When I thought of the Lake District, I previously thought that there isn’t a lot to do for families. I mean, it is just a place to go hiking, right? While there are plenty of stunning hikes and beautiful walks, there are still plenty of family-friendly things to do and see that don’t involve getting your hiking boots on. So you can take younger ones on a staycation up (or down) to the lakes.
Though we did do a couple of walks with the kids (seriously, Max is part mountain goat), we enjoyed the other things just as much. The stunning backdrop of the area is perfect for being outside and enjoying some family fun. So here are some of the top things that we did on our trip to the lake district this summer. Have you done any of these before?
Luckily, Grizedale was only about six miles away from where we were staying, so it was definitely on the things to do. It did not disappoint! It is 24.47 km² of woodland and forestry, with all sorts of things to do. Of course, there are walks around the forest, including things like the Gruffalo Trail. But there were lots of other things too from zip lines, GoApe, segway rides, bike routes, and a playground. So you can easily spend the whole day there (or at least half a day). The setting is beautiful, it is painted well, and there are toilet and cafe facilities. So I’d recommend stopping in at Grizedale (located to the east of Coniston).
Cost: just the cost of parking
I don’t know how I had not heard about Lowther Castle* before. It is a large castle, built on the site of two previous homes, that is set on acres and acres of land. So there is plenty to explore, both inside and out. I think it would make a good visit if you’re unlucky with the weather (as can happen in the Lakes), as you don’t have to be outdoors all day. If you are lucky with the weather, then make sure you visit the adventure playground, as well as the gardens. They are vast and beautiful with rose gardens, a money tree, tree swings, and various summerhouses along the way. Again, you could spend a while here; I would at least allow four or five hours.
Cost: £9 per adult, £7 per child, under 3’s are free
Booths Country Stores
Another gem of the north west are the several Booths Supermarkets* that are scattered throughout the Lake District. First of all, they are just a dream to shop in for your groceries. So if you’re going self-catered, then see if there is one nearby to where you’ll be (a definite Waitrose vibe going on; loved it).
But the pièce de résistance is the restaurant or cafe in each store. Some only have a smaller cafe offering with cakes and drinks. Whereas some, like the Booths we visited in Kendal, have a large restaurant that serves scrumptious food that is perfect for families. The price is completely reasonable and the service was great, really friendly and helpful. The food is locally sourced and cooked to perfection. I was so pleased that we went and would recommend to anyone that is going to visit the area.
Cost: however much you want to spend!
Vintage Ice Cream Farm – Old Hall Farm
Again, just down from where we were staying we came across some signs for a vintage ice cream farm. So, you know, we had to visit. Because, you know, ice cream. But I was so impressed with the whole thing. There is plenty to see and do and honestly, my kids loved it. There is a play barn where you can jump on hay bales and swing on a rope swing. There are ride on diggers, larger tractor cycles, as well as seeing the animals and old working farm machinery. They even have set times to help feed the animals, so a plus for any animal enthusiasts like my daughter! As the name suggests, there is a tea room and ice cream parlour, serving a range of food, drink, and ice cream. So for families, this is a must for a visit.
Cost: Adults £8.25, Children £5.75, children under 3 free! – however, you don’t need tickets to visit the tea room, the play barn, the ice cream parlour or the ride ons.
Boat Hire on Windermere
My children love to be outside and on the water. So we tend to look for boat hire whenever we go away anywhere. Windermere is a favourite of mine, so we chose to hire a boat out on Windermere. If you’re on more of a budget, you can go on one of the larger, communal boat cruises on Windermere. But with my two, it is more fun just being us, so we decided to hire our own smaller boat to take out. We hired the boat for two hours and had a lot of fun. The kids really enjoyed it too as the lake is pretty steady and calm. They even had a turn helping daddy to steer the boat! I think this is something we will always do when we go out as it was so much fun.
Cost: there are various providers, but ours was £50 for two hours.
Have you got any other suggestions of families in the Lakes?
*complimentary entry was gifted but all opinions are my own.