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26 issues to do within the Lake District with children

26 issues to do within the Lake District with children


It’s famend for uplifting poets and artists, however there’s way more to find within the Lake District with children than the gorgeous surroundings.

A view of Tarn Hows, a small lake in the Lake District surrounded by woodland - discovering the best things to do in the Lake District with kids, beyond the gorgeous scenery

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In fact, in the event you’re seeking to get open air on this beautiful slice of Cumbria, there are numerous child-friendly walks in addition to boat journeys galore on the lakes themselves – but in addition loads of Lake District household sights to find.

From Peter Rabbit to historic castles, animal sights and the possibility to journey on a heritage railway, listed here are my high 26 issues to do within the Lake District with children.

Take a ship cruise

You possibly can’t go to the Lake District with out going out on at the very least one lake, and there are an entire string of Lake District boat cruises to select from.

In addition to letting households discover the lakes from a special perspective, most cruises make a number of stops at piers and cities, so you may simply mix a ship journey with different walks and family-friendly sights within the Lake District.

You’ll be spoiled for selection relying the place you keep, however for a number of the finest boat cruises within the Lake District, strive the next.

Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston Water

This rebuilt Victorian steam-powered yacht is without doubt one of the most uncommon methods to discover the lakes.

Initially inbuilt 1859, the Nationwide Belief’s Steam Yacht Gondola is the oldest steam yacht within the north of England, operating three to 4 scenic lake cruises on Coniston Water per day.

In addition to getting a style of what life was like for rich Victorians on their pleasure cruises, there’s a commentary on the world’s historical past as you absorb the surroundings.

Sea Serpent figurehead of the Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water - one of the most unusual boat trips in the Lake District with kids

Nationwide Belief members get a ten% low cost with youngsters below 5 travelling free.

Prebooking is strongly beneficial and you’ll select a method cruises topic to availability, or the complete lake cruise, which prices solely barely greater than the north or south lake stretch alone.

Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises run a number of each day cruises throughout England’s largest lake on each historic steamboats and extra fashionable launches.

You possibly can select to embark at Ambleside, Brockhole, Bowness & Lakeside, with 10.5 miles of lake to discover and completely different routes taking you to a number of the lakeside sights. Not all routes run outdoors the primary April to October season.

There’s commentary on board and you may also purchase ‘freedom of the lake’ tickets, which allow you to hop on and off, together with 48 hour choices, plus tickets together with sights or bus journey.

You possibly can select shorter routes, together with a 45-minute sail from Bowness and a 50-minute route from Ambleside, in the event you’re visiting the Lake District with toddlers – the Inexperienced Cruise route is especially good for households.

Ullswater Steamers

Ullswater Steamers operates one of many largest heritage boat fleets on the earth, and their cruises are even dog-friendly in the event you’re visiting the Lake District with pets.

The boat journeys allow you to cruise across the lake in about two hours, or you may bounce off to discover the completely different stops, together with the spectacular Aira Pressure waterfall.

There’s an open deck for sunny days, sheltered higher deck seating areas and indoor downstairs saloons when the climate isn’t so good, and bogs.

the Ullswater Boat House at Lake District National Park reflected in the water - if you're visiting the Lake District with kids, a cruise here is one of the best family boat trips to try

Watersports at Coniston Boating Centre

If you’d like a extra lively expertise than merely sitting on a ship, one other solution to discover the Lakes with children is by participating in a number of the water sports activities on provide.

And Coniston Boating Centre is without doubt one of the finest spots within the Lake District for household enjoyable on the water.

There are a number of choices for boat rent too, from a contemporary motorboat to a conventional wood rowing boat, or open-Canadian canoe for some enjoyable out of doors adventures with little ones whereas admiring the surroundings.

Teenagers can even head out onto the lake on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Effectively-behaved pets are allowed on the boats too in the event you’re travelling along with your four-legged buddy. There’s additionally bike rent that can assist you discover on land too.

Brockhole on Windermere

Brockhole on Windermere is without doubt one of the finest days out within the Lake District with children who like to get lively, with a lot to maintain the entire household entertained.

Sitting on the shores of Windermere inside the grounds of a good looking Victorian summer time residence, youngsters can benefit from the massive journey playground, go-karting, mini-golf, archery, tree-top trekking, indoor caving, nature trails and orienteering programs, and many extra. 

Throughout the hotter summer time months, you may rent rowing boats, kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards to go out onto the lake as properly.

