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Family attractions in the Lake District holiday cottages

Family attractions in the Lake District

Hannah 09 January 2020

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

The Lake District is the perfect place for creating happy family memories. As well as stunning scenery, walking and messing about on the water, there are plenty of activities and days out to entertain the children whatever the weather, with our family-friendly cottages just a short distance away. Here are just a few of the best things to do with the family in the Lake District and Cumbria.

Plan a stay in one of our family-friendly holiday cottages for Easter. Many are set in idyllic rural locations, perfect for visits from the Easter Bunny!

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Outdoor fun

Brockhole

Brockhole is the National Park's official visitor centre located between Ambleside and Windermere, and is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the Lake District for families, with a great playground for the children and lots of events on during the school holidays. Among the family activities you can enjoy are archery, mini golf, pony rides and orienteering, and there are also indoor activities to get stuck into on a rainy day. There are also walks around the gardens and along the shores of Lake Windermere, and a cafe serving refreshments. 

Brockhole visitor centre in Windermere, Lake District
Image: Andrew Bowden

 

  • Location: Windermere, LA23 1LJ
  • Suitable for: All ages (check different attractions for age and height restrictions)
  • Admission: Free
  • Opening times: 10am - 6pm
  • Stay nearby: Woodland Retreat is a trendy wooden lodge in woodland, complete with hot tub. It sleeps 6 and welcomes 2 dogs.

Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Home to an award-winning maize maze, the fun-packed Lakeland Maze Farm Park near Kendal is great for giving the kids a taste of life on the farm. Meet the usual farm favourites as well as a few more surprising residents such as ferrets, llamas and alpacas! There’s plenty to keep the children busy for the whole day including animal feeding, soft play and go-karts alongside the maize maze.

Girl feeding a llama at the Lakeland Maze Farm Park near Kendal in the Lake District

  • Location: Raines Hall, Sedgwick, Kendal, LA8 0JH
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Spring/summer admission: Adults - £6.95, children - £5.95, family tickets - £24.00
  • Opening times: Weekends 10am  - 5pm, and school holidays. Check their website for full details.
  • Stay nearby: Valley View is a charming big holiday home sleeping 6 people, located perfectly for exploring this great area.

Read our guide about getting outdoors in the Lake District. 

Wild Places

Whinlatter Mountain Forest

The Whinlatter Forest near Keswick offers some great outdoor activities the whole family will enjoy. Follow the Wild Play Trail to discover nine different areas, packed with water features, giant swings, climbing walls and even special play areas for toddlers. Fans of the popular books can follow the Gruffalo Orienteering course to find the Gruffalo and the Gruffalo’s Child, and for active families there are two excellent mountain biking trails as well as a Go Ape course.

Whinlatter Mountain Forest near Keswick in the Lake District

  • Location: Keswick, CA12 5TW
  • Suitable for: All ages. Small children must be accompanied at all times
  • Stay nearby: Stile End Cottage is a stylish base set near Keswick and is great for a couple of families that are into walking, cycling and the great outdoors. It sleeps 8 and welcomes 1 dog.

Grizedale Forest

For a more energetic day out why not explore Grizedale Forest? Amongst its lush woodland scenery, the forest offers plenty of things to do including walks, sculpture trails, a great playground, bike hire and cycle routes. Go Ape is a popular family attraction also hosted in the forest, where older children and adults can take on an assault course in the treetops.

Treetop adventures in Grizedale Forest, Lake District

  • Location: Hawkshead, LA22 0QJ
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Open: Daily, 10am - 4pm (mountain bike routes open until 5pm daily)
  • Admission: Free (car park charges applicable)
  • Stay nearby: The Briars is a light and airy holiday home sleeping 8 in a quiet part of Hawkshead Village. It is the ideal location for a family break with the best the Lake District has to offer on your doorstep. It welcomes 2 dogs.

Fell Foot Park

On a sunny day, take a picnic along to Fell Foot Park, a stunning lakeshore family-orientated country park. It's just the place to enjoy Windermere's stunning views, with boat hire, picnic areas, refreshments, snacks and an exciting adventure playground for all ages. There are also events hosted throughout the year which can be found over on their website.

Image: David Merrett
  • Location: Newby Bridge, Ulverston, LA12 8NN
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Open: Monday - Sunday, 8am - 6pm
  • Admission: You can purchase daily passes - Adult: £2.00, child: £1 and family: £5.00
  • Stay nearby: The Woodsman Cabin is a trendy log cabin that is bound to add a touch of luxury to your family holiday! It sleeps 6 and is located just outside Ulverston making it a great base for exploring Fell Foot Park!

Fancy a simple walk? Read our guide on short walks to great views in the Lake District.

