Lake District Attractions for Families
There's are lots of great days out to be had in the Lake District for families, including children of all ages. We've included a few of our favourite Lake District attractions and experiences for you to choose from.
Windermere Lake Cruises
This is sort of an indoor-outdoor activity as you can choose to sit outside, or alternatively, take cover whilst you glide past some of the most beautiful scenery of the Lake District. It remains the number one tourist attraction in the area. Windermere Lake Cruises offer various cruises to choose from, boarding from Bowness-on-Windermere, Brockhole or Waterhead pier. Discover all the length and breadth of England’s longest lake, and extend your trip with a walk, cycle, steam train ride or visit to Wray Castle.
World of Beatrix Potter
The World of Beatrix Potter is of the most popular family attractions in the Lake District. Whether you are a ‘big kid’ reliving your childhood memories, or a child who has just discovered Peter Rabbit, the magical walk-through attraction will bring the well-loved characters like Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail to life. Beautifully laid out with scenes from the popular Beatrix Potter book series. You will also learn more about the author and her life in the Lakes and outside, Mr MacGregor’s garden is well laid out and he’s ready to catch Peter Rabbit.
The Wild Boar Inn partners with Lake District Falconry to offer a Falconry Experience and Hawk Walk in our ancient woodland in the Gilpin Valley. Before you put on the falconer’s glove and call the hawk, you will be given expert tuition in how to handle the bird of prey, and how to develop trust between you and it. Our resident falconers will explain everything you’ve ever wanted to ask about these majestic creatures. Walk through the woods with the hawk alongside you soaring and swooping on a simulated hunt. Great photo opportunities.
Fun on Lake Windermere. The Watersports Centre at Low Wood Bay will get you out on the lake on kayaks, paddleboards, canoes, motorboats or yachts. There is nothing more pleasant on a spring summer day than being on the water – either with speed, or just cruising along under your own steam. Tuition is available and wetsuits and buoyancy aids are provided.
Fantastic family fun! Hawkshead Chocolate Factory is a children’s chocolate dream. The workshop which parents can observe from the viewing window or join in themselves in a family chocolate workshop. Create your own chocolate bar by mixing white and milk chocolate and decorating with a choice of toppings. Finish with a flourish by scribing your own name, in chocolate of course! Move on to a hands-on chocolate mould creation, and chocolate covered marshmallows. All chocolate creations are wrapped to take home along with apron and hair net. Lovely gooey chocolatey fun for all!
The Puzzling Place
The Puzzling Place attraction will have you scratching your head and having to work out what is real, and what is fiction. Five Optical Illusions including an Anti-gravity Room where you stand at an impossible slant without falling and the Hologram Room with holograms and horror-grams that come to life when viewed from different angles. Eyelusion is an optical illusion interactive exhibit using art and sculpture. Grow tall or shrink tiny in the Ames Room or manoeuvre a 90-degree twist in the Sideways Room.
Derwent Pencil Museum
Discover where the first pencil was created and learn about the graphite mine and cottage industry that it supplied before Derwent Pencil Museum expanded to the worldwide business that it is today. There are secret WW2 pencils, hidden maps, an 8-metre coloured pencil and miniature pencil sculptures as well as various artistic activities. Perfect for budding artists!
Aquarium of the Lakes
A great wet weather activity for the family. The Aquarium of the Lakes features thirty displays of freshwater and seawater life. Standing in the underwater Lake Tunnel gives a very different perspective, and if you are there at 4 pm, the duck diving is very entertaining. There’s also a good selection of wild fowl, as well as amphibian and insect life. It’s great to arrive by a Windermere Lake Cruises steamer and a very popular extension to your day is a journey on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite steam train ride. It all adds up to a great day out in the Lake District.
Lake District Wildlife Park
Wildlife parks are always high on the list of family outings in the UK, and the Lake District Wildlife Park is definitely one to put on your ‘must visit’ list. Set in twenty-four acres of stunning Lake District land, there’s over a hundred species of animals and wildlife from around the world. There are also seasonal activities at the park, including Keeper Talks, Alpaca Walking, Meet the Meercats. For a more immersive experience, book the Keeper Experience and become an animal keeper for the day.
Low Sizergh Barn
Passionate farmers, food lovers and retailers of the best local products, Low Sizergh Barn is a great example of farming and diversification. As well as a flower walk for children, complete with fairy doors to open and plant life quizzes, there’s a 2-mile farm trail from the farm to the nearby woodland.