There’s additionally a customer centre and museum, scenic gardens, a woodland faerie path, a number of cafes, a restaurant, and a present store full of native artisan merchandise for a full household day trip within the Lakes.

World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness-on-Windermere

See a number of the most celebrated English youngsters’s storybooks of all time come to life at the World of Beatrix Potter

The family-friendly Lake District attraction helps you to stroll by means of the acquainted tales as a part of a singular sensory expertise, in addition to exploring Peter Rabbit’s Backyard.

You’ll see characters from the writer’s most well-known books, together with Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mr Todd, and Jeremy Fisher, whereas exploring a fascinating recreation of the Lake District countryside, which helped encourage the unique tales. 

Hold a watch out for particular household pleasant occasions, reminiscent of Peter Rabbit tea events, and reside reveals within the connecting Outdated Laundry Theatre too.

If you happen to’re on the lookout for extra Beatrix Potter, her residence at Hill Prime – purchased with the proceeds from the Story of Peter Rabbit – is round half an hour away throughout the lake. Have to be prebooked.

The grounds of Hill Top, a 17th Century House once home to Beatrix Potter - if you're visiting the Lake District with kids, a visit here helps bring her stories to life

Wray Fort, Ambleside

Set on the banks of Lake Windermere, Wray Fort is a Nationwide Belief property that has been became an thrilling child-friendly attraction.

Constructed in the course of the Victorian period as a mock-Gothic fort, its imposing turrets and towers seem like one thing straight off the pages of a youngsters’s fairytale ebook. 

Inside, the fort doesn’t have the standard historic furnishings and paintings that you simply count on from Nationwide Belief properties – which makes it all of the extra enjoyable for households!

As an alternative, its rooms are crammed with little one pleasant actions, reminiscent of desk tennis, large video games, interval dressing up, smooth play, and humanities and crafts. There are additionally Peter Rabbit Journey rooms, that includes Peter’s Burrow, Mr McGregor’s backyard, and extra.

With loads of indoor actions, Wray Fort is without doubt one of the high issues to do within the Lake District with children on a wet day – or simple to mix with a Lake District boat journey within the sunshine too.

Muncaster Fort, Ravenglass

If you’d like a genuinely historic fort, head in direction of the western Lake District the place Muncaster Fort overlooks the River Esk.

Courting again to the thirteenth century, the Grade I listed constructing is legendary for its lovely interiors and lengthy and interesting historical past. 

Kids will love exploring the fort’s 70+ acres of untamed woodland gardens, with an journey playground and indoor maze in addition to the colorful flowers and views over the encompassing valleys.

The Hawk & Owl Centre, set inside the fort gardens, can be properly value a go to with children. Try the Birds of Prey shows to see the majestic creatures hovering proper over your head.

Sizbergh Castle medieval stone keep in Cumbria against a blue sky - one of the best things to do in the Lake District with kids

Sizergh Fort, Kendal

One other historic website, Sizergh Fort close to Kendal has been residence to the Strickland household for over eight centuries.

With a 1,600-acre property, it’s simple to fill a day trip: in addition to the wild play path, you may look out for butterflies within the gardens and deer within the grounds, with wetland, woodland and orchards to discover.

When the home itself is open, don’t miss the astonishingly intricate inlaid sixteenth century panelling inside too.

Lowther Fort, close to Penrith

It’s not Lowther Fort itself which is the most important attraction for teenagers (though don’t be tempted to skip it both). As an alternative, it’s the unimaginable play space, one of many largest journey playgrounds within the nation.

The Misplaced Fort play space is full of turrets, zipwires, walkways and slides, as properly the ramps and steps to climb and a pole to slip down. You’ll discover areas for toddlers too, in addition to a sandpit and twine mesh play part (plus someplace for adults to sit down down and calm down too)

Do save a while to discover Lowther Fort itself although, probably the most spectacular ruins round, and its lovely gardens.

The large fort as soon as had a room for each day of the yr, and the identical household has lived right here for the reason that twelfth century – however after the fifth earl ran out of cash, all the pieces which could possibly be bought was eliminated, and all that continues to be is a really spectacular shell.

It’s now additionally half backyard, in addition to being surrounded by its personal grounds, backyard and woodland for probably the most memorable household pleasant locations within the Lake District. Open year-round.

