Wainwright may have wanted the fells all for himself but he didn’t mention anything about the shops being off limits, so without a smidgeon of guilt here’s my guide to the region’s best retail therapy.
Shops in the Lakes tend to be open Monday to Saturday 9am-5.30pm or 6pm. Stores in larger towns will often open late for at least one evening a week while larger supermarkets tend to open for longer hours again, some through the night even. You may find some market towns have half day closing once a week – often on a Wednesday. Likewise, in smaller centres of population, stores can sometimes be closed on a Sunday, while those that do open will do so 10am-4pm or 11am-5pm due to Sunday trading laws.
The Lakes’ retail gems are spread far and wide across the area, but it’s well worth the excursion for some unique finds.
Foremost is the mouth-watering array of fine foods locally produced, not least of which is the much-vaunted Cumberland sausage. Thanks to backing from the EU, the Cumberland is now a protected species that can only be made in Cumbria. The Cartmel Village Shop, home to the famous sticky toffee pudding, is the Holy Grail for foodies (The Square, Cartmel LA11 6QB; +44 1539 536280; www.cartmelvillageshop.co.uk).
Gourmet food aside, the Lakes also offers a wide variety of locally produced artworks and crafts with independent outlets still flourishing. Raise a glass to English craftsmanship at Cumbria Crystal in Ulverston, a working crystal glassware factory which is the last of its kind in England (The Lakes Glass Centre, Ulverston LA12 7LB; +44 1229 584400; www.cumbriacrystal.com).
For more advice on shopping in the Lake District, see Shopping in Ambleside, Shopping in Grasmere, Shopping in Hawkshead, Shopping in Kendal, Shopping in Keswick, Shopping in Penrith and Shopping in Windermere.