Magical Fun

Beatrix Potter attractions

For lovers of the classic children's author Beatrix Potter, why not explore the many tourist attractions in the area dedicated to her work and even the places where she lived? The largest attraction is the World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere, while the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead also displays many of her drawings and paintings. Hill Top, her former home in Near Sawrey, is also well worth visiting, full of her special treasures and recognisable as the home of some of her best-loved characters and tales.

World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness on Windermere, Lake Distirct

  • Location: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3BX
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Open: Monday - Sunday, 10am - 4.30pm
  • Admission: Adult: £8.20, child: £4.20, family: £22
  • Stay nearby: Quarry Bow, sleeping 5, is the ideal base for exploring the Lake District and top visitor attractions. With trees as the backdrop, this is an idyllic base for your family holiday. 

Lakes Aquarium

The Lakes Aquarium is based in Lakeside, where you can meet animals from around the world who call lakes their home. These include diving ducks, otters, marmoset monkeys and even sharks. Why not combine your visit with a steam train journey linking Lakeside and Haverthwaite, taking 18 minutes?

Girl looking at fish at the Lakes Aquarium, Lake District

  • Location: Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Ulverston LA12 8AS
  • Suitable for: All ages
  • Open: Monday - Sunday, 10am - 4.30pm
  • Admission: Adult: £7.95, child:£4.60, family: £24.25
  • Stay nearby: Get the whole family together and head to Heron Beck Bowstead, a charming large holiday home sleeping 10 in a tranquil and picturesque location. 

Fun on the water

Top spot: Windermere Lake Cruises

A lovely way to experience the area is on a Windermere cruise, where boats link the popular towns of Ambleside, Bowness and Lakeside. This is a great way to see the mountains from the lake, as well as to get about, and you can select short hops or longer routes along the length of the lake.

  • Location: Bowness Pier, LA23 3HQ
  • Suitable for: All ages. Children should always be accompanied on and by the waterside.
  • Admission: There are different cruises at different rates. View all the details on their website.
  • Stay nearby: View our range of Windermere cottages available to rent close by.

Read our guide on the Ultimate Lake District activities for more ideas on how to spend fun on the water.

Castles and historic buildings

Top spot: Wray Castle

One of our favourite spots in the Lake District is the National Trust’s Wray Castle. Built in 1840 in the Gothic style, visitors are free to explore the castle's many rooms as well as its towers and turrets, showcasing what life was like here in the Victorian era. It’s a place for all the family to enjoy, so don’t worry about running around and making as much noise as you like! 

Wray Castle in the Lake District

Highlights:

  • Enjoy a guided tour
  • Have a go at building your own castle
  • Have fun dressing up as kings and queens for the day
  • Location: Low Wray, Ambleside LA22 0JA
  • Stay nearby: Carr Crag Cottage is a traditional and stylish holiday home with a lovely garden and raised decking area to enjoy it from. It sleeps 6 annd welcomes 2 dogs. 

Other historic houses and castles to visit:

Rainy day options

The Puzzling Place

Perfect for rainy days is The Puzzling Place in the heart of Keswick. Have a go at working out the tricky brainteasers in the Puzzle Area before stepping into the World of Illusion. Here your mind will play tricks on you, with mind-blowing optical illusions found in the Anti-Gravity Room, the Ames Room and the Eyelusions Exhibition.

Solving a puzzle at the Puzzle Place, Keswick, Lake District

  • Location: Bowness Pier, LA23 3HQ
  • Suitable for: All ages. Children should always be accompanied on and by the waterside.
  • Admission: There are different cruises at different rates. View all the details on the website.
  • Stay nearby: View our range of Windermere cottages available to rent close by.

Lakeland Motor Museum

Housing a collection built up over 50 years, the Lakeland Motor Museum is an excellent tribute to road transport through the years. Enjoy a fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the twentieth century - including cycles, motorbikes, motor cars and automobilia.

  • Location: Newby Bridge, LA12 8TA
  • Suitable for: All ages. Ask about the children's quiz when you arrive at reception!
  • Admission: Adults: £9.00, children: £5.40, family: £26.00
  • Stay nearby: Nethercroft sleeps 6 and is a spacious and cosy holiday home waiting to be your perfect base. This is a wonderful spot for you and the gang to come home to after days out admiring old motors!

Family fun map

Find all of the fantastic days out we've mentioned on the map below.

More inspiration

For even more great ideas for family days out in the Lake District, take a look at our guide to the Lake District's ultimate activities.

 

If you've already been convinced to embark on some adventures with the kids in the Lake District, take a look at our child-friendly cottages to start planning your dream break.

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