The ruined Lowther Castle, with the shell of the grand building visible against a blue sky - one of the most unusual places to visit in the Lake District for families

Walby Farm Park

There’s enjoyable galore to be discovered at Walby Farm Park, together with an opportunity to satisfy the animals, numerous play areas and some surprising bonuses, reminiscent of ferret races!

Nice in the event you’re visiting the Lake District with youthful children, you may spot a string of farmyard favourites, assembly the rabbits and guinea pigs, in addition to some hand feeding and goat racing, plus some extra uncommon furry inhabitants reminiscent of alpacas.

Plus there’s a whopping 30 acres to discover, with indoor and out of doors play areas. The Indoor Journey Play Barn has a separate space for youthful youngsters, or some greater thrills for older youngsters together with the 24 foot Demon Drop Slide (and sure, grown-ups are allowed to affix in too).

Exterior, together with swings and trampolines, you may strive your hand at working JCB Diggers, Pedal Tractors and Go-Karts.

There’s additionally a three-level Roman fort, Milecastle62, which is roofed towards the weather so you may climb ropes and slopes, steadiness on tree trunk beams, whoosh down slides and poles, crawl by means of tunnels and customarily play to your coronary heart’s content material – plus the aptly named Barbarian Village space for below 3s!

The Lake District Wildlife Park, Keswick

For extra animal enjoyable within the Lake District with children, the Lake District Wildlife Park is unmissable, with over 100 species of unique animals on the 24-acre park close to Keswick.

You’ll discover all the pieces from extra birds of prey and superb reptiles to cheeky primates and pleasant farmyard animals.

Conservation lies on the coronary heart of the wildlife park, and children can study endangered species on the quite a few keeper talks every day, together with extra concerning the very cute purple pandas, in addition to the lynx which might as soon as have roamed Cumbria’s forests.

Kids may even stand up shut and meet a number of the park’s residents on the shows and wildlife encounters.

There are a number of play areas too, together with an out of doors play space and indoor smooth play and ball pit, in case the climate is unhealthy, plus a restaurant serving scrumptious do-it-yourself meals.

If you happen to’re on the lookout for extra animal sights, South Lakes Safari Zoo isn’t truly within the Lake District Nationwide Park (regardless of its identify) however it’s nonetheless shut sufficient to go to and see its 1,000 uncommon and endangered inhabitants – round half-hour’ drive from Sizergh Fort, for instance

Ring-tailed lemur - one of the animals you can spot in the Lake District Wildlife Park

Alpacaly Ever After, Keswick & numerous places

Definitely one of many extra distinctive Lake District household sights, Alpacaly Ever After is an award-winning social enterprise that rescues and rehomes alpacas and llamas from all around the nation – identified affectionately because the woolly military!

The centre provides households the chance to return and meet their pleasant alpacas too – go to in spring or early summer time, and also you may even get to see the infants.

You too can take the alpacas on a stroll round a number of the lake’s most scenic places, together with the personal grounds of the Lingholm Property on the ​​shores of Derwentwater. 

The alpaca experiences are open to youngsters of all ages, though guests below 18 should be accompanied by an grownup. Youngsters below 10 can go totally free on a non-public alpaca stroll, however not group walks.

Honister Slate Mine, Keswick

If you happen to’re picturing a go to to a slate mine, the probabilities are you’re not anticipating to be excessive up within the air. However the Infinity Bridge at Honister Slate Mine does simply that – good for teenagers and older children on the lookout for an adrenaline thrill.

The longest excessive wire bridge in Britain, the Infinity Bridge is strung 2,000 toes above the valley flooring, with some astonishing panoramic views out throughout the surroundings – in the event you dare look out to get pleasure from them,

Appropriate for teenagers aged 8+ who’re 1.3m tall, it’s probably the most memorable household days out within the Lake District. And if being suspended in mid-air doesn’t tempt, you may also take 90-minute excursions of the slate mine, strive the Climb the Mine journey scaling partitions and ladders, and crawling by means of tunnels inside the mine caverns, in addition to canyoning.

You’re additionally only a quick drive from the spectacular surroundings of the Honister Move in the event you’d prefer to get pleasure from it from floor stage

Mountains surrounding Buttermere valley and the Honister Pass - some of the spectacular scenery to discover in the Lake District with kids

Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside

Set on the shores of Lake Windermere, the Lakes Aquarium is residence to the UK’s largest assortment of freshwater fish and plenty of different aquatic creatures.

