days out in the lake district and cumbria

Family days out in the Lake District and Cumbria

We love a day out whether it’s just a weekend day popping out somewhere, or a day out while on holiday.  I’m reliving my childhood visiting around the UK, near home and further away, and love sharing it with N. So if you’re looking for family days out in The Lake District and Cumbria, you’re in the right place.

This series of days out posts are based on round ups of places we’ve loved on our travels.  Hopefully it’ll make them easier for you to find, especially if you’re looking for recommendations for places to visit. I’ll also be including recommendations from other bloggers, because if you’re looking for guidance on where to go you want to hear from local people as well as visitors to an area.

days out in the lake district and cumbria

Museums, culture and history

The Pencil Museum, Keswick

Quirky and a little interesting, although probably better for older children. There’s colouring and drawing opportunities, plus an adult and children’s trail. Come face to face with the world’s longest pencil.

The Puzzling Place, Keswick

Love puzzles and tricks of the eye, then the Puzzling Place is the place to go. Interactive museum, great for all ages, and a fun puzzle shop to end your trip.

World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness on Windermere

Brings the characters to life in this experience, with children’s activity sheets and a themed café.

Lakeland motor museum, Newby Bridge

Keep the children entertained with their quiz while you enjoy a collection of vehicles built up over 50 years.

Lowther Castle, Penrith

Lowther Castle is a ruined castle near Penrith set in stunning grounds. What makes it magical though is the huge wooden castle built in the wood for children, with turrets, bridges, slides and zip lines! It’s an enchanting playground.

worlds longest pencil
spiral illusion

National Trust

Sizergh Castle, near Kendal

Try the wild trail, scrambling over and under natural formations and trees, complete with sculptures. Then enjoy the castle and rest of the estate and gardens.

Wray Castle, near Ambleside

Visit by road or boat (the car park is small), explore the relatively modern castle, dress up, play in the adventure rooms. There’s a nearby play area with trails and den building area. 

Acorn Bank, Penrith

Watch out for fairies by doing the trail through the beautiful gardens and grounds, visit the house and mill.

Aira Force, Ullswater

Get back to nature, explore the woodlands and discover the waterfall, before walking to relax by Ullswater’s edge.

Wildlife and nature

Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside

Quite a small aquarium and focused on freshwater and the Lakes locality. Good for an hour or so, more if your children want to do the more interactive learning areas.

Lake District Wildlife Centre, Bassenthwaite

On the smaller side, but still with plenty of variety of animals. The cafe is expensive and the food we had wasn’t great. Take a picnic, then let the children wild on the great playground.

Grizedale Forest

For family adventurers, take bikes, enjoy the sculptures on the 8 walking trails or get in the trees doing Go Ape. Free entry, just pay for the activities and parking.


Brockhole on Windermere, Lake District Visitor Centre

Just pay for parking, and any additional activities. Booking is advised in advance, and at peak times the car park fills up by late morning. Activities include, high wire courses, treetop nets, archery, laser shooting, mini golf, water sports and Crazybugs

Lakeside and Haverthwaite railway

Take a trip on the 3 ½ miles steam train journey, do the aquarium while you’re there.

Steamer trip, Ullswater

See the beauty of the lakes from a steam boat, some have children’s activities and themed trips on board. Or go on an alternative lake cruise with Windermere lake cruises

Mini Golf and tennis, Ambleside park

Cheap and central, just turn up and pay to play, with tennis you can book ahead.

Take a Lakes bus from Ambleside to Bowness on Windermere

Many of them are open top double-deckers and will include the occasional tour guide update as it drives along. Avoid parking nightmares as the buses go til late.

Lake Windermere for water sports

Opposite Low Wood Bay hotel, take out a rowing boat, or do lessons in kayaking or other water sports. Windermere Jetty itself has plenty to do with museum, cafe, boating lake and lake trips.

view from low wood bay hotel
crazi bug driving

Where to stay

Low Wood Bay hotel and spa

Eating out

Ambleside Tavern, Ambleside – town centre location
Trattoria Pizzeria, Bowness on Windermere
Bodegas tapas bar, Bowness on Windermere

Read more about eating out in the Lake District with children

Where else would you recommend to go for family days out in the Lake District and Cumbria with children?

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