in one place

    • Shoppers
    • Adventure

    Adventure Peaks is an outdoor outfitting store with a bit of a difference. Not only does it stock quite an impressive range of big-brand clothing, footwear and equipment, but also offers opportunities to put your purchases to the test. It organises walking and climbing expeditions and courses that take full advantage of the challenging terrain available in the Lake District.

    Noteworthy features of the store include one of the best selections of trekking boots in the UK, a nice café above the shop (aptly named Café Altitude), and a climbing wall where you can hone your skills before taking on the natural cliffs in the area. You can also choose to rent gear if you only need it for the duration of your visit.

    Location: 101 Lake Rd, Ambleside LA22 0DB, UK

    Open: Daily from 9 am to 5.30 pm

    Phone: +44 (0)15394 33794

    Ben Reeves | Compulsive Traveller

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