There can be such a thing as too much relaxation on holiday, so if you're feeling a little restless and would like to try something other than walking, the Lake District has an abundance of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy. Here are just a handful of things you can try:
1. Boating on a beautiful lake
The Lake District is packed full of opportunities for lake adventures, with activities for absolute beginners through to those with more experience. Canoeing, rowing and speed boating are all fantastic ways to take in these epic surroundings, and other activities include kayaking, sailing and dragon boating. Check out the possibilities using the web links at the bottom of the page. Or simply enjoy a cruise with a guide who can tell you all about the local area during your boat trip.
2. A treetop adventure with Treetop Treks and Treetop Nets
If you're feeling energetic but prefer to stay on dry land, a woodland canopy adventure may be just what you're looking for. Brockhole near Windermere is host to two treetop adventures, each set in ancient woodland and suitable for the whole family to enjoy together. Neither require any previous experience or skills - just a willingness to try something new.
The first, Treetop Trek, is a harness-based course with 35 treetop challenges including a 250-metre zip wire. The challenges are spread over two parts, the Green Trek, which is suitable for everyone (5 years+), and the Blue Trek, a slightly more demanding challenge (7 years+).
The second option, Treetop Nets, has over 1500 square metres of netted trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels meaning complete safety without the need for harnesses (3 years+).
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3. Go Ape and an exhilarating zip wire ride
Staying with the treetop theme, Go Ape! at Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead, provides a challenging adventure complete with zip wire. It boasts Go Ape's highest platform in the country, at 18 metres high. Grizedale has also recently installed its marathon Zip Trekking Adventure, a network of seven tandem zip lines between the forest's Douglas Firs which cover a total distance of three kilometres! These activities are suitable for ages 13+, and there is also a treetop adventure for 'Junior Tarzans' and a Segway experience.
The standard Go Ape Tree Top Adventure is also available at Whinlatter Forest near Keswick, which is England's only mountain forest and home to Bassenthwaite's ospreys. You can try the Segway experience here too.
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4. Mountainside dares at Honister Slate Mine
For the ultimate climbing adventure without the need for experience, you need to visit Honister Slate Mine in Borrowdale. A tour of the mine, which was in operation by the 1600s, makes a perfect all-weather attraction.
If you're ready for adventure though, try out the Via Ferrata Classic, following the cliff-edge footpath previously used by miners high on Fleetwith Pike, or the Via Ferrata Xtreme complete with 'Burma Bridge'. You can also test yourself on the Infiniti Bridge, 1500 feet above the valley, and so-called because you often can't see the other end. Finally, the Climb in the Mine experience sees you follow the route of the original mine deep underground, with rope bridges and vertical climbs. Height and age restrictions apply.
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5. Fun on two wheels at Lakeland Segway
Haven't got a head for heights? Why not try a Segway experience instead? Lakeland Segway provides introductory training which will allow you to 'glide' through the beautiful parkland surrounding the Cartmel Racecourse. If you're keen to continue onto slightly more demanding terrain, the Segway Adventure Tour will take you on further scenic routes through the Holker estate.
Take a look at our guide to South Cumbria and the Coastal Peninsulas.
6. Mountain biking through the forests
The Lake District offers lots of exciting opportunities to leave the car behind, and going by bike is just one option. If you want to go completely off-road, Grizedale Forest has a range of forest roads and bridleways to explore. For those with the experience, there's also the North Face trail to really get the adrenalin going! Whinlatter Forest also offers a choice of routes (no beginner's routes though), and both forests have dedicated shops with bikes for hire.
You'll find bike hire at several outlets across the Lakes, with electric bikes available in a number of places too.
7. Horse riding with fabulous scenery
If you love horses, you might consider combining a horse ride with the stunning scenery of the Lake District. There are options available for both beginners and more advanced riders. Cumbrian Heavy Horses, in the Whicham valley near Millom, use Clydesdale and Shire heavy horses, and provide farm rides, beautiful beach rides and Lakeland fell trails.
See also: Bank House Equestrian, Little Salkeld, Penrith
If you're not looking for anything too adventurous, Bigland Hall Equestrian has teamed up with Brockhole near Windermere to provide 15-minute led pony rides for all ages (2 years+) - check the website for dates.
8. Climbing adventures for rainy days
Although this blog post is mostly about getting into the great outdoors, you might need to find other places to go on a soggy day. The Lakes has a number of indoor climbing walls and activity centres including:
- Lakeland Climbing Centre, Kendal, which has a 25-metre wall, Europe's first indoor Via Ferrata, bouldering rooms and a café.
- King Kong Climbing Centre, Keswick, which in addition to the climbing wall has an indoor ice wall and an 80-metre cave system complete with stalactites and stalagmites! There are hard and soft play areas in the family zone, and you can relax and refresh afterwards in Kong's Café.
- Keswick Climbing Wall where there is free all day parking, refreshments available, and indoor and outdoor activities for all ages.
- Ambleside Climbing Wall, which has a 35-foot wall, bouldering room, and café overlooking the wall.
Further places to visit
General activity providers:
Some activity providers host a combination of the above and further activities from outdoor climbing and ghyll scrambling to human bowling, so check out their websites to see what else is on offer:
Newlands Adventure Centre, Keswick
Keswick Adventure Centre
Total Adventure, Bowness-on-Windermere
Rookin House Activity Centre, Troutbeck, Penrith
Water sports and boating:
Coniston Boating Centre
Glenridding Sailing Centre
Windermere Canoe Kayak
Derwent Water Marina
Low Wood Bay Watersports Centre
And if all of that hasn't left you in need of a rest, you can look for your ideal cottage in the Lake District using our online search facility. For ideas on some less strenuous things to do in the area, take a look at our 10 best-kept secrets in the Lakes.
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.