Climbing, adventure, walking and attractions...The Lake District offers some brilliant things to do with kids! Whether you're looking to entertain the little ones for a couple of hours or an entire day, have a look at some of our favourite places to visit.
King Kong Climbing Centre, Keswick
This is a fab place for some active fun! There are several climbing walls with slabs and overhangs, a feature wall offering a real rock experience indoors and if you fancy a challenge, have a go at the 39 foot tower. There are taster sessions too, a kids fun climbing house, an Ice Wall, a 50 metre indoor cave full of twists and turns made all the more exciting in the dark! If the younger ones just want to run around, there is a hard play area with a castle, dragon and tunnels, plus slides and a ball pool. There is also a soft play area for kids aged 2 and under, which has a ball pool too. They offer a number of outdoor adventure courses too - mountain walks, ghyll scrambling and outdoor rock climbing.
This 17th century manor is on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake and its wooded grounds are ideal for a spot of hide and seek or den building. The walled Bee Garden with its heather maze and sheltered dens provide perfect picnic spots. Then there's the adventure playground with a zip wire, rope climbers, balance bridges and a gushing stream - the kids can run around and burn off some energy here! Stroll down the rhododendron-lined footpath and have a look at the fort and steeplechase, before walking through the woods and fields to reach the lake shore.
Derwentwater Cruise, Keswick
What better way to see the beautiful fells and mountains surrounding Derwentwater, than aboard a relaxing cruise...Hop on one of the famous Keswick launches and take the 50-minute circuit around the lake or hop on and off at different jetties along the way. The launches are flexible and affordable and a good starting point is the marina at Nichol End - there are some fantastic pet-friendly cafes here with views over Skiddaw. 017687 72263, keswick-launch.co.uk.
Aira Force, Ullswater
This has to be one of my favourite places to visit whatever the weather with my three kids. I recommend parking at Dockray village and following the trail along Aira Beck downstream through the ancient woodlands under the canopy of the leaves. We often stop on the way to the falls for a picnic or tea &cake as there are so many beautiful points in the woods to sit and watch the beck with its natural pools. You can spend hours on end picnicking, paddling and making dams here! The waterfall itself is breathtaking and the 20 metre drop is simply outstanding.
Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass
Hop off the L'aal Ratty at Ravenglass and enjoy a mile's walk to Muncaster Castle and the Hawk & Owl Centre. This historic (and haunted) castle has fabulous Himalayan gardens and grounds spreading to 70 acres, a maze, playgrounds, a cafe and various special events running throughout the year. The Hawk and Owl Centre is open daily from mid-February until 23rd December and is home to a variety of known birds and also endangered, unusual species. There are daily flying displays and talks.
Loughrigg Fell, Nr Ambleside
Walk a Wainright with the kids and create new memories taking in the stunning views from the top of Loughrigg Fell. At 335m, it is one of the smallest of the Wainwrights but the scenery from the peak is just as breathtaking - as Wainright said: "No ascent is more repaying for the small labour involved". Start in Rydal and follow a clearly marked path along the shore of Rydal Water, passing Rydal Cave. The route then follows Loughrigg Terrace, overlooking beautiful Grasmere, before climbing to a rocky but undulating peak that is scattered with streams and tarns.
Cycling in Whinlatter Forest, Nr Keswick
Whinlatter Forest is full of action for kids. This is England's only true mountain forest and it is a playground for adventure! There's a Go-Ape Tree top Adventure and you can now hire Segways to explore the forest on wheels! Enjoy easy walking trails, cycling, a spot of orienteering, nature, wildlife and there's even a play trail for kids.
Walk around Buttermere
This is the perfect walk if you have young children! Walking around the sparkling Buttermere lake takes 2-3 hours and the shoreline is dotted with small pebbly and mossy beaches. Take time out along the way for a paddle, splash and a good old game of pebble-skimming. The route is easy to follow and although it can be bumpy in places, it is manageable with a buggie too. After your walk, head in to Buttermere Village and enjoy some locally made ice cream at Syke Farm! It's made with milk from the farm's own Ayrshire Herd!