There are department stores, specialist shops and factory outlets in the main towns, from Lakeland Limited in Windermere to Hawkshead in Bowness-on-Windermere, which has something for everyone. Below is a line-up of some of the better shops around the Lake District.
Blackwell Arts & Crafts House just down the road offers fine crafts and books. In Bowness just a mile away, you will find Peter Rabbit and Friends. On nearby Ash Street go to George Banks Jewellers for quality watches and jewellery, and then there is Helen’s Chocolates. Up the hill and on the right you will find a really good cooking shop and further on is Stuarts Sports (outdoor gear).
On up to Windermere where you will find kitchenware stockist Lakeland; Booths, which is full of local food and drink; Windermere Wines, which stocks wine and beer too; and Gina Ricci, which sells outdoor clothing and accessories, including brands such as Barbour and Dubarry.
Ambleside has a plethora of outdoor shops, including well-known Cunningham’s and Gaynor’s, which is vast. Tysons are the best at boot fitting – well worth it if you are serious about walking the fells. The Old Court House Gallery offers arts and fine cards, and Henry Roberts stocks books and maps. Zeffirelli’s serves coffee and excellent vegetarian options. Chesters by the River, situated to the left of the Skelwith Bridge Hotel, offers great shopping and food. The owner also has the famous Drunken Duck Inn at nearby Barngates.
In Grasmere you will find the famous Gingerbread Shop and Sam Read’s book shop, which sells a range of books from Wordsworth’s poetry to Wainwright’s guides. Also try Herdy’s shop, which is full of ideas for Christmas. For coffee, tea or a snack, try Baldry’s – they sell some pretty gifts too. There is also a gallery showcasing Heaton Cooper’s Lake District paintings.
Hawkshead is a great little car-free village which is known for Hawkshead, an outdoor store, and the Beatrix Potter gallery. Poppi Red is an intriguing gallery that has its own tea shop. Also pop in to Henry Roberts book shop and Hawkshead Relish.
Keswick is about 23 miles (37 kilometres) away from the hotel. George Fisher, with its boot-fitting facility and café, is the best outdoor gear shop in the Lake District. Keswick is an easy town to stroll through with a good antique shop in the centre. Bryson’s craft bakery and tea shop is also worth a visit (as is its sister shop back in Bowness at the bottom of town).
Kendal is a good size market town just 7 miles (11 kilometres) away with all sorts of shops, galleries and tea rooms. Our favourite is Armstrong Ward Lifestyle near Booths, which sells an array of homeware, including Emma Bridgewater, gifts, arty items and quality children’s items. Also in Kendal is the Made in Cumbria shop, Frank Stainton’s wine shop and Baba Ganoush Food Shop & Canteen.
Just a few miles north of Kendal off the A590 is Staveley. This is home to one of the makers of tomorrow’s antiques Peter Hall’s beautiful wooden objects. Also in Staveley is Wheelbase, which is one of the biggest cycle shops in the UK. Hawkshead Brewery, which had to move from Hawkshead due to its size, offers great beers on tap and to take away, as well as tapas and meals. Or you could opt for More?, the artisan bakery next door. Inglefield garden centre, on the road going north out of the village, offers plants and unusual trees.
On the way out of Cumbria South to Junction 36, M6 is the multi award-winning Barn Shop at Sizergh, just off the A590 south of Kendal, which offers delicious food to take home from the best producers in Cumbria, as well as crafts and gifts. If you’re going north up the M6 call in at the Westmorland Services for top notch food – it’s owned by farmers.