It’s inside the buildings that things get really colourful. Three floors of crafts, gifts, clothing and local foodstuffs are housed in the 17th Century barn shop. The adjoining tearoom has delicious home baked produce. If you time your visit right – about 3.30 pm – you can watch the herd of cows being milked from the large viewing windows in the café. Fun and fascinating for all the family.
Windermere Jetty, Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, on the shores of Lake Windermere houses a fascinating collection of historic steamboats and motorboats, including SL Dolly, one of the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world. Get up close to Esperance, the boat that inspired Arthur Ransome’s houseboat in Swallows and Amazons, and Beatrix Potter’s wooden rowing boat. This museum displays an important part of the Lake District’s history and heritage and there’s an onsite workshop where you can watch boats being restored, using traditional crafts. One of the exhibits has a particularly close connection to English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues.
Stott Park Bobbin Mill
The only working bobbin mill left in the Lake District, Stott Park is the only working bobbin mill left in the Lake District. In its heyday it was a major employer in the area, with 250 men and boys working there, often in extreme conditions. Their work produced a quarter of a million wooden bobbins every week which were sent off to Lancashire for use in the spinning industry. Today the bobbin mill is an award-winning attraction and takes visitors on a production tour from tree to the final product, including the use of the original machinery. There’s also an opportunity for children to dress up and imagine what working life in the mill would have been like.
Brockhole is the Lake District Visitor Centre. The grounds sweep down to the lake and contain an Arts and Crafts designed house with gardens and a great adventure playground for children of all ages.
Also sited within Brockhole Visitor Centre, children and adults will love Treetop Treks – adventure high in the branches of some pretty old oak trees. There are 35 exciting high-level challenges to traverse such as rope bridges and wobby logs. There’s a spectacular 250 metre zip wire finish – not for the faint hearted! There is a mini version Trek lasting around one hour which is open to adults and children over 5 years. Also on offer is Treetop Nets, giant bouncy nets, tunnels and ball zones and an outdoor climbing wall again with a zip wire finish.
Along the same lines and set in the extensive and picturesque Grizedale Forest, Go Ape has five different adventures on offer. Treetop Adventure and Treetop Adventure Plus for younger children, and Treetop Challenge for the ones with no fear! High platforms and very tricky crossings taking 2 – 3 hours to complete. There is also a Zip Trekking Adventure which takes you on a series of zip wires through 3 km of the forest. https://goape.co.uk/locations/grizedale
A castle? More accurately, a gothic-style private house that’s called a castle and looks like a castle. Wray Castle was built by a retired surgeon from Liverpool with his wife’s inheritance, history records that Mrs Dawson did not share her husband’s love of gothic architecture, declaring she would never live there. Turrets and towers, with a sweeping informal lake side garden, this is a great family day out. This National Trust property is unusual in that it doesn’t have period furniture, artwork or drapery, but is relatively empty - excellent for inspiring children’s imaginations. There are spacious living quarters and smaller servants’ quarters and activities like a dressing up box, crown making or ‘build your own castle’.
Windermere Lake Cruises Green Cruise travels between Brockhole, Waterhead and Wray Castle. Guests at Low Wood Bay can use our Waterbus service by waving from the Cannon Jetty to request a stop.
Lakeland Motor Museum houses thirty thousand exhibits describing the history of motoring manufacture over a period of one hundred years. Classic cars, bikes and trikes, motorbikes a plenty. There’s also a 1920s garage complete with car mechanic tools of the time, period shopping displays, an Isle of Man TT tribute, and the Campbell Bluebird exhibition with full-sized replicas of the 1935 Bluebird car, 1939 boat and 1976 hydroplane. A testament to the UK’s rich heritage of motoring, engineering, daring and speed.
There are a number of horse-riding centres around the Lake District but very close to Low Wood Bay is Lakeland Pony Treks . Set in the beautiful Troutbeck Valley, the riding school offers lessons for beginners from the age of 4 years old and upwards. If you are an experienced rider, you can enjoy an hour’s fell trek on the bridle paths on the hills around the valley.
Great Places to Stay within the Lake District National Park
The swimming pool at Low Wood Bay resort
There is a great choice of accommodation types and fabulous amenities at Low Wood Bay Resort & Spa. Perfect for a short stay or longer summer holiday. The Wild Boar Inn, Grill & Smokehouse is also a great venue for families with a range of activities in the adjoining Wild Boar woods.