On a go to to the aquarium, you may be taught concerning the vary of creatures dwelling within the lakes, together with perch, pike, white-clawed crayfish, koi carp, and much extra.

Better of all, you may stroll by means of an underwater tunnel that takes you on a charming recreated journey below Lake Windermere.

The Lakes Aquarium can be residence to many different thrilling animals from the world over, so you may spot all the pieces from clownfish and piranhas to rays, otters, and tortoises. Particular talks, occasions and children’ trails additionally happen all year long.

Stripy silver and black fish - one of the many creatures you can spot in the Lakes aquarium, one of the best Lake District family attractions on a rainy day

Lakeland Maze Farm Park, Kendal

If you happen to’re visiting the Lake District in the summertime, children will love taking up the problem of the maize maze at Lakeland Maze Farm Park.

Annually from July to September, the maze has a brand new design, with a mini maze and most important maze that takes over 90 minutes to finish (there are exit factors alongside the best way in case you’ll want to escape!)

However even in the event you go to outdoors these months, you may get pleasure from getting misplaced with two everlasting mazes, together with an indoor bunny burrow tube maze.

That’s simply the beginning too. You possibly can see farmyard animals on the working farm, in addition to smaller fluffy inhabitants on the farm park, to not point out smooth play, a climbing wall, bouncy castles and trampolines.

Opening occasions fluctuate, restricted to high school holidays and weekends (if in any respect) outdoors April/Could to October.

Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway

The Ravenglass & Eskdale within the Lake District is without doubt one of the oldest and longest slender gauge railways in England.

Affectionately often called La’al Ratty, that means “little railway“ in previous Cumbrian dialect, the heritage railway runs alongside a seven-mile-long line into the gorgeous Lake District countryside.

There are spectacular views over the estuaries and out to the fells, and also you may even spot some Cumbrian wildlife alongside the route.

Don’t miss the free Ravenglass station museum, which is stuffed with interactive reveals for the kids to become involved in. There’s additionally a train-themed play space at Dalegarth station on the different finish.

If you happen to’re visiting within the run-up to Christmas, take a look at the Santa Specific prepare, one of many pretty Santa prepare experiences within the UK – though be warned, it books up very quick

Blue steam train and vintage carriages on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway in Cumbria - one of the most fun things to do in the Lake District with kids, it's also a good way to get to some of the area's family attractions

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Stretching for simply over three miles, this little heritage railway is a good Lake District household attraction in its personal proper, however the steam prepare rides additionally make a enjoyable solution to discover a number of the remainder of the Lake District with children.

With steam trains and diesel engines operating from Haverthwaite to Lakeside, on the southern finish of Windermere, you may mix it with a crusing on the lake over to Bowness or Ambleside, in addition to utilizing it to take you to Brockhole, the Lakes Aquarium or World of Beatrix Potter.

The route additionally connects to a different of the Lake District Nationwide Belief websites, Fell Foot Park with walks and watersports (and even the possibility of untamed swimming in the event you’re visiting with older children)

Derwent Pencil Museum, Keswick

A pencil museum may not sound like it will likely be high of your children’ checklist of Lake District sights, however this quirky website in Keswick – the house of the primary pencil – is unexpectedly entertaining.

For starters, you head into the Derwent pencil museum by means of a duplicate graphite mine to start your journey from the earliest days of pencils to the fashionable day.

On show, there are creations proving pencils are loads much less bizarre than you may suppose – Second World Struggle pencils with hidden maps, plus one of many largest color pencils on the earth at nearly 8m lengthy.

There are additionally mini pencil sculptures to admire and in the event you’re impressed by the small museum to get inventive, a store to select up artwork provides, in addition to artwork workshops.

The Rheged Centre, Penrith

In addition to the large cinema display screen right here, which reveals family-friendly motion pictures, the Rheged Centre has common exhibitions in its gallery and an arts programme which incorporates youngsters’s theatre and craft.

There are additionally a string of family-friendly actions to entertain, plus an an indoor smooth play space, with an space put aside for below fives – there are presently prebookable slots for indoor play.

For teenagers that love Lego, you’ll discover a toy store that begs you to spend your pocket cash, plus nice pizza within the cafe. Among the best issues to do within the Lake District with children on a wet day too.

Red squirrel on a branch - if you're visiting the Lake District with kids, there are several places you might spot these native animals

Allan Financial institution, Grasmere

One other of the Nationwide Belief websites within the Lake District, Allan Financial institution is barely completely different than the standard household days out expertise.

