Exciting Places to Visit in the Lake District With Kids

Derwent lake in the Lake District UK

Introducing guest blogger Jennie from Jennie Wanders

Visiting the Lake District as a family gives your children the opportunity to have the outdoor adventure of a lifetime. And it’s no secret that the English countryside has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world.

Visiting the Lake District with kids will not only be a memorable trip for your children but a trip of a lifetime for you too!

So what is there to do in the Lake District with kids? From muddy forest walks to eating world-class gingerbread, visiting outdoor wildlife centres and sailing around Lake Windemere on a scenic boat cruise, the Lake District is one of the best adventure destinations in the UK to visit with children.

This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities around the world through the eyes of locals

What to do in the Lake District with kids

After visiting the Lake District year after year, we are still finding new things to do with children. As English weather can never be relied upon, there are activities on this list suitable for sunny and rainy days.

After visiting the Lake District year after year, we are still finding new things to do with children. As English weather can never be relied upon, there are activities on this list suitable for sunny and rainy days.

1. Take a family walk

One of the best activities in the Lake District with kids is to take a walk. There’s no better way to introduce children to the great outdoors, and a simple walk can spark their imagination, engage all of their senses and increase their curiosity.

Have children who need a little more whilst on a walk? There’s a lot of history to some of the areas in the Lake District, so find out some fun facts that can be explained to your children along the way. You could even create a wildlife scavenger hunt to keep them busy!

Some of the best easy and child-friendly walks in the Lake District include the Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall (Ambleside), Blea Tarn (Coniston) and Tarn Hows (Coniston). Tarn Hows is great for animal spotting – cows and sheep often roam the surrounding areas!

Stock Ghyll Force Waterfall in autumn colours Lake District of England
Autumn walk to Stock Ghyll Force, Ambleside – Lake District

2. Go on a Lake Windemere cruise

A lake cruise is fun for all the family, as it’s a great experience for both adults and kids. Lake cruises run daily from Bowness-on-Windemere, with over four different routes to choose from.

Local’s tip: The ‘blue’ cruise is one of the shortest from Bowness, and is just a 45-minute circular loop around Lake Windemere. It also has some of the best views of the surrounding mountains and villages – perfect for children experiencing the Lake District for the first time!

3. Visit Beatrix Potter World

Beatrix Potter World is one of the most interactive indoor activities in the Lake District and is perfect for occupying the family on a rainy day. You’ll enter the enchanting world of Peter Rabbit, where Beatrix Potter’s magical tales are brought to life through three exciting dimensions.

If you know the date you are visiting Beatrix Potter World, check to see if there are any events taking place. From storytelling times to scavenger hunts, it’s a great chance for your children to get involved and make friends!

Local’s tip: Walking around Beatrix Potter World only takes 45-60 minutes, so stop for lunch next door at The Flying Pig pub afterwards. They have an extensive kid’s menu, a large indoor dining space, and you can experience a traditional English pub!

4. Eat ice cream at the Bowness-on-Windemere Lakefront

One of the best and most accessible views of Lake Windemere is at the Bowness-on-Windemere lakefront. This is a fun, lively and engaging area for children, with plenty of ice cream vans, amusements, live entertainment and even ducks to feed!

Take a walk to the Bowness waterfront to soak in the views, enjoy ice cream and admire the largest lake in the national park.

Harbour on lake Windemere UK Lake District
Bowness Harbour – Lake District

5. Eat world-famous gingerbread in the picturesque village of Grasmere

Grasmere is one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District and is known for being the former home of English poet, William Wordsworth. Whilst visiting his home is an option, the kids might be more interested in the gingerbread house!

The Grasmere Gingerbread House has been making its own gingerbread since 1854, and is known as ‘the best gingerbread in the world’. There may be a small queue when waiting to enter the gingerbread wonderland, but it’s worth it!

Local’s tip: Grasmere is a great day out for all of the family. There are plenty of pubs, cafes, shops and walks to do. You can even take a short drive to the Rydal Caves, just 5 minutes from the centre of Grasmere. Don’t worry, you don’t have to enter the cave with children; it’s just as stunning from the outside!

6. Visit the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Train Station

The Haverthwaite Train Station is an amazing activity to do in the Lake District to interest children in England’s history and past. It’s also a fun and unique experience, especially for children who love trains!

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite station is a traditional steam train established in 1973. It now takes visitors on an exciting journey to the south of Lake Windemere, passing through stunning Lake District countryside en route.

If you don’t want to board the train for a trip, your children can enjoy the traditional Victorian Station from the platform, complete with a tea room, gift shop, playground and engine shed. It’s quite the experience!

7. Challenge yourself at The Puzzling Place, Keswick

If it’s raining during your Lake District trip, visiting the Puzzling Place in Keswick is a great idea to keep kids entertained.

The Puzzling Place is a world of optical illusions, with interactive games and puzzles both adults and children can enjoy.

Local’s tip: Hungry after your visit? Keswick is full of pubs, restaurants and cafes suitable for families. It’s also a great village to do some shopping!

