Top 10 family days out in the Lake District this summer


It's hard to believe that the summer holidays are almost upon us - and they always bring back such great memories of carefree childhood days spent exploring the Lakes! To help you create your own amazing memories this summer, we've put together some of the very best things to do to inspire and entertain your little ones (and let them burn off all that excess energy!) in the beautiful Lake District!

1. Watch a Peter Rabbit musical spectacular!

The Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-WindermereIf your children love Beatrix Potter's beautifully illustrated tales, they won't want to miss a brand new stage show taking place at The Old Laundry Theatre in Bowness-on-Windermere this summer. 'Where is Peter Rabbit?' is a musical adventure featuring some of your favourite Peter Rabbit characters, and is a feast of music, special effects, dance and song. The show is suitable for ages 3+ and lasts for around 55 minutes. You can also combine the experience with breakfast, afternoon tea, or high tea, and a visit to The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction. It's on between 27th June and 4th September 2016, so take a look at the website for a range of ticket options. 0844 504 0604,

2. Explore The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction in Bowness-on-Windermere

The World of Beatrix Potter in BownessEven if musicals aren't your thing, the neighbouring World of Beatrix Potter Attraction, in the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere, is an enchanting must-see for every family with small children. Begin your visit with a four-minute film presentation, which introduces you to Beatrix Potter and her wonderful stories and illustrations. The main exhibition uses atmospheric lighting, and real sounds and smells, to bring alive scenes recreated from the author's most famous tales - visit Jemima Puddle-duck's woodland glade and step into Mrs Tiggy-winkle's kitchen, where you can even smell her fresh laundry! You can also take a virtual walk of Beatrix Potter's countryside, and treat yourself to a delicious afternoon tea in the Beatrix Potter Tea Room. 0844 504 1233,

3. Follow the Go Herdwick public art trails

The 2016 summer holidays are your very last chance to tick off some of those elusive ewes and lambs on the Go Herdwick public art trails, before they finish on 4th September! The trails were organised to raise money for the Lake District Calvert Trust, which provides outdoor activities for people with disabilities. There are 60 life-sized decorated ewes on the main trail across the Lakes, with two smaller Hide and Seek lamb trails to complete in Keswick and Windermere (including Bowness-on-Windermere) - perfect for little legs! Once the trails have finished, you'll be able to view the whole flock at Rheged between 22nd and 29th September, after which the ewes and their lambs will be sold off at a final charity auction. Do come and say hello at the Sally's Cottages office in Keswick, and meet our very own lamb, Bluebell! 

4. Experience a tree top adventure!

Go Ape! in the Lake DistrictIf you're looking for outdoor activities where your little monkeys can really let off steam, a tree top adventure might just be the thing for you! Tree Top Nets and Tree Top Treks, at Brockhole on the edge of Windermere, provide a host of treetop challenges for ages 3+ and 5+, to include the whole family! You don't need any previous experience - just a moderate level of fitness and a desire to try out new things! Make sure you book in advance to avoid disappointment. 015394 47186, and

Go Ape! in Grizedale Forest also offers a tree top adventure for 'junior Tarzans' aged between 6 and 12! 0333 331 7243,

5. Take a family-friendly walk

Friar's Crag on Derwentwater

Walking in the Lake District doesn't have to be all about the high fells - you can catch some beautiful views at lower level, and with relatively little effort at all! Family-friendly walks include a stroll to Friar's Crag just outside Keswick, which has the most amazing views across Derwentwater, and the circular walk at Tarn Hows, which is also the perfect spot for a picnic! Miles without Stiles is a fantastic resource provided online by the Lake District National Park Authority, and has over 40 graded walking suggestions for families with pushchairs.

6. Get creative at Rheged, near Penrith

Rheged has lots on offer to suit all members of the family, including 10 independent shops, and an enormous 3D cinema screen - take a peek at their website to see what's on during your stay. There are play areas both indoors and outdoors for children to enjoy, and they can also create their very own pottery masterpiece in the 'Create! Pottery Painting Workshop'! Rheged boasts a choice of three cafés and restaurants, and there's even an ice cream parlour with ice cream produced locally from the milk of a Cumbrian herd of Jersey cows! 01768 868000,

7. Enjoy a day out at Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

There's so much to see at Muncaster Castle, which has 77 acres of gardens and woodland and a Hawk and Owl Centre with daily bird of prey flying displays and wild heron feedings. Muncaster has an adventure playground and lawn with benches and picnic tables, along with a choice of two cafés, and children will love the new Enchanted Trail with woodland dens to explore (look out for the fairy doors!). Imagine what it's like to be a meadowvole with the MeadowVole Maze, and meet Max MeadowVole, who needs to be guided home safely! 01229 717 614,

8. Head to two great Lake District forests

Sculpture in Grizedale Forest in the Lake DistrictIf you're looking for an active day out, you might want to consider visiting two of the Forestry Commission's Lake District forests, Grizedale and Whinlatter, which have both created walking trails with the smaller visitor in mind! At Grizedale, try out a family orienteering trail, hire mountain bikes for all the family, or help Stick Man find his way back to the family tree with the help of the Stick Man activity pack. There's also an adventure play area with picnic benches nearby. Whinlatter's Gruffalo Orienteering Trail introduces children to map reading, and as well as being pushchair friendly, takes you to the Gruffalo and Gruffalo Child sculptures! You'll also want stop by Whinlatter's WildPlay trail, which has nine separate play areas along a 600-metre trail! 0300 067 4495, and 017687 78469,

9. Go wild at one of the area's animal parks!

Just 10 minutes from Keswick, The Lake District Wildlife Park has 24 acres of beautifully situated parkland and over 100 species of animal, which include zebras, meerkats, otters and Northern Eurasian Lynx - also meet Brian, the 'Granddad of the park', who is the oldest Lar Gibbon in Europe! Enjoy time outdoors in the picnic and play area, or relax in the café with a lovely cuppa and cake! 017687 76239,

10. Bring the outdoors in!

There are a number of climbing walls dotted around the Lake District, which really come into their own on a rainy day! The King Kong Climbing Centre in Keswick has a variety of walls, a bouldering room, an indoor caving system, and an ice wall! There's a hard play area for kids, with castle, dragon and tunnels, as well as a small soft play area for toddlers, and you can enjoy a snack and drink at the King Kong Café. Meanwhile, the Lakeland Climbing Centre in Kendal has the country's tallest indoor climbing wall, bouldering walls, Kendal CrazyClimb and SkyJump, and Europe's first indoor Via Ferrata - the Skyline Indoor Aerial Adventure (and a café too)! 017687 75907, and 01539 721766,

These are just some of the fantastic experiences you could be having in the Lake District this summer - we love to see your photos, so do remember to send us pictures of your favourite days out over on Twitter and Facebook! We have a large number of family-friendly properties across the Lake District, so to find the perfect cottage to meet your needs, take a look at our child-friendly selection or alternatively use our online search facility.

Related posts which you may like:

The 150th anniversary of Beatrix Potter
A selection of Lake District itineraries 
Our events guide 
Eight outdoor activities to enjoy in the Lake District =