The house of the Nationwide Belief’s founder, close to Grasmere, places the give attention to the panorama – the property itself isn’t even totally adorned, so the naked partitions and empty rooms spotlight the valley and lake surroundings.

You possibly can spy purple squirrels within the backyard and typically see buzzards flying overhead, in addition to selecting up nature spotter guides for teenagers.

There are some strolling routes to take a look at too, in addition to loads of locations to play disguise and search.

There’s no automobile park or cafe on website, so that you’ll have to take public transport or stroll up from Grasmere. Picnics are welcome, and there are sizzling drinks out there for a small donation.

Walks within the Lake District with children

With a few of England’s most lovely surroundings, you’re additionally spoiled for selection relating to family-friendly walks within the Lake District – and never all are as difficult as climbing Scafell Pike, England’s highest peak.

There are 50 ‘Miles with out Stiles‘ routes, appropriate for households with pushchairs – together with completely different grades, so you already know in the event you’ve received a clean path or whether or not it’s one to take a more durable all-terrain buggy.

Or in the event you’re unsure the place to begin, take a look at the 7 routes for 70, celebrating the Lake District Nationwide Park’s seventieth birthday again in 2021, highlighting the variability throughout the entire nationwide park in addition to some much less explored corners if you wish to escape a number of the crowds in additional fashionable areas.

Grizedale Forest, Hawkshead

There’s not solely hills and lakes to discover on this a part of Cumbria, but in addition some nice woodlands to wander in.

Grizedale Forest has a sequence of sculptures dotted among the many timber, in addition to 10 strolling trails and 9 cycle routes, together with off-road mountain bike trails and gentler choices (you may rent bikes there).

Add in an journey play space and Go Ape excessive ropes programs, plus artwork exhibitions and cafe for a break between the exercise, so it’s simple to whereas away a number of hours. You possibly can pay for parking on-line as properly.

Beech Tree woodlands with sunshine shining through the canopy in the Lake District - as well as lakes and fells, there are some lovely woodland walks in the Lake District with kids

Whinlatter Forest, Keswick

One other nice Forestry England website, Whinlatter Forest has some superb views to get pleasure from as you discover the paths, together with an opportunity to look out to Bassenthwaite Lake, Derwentwater and Keswick.

There are 9 strolling trails right here, with a one-mile stretch to identify a sequence of figures from the Gruffalo dotted round. Cease in on the customer centre for suggestions first, and whereas it’s walkable with a buggy, be ready for hills.

With older children, the forest can be residence to the longest purpose-built mountain bike trails within the Lake District, together with one other Go Ape course and journey playground.

Head into the timber, Windermere

In addition to having fun with the forests from floor stage, there are some enjoyable methods for households to stand up into the timber.

The treetop nets at ZipWorld Windermere embrace greater than 1,500 metres of large trampolines, walkways, slides and netting tunnels suspended as much as 9 metres off the bottom. Appropriate for age 3+

Or take a look at the treetop trek, with 35 completely different treetop challenges by means of the oaks, ending with a 250m triple zip from the 14m excessive treetop tower, so you may race one another again.

There are completely different choices for various ages: age 5+ can tackle Climb and Zip, which lasts round half-hour, or the hour-long Mini Trek, whereas the Full Trek is appropriate for age 7+ and takes round two hours.

The Puzzling Place, Keswick

One other enjoyable choice in the event you’re on the lookout for issues to do within the Lake District within the rain, The Puzzling Place in Keswick is full of illusions to difficult your eyes and a enjoyable hologram gallery.

With optical illusions to make it seem that you simply’ve shrunk/grown, that you simply’re standing sideways, even that you simply’re defying gravity, it’s an effective way to spend an hour or so – and also you’ll emerge with some hilarious pictures too.

Do ebook forward in the event you’re visiting in class holidays or on the lookout for inspiration on wet days within the Lake District, because it’s not enormous and might be – unsurprisingly – very talked-about.

Whilst you’re visiting the Lake District, it’s simple to mix with a go to to the Yorkshire Dales Nationwide Park – take a look at a few of my high issues to do in Yorkshire with children

*First printed 2021, final up to date 2024*

Disclosure: This submit comprises affiliate hyperlinks – any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee

Fish copyright MummyTravels, all different photos courtesy of Depositphotos




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