8. Spot animals at the Lake District Wildlife Park

Another fun activity when in the Lake District with kids is to visit the Lake District Wildlife Park. Just a ten-minute drive from Keswick, the Lake District Wildlife Park is home to over 100 species of wild and domestic animals and spans 24 acres of parkland.

Either walk around the park at your own pace or book onto one of the unique experiences such as alpaca walking or the ‘hawk walk’.

Your kids will have the chance to see snakes from the Amazon Rainforest, rare birds from Asia and even tapirs from Brazil! It’s an amazing day out in the Lake District for all of the family.

Other things to do in the Lake District with kids

There are so many other things to do in the Lake District with kids, including some of the following:

  • Hire a small, motorised boat on Lake Coniston – one of the prettiest and calmest lakes in the Lake District
  • Eat a traditional Sunday Roast in one of the Lake District’s hearty pubs – with one of the best being the Traveller’s Rest. This is also a great spot for spotting free-roaming sheep!
  • Hike to Latrigg, one of the easiest 15-minute walks to one of the most beautiful viewpoints in the Lake District
  • Put your climbing skills to the test at the Go Ape Centre in the Grizedale Forest
  • Visit the Walby Farm Park, feed goats, pigs and chickens and play in the large indoor and outdoor play areas
  • Go wild swimming in Lake Coniston
  • Take a paddleboard or kayak out onto one of the lakes
  • Have a picnic in the Grizedale Forest
Lake Coniston in the Lake District of England
Lake Coniston – Lake District

What to pack for the Lake District with kids

As with all locations in the UK, the weather can turn wet, windy and cold at any time of year (including in the summer!) Be sure to pack warm, waterproof clothing, even if you are visiting in the summer. 

If you’re visiting the Lake District in winter, make sure to pack plenty of layers, wellie boots and a warm hat, scarf and gloves. The Lake District is known to get thick layers of snow just after Christmas!

Your walking and hiking gear can be worn in any pubs, restaurants and cafes in the Lake District, and there’s no need to pack anything special. Most pubs welcome muddy boots – it just adds to the atmosphere!

Where to eat in the Lake District

There are plenty of options to choose from in the Lake District when it comes to food. But if you’re visiting for the first time, I highly recommend checking out some of the pubs. Most pubs in the Lake District will date back decades and will have low, wooden beams, a cosy fireplace and blankets for extra warmth.

On a Sunday, most pubs will serve a hearty roast dinner, with an option of a smaller child’s size roast with all of the trimmings. Or, pubs often offer a regular kid’s menu, with all things from chicken nuggets and chips to spaghetti bolognese.

If you’re looking for a good pub in the Lake District, Ambleside has some of the most family-friendly. Our favourite is The Traveller’s Rest, which is just a ten-minute drive from the town centre. Sadly, it doesn’t have a play area, but it has a large outdoor space for sunnier days, and sheep roam freely on the surrounding mountains.

If your children need somewhere where they can let off some energy, The Sun in Coniston is a great choice. It has an indoor toy box for when it’s raining and a large outdoor play park for the warmer months!

Lake District - Ambleside on Lake Windemere
Ambleside on Lake Windemere – Lake District

Where to stay in the Lake District

If you are visiting the Lake District for the first time and want to visit some of the best attractions, walk the prettiest hikes and visit some of the biggest lakes, I recommend staying in Ambleside.

Ambleside is known as the ‘heart of the Lake District’ and is well-located for all of the main activities in the national park. It’s also only a ten-minute walk from Lake Windemere.

Bowness-on-Windemere is just a ten-minute drive from Ambleside and is also a great place to stay as a family. It has many restaurants, pubs and cafes along the waterfront, and even an amusement park at certain times of the year.

How to get around the Lake District

There are a few ways to get around the Lake District, but if you are travelling with children, it is best to take or hire a car. Some of the main attractions and walks are spread out, and although public transport in the Lake District is relatively good, it is still time-consuming.

If you’d like to get around the Lake District without a car, you can use different methods of transport such as the bus, boat, bike, foot and taxi. Buses in the Lake District are modern, clean and convenient, running daily to most major villages in the national park.

Visiting the Lake District with Kids: Conclusion

In summary, visiting the Lake District with kids is an incredible experience. Not only will you give them a sense of adventure and a chance to be in the great outdoors, but you yourself will also have the opportunity to spend time in one of the most beautiful locations in the UK!

About the Blogger

Hi! I’m Jennie, a London-based travel blogger who left the 9-5 to pursue a lifelong dream of full-time travel. I now live a life of writing, drinking coffee and adventuring!


With thanks to Jennie for her contribution to our guest series.  You may also like to read about the Peak District with Kids, or come and take a look around Yorkshire with littles.

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Beatrix Potter house in the English countryside of the Lake District  - exciting things to do in the lake District
a beautiful sunny day over Lake Windemere in the UK's famous Lake District one of the most beautiful places to visit with your family

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