The top 10 child friendly places for kids in the Lake District

Claife Heights

For a great children’s activity try the best paddling and picnic Spots

1.My first choice is a secret, hidden lake a few minutes walk from Woodside.   High Dam, just outside the village of Finsthwaite is a real beauty spot! This stunningly peaceful lake is ideal for wild swimming  and paddling.

2. My second choice is one of the top wild swimming, river paddling and picnic spots in the Lake District. It’s  across the lake from Woodside at   Fell Foot Park, Bowness.  For an unusual way to travel to Fell Foot Park why not walk to Lakeside and then take the ferry from Lakeside to Fell Foot Park?

3. Fell Foot Park, Bowness is sat on the shore of Lake Windermere, opposite Lakeside and Woodside cottage and only 15 minutes from Fell View Cottage.  You’ll find a National Trust café with baby changing, outdoor picnic benches and lots of grassy picnic blanket areas, rowing boats for hire, children’s adventure playground. It is ideal for children’s activities. But most importantly it has a beach-like access for splashing about in Lake Windermere

High Dam in Summer

For the adventurous child why not try Grizedale Forest. Only 15 minutes from Woodside and 35 mins from Fell View

2.    Grizedale has everything for a great family day out. Located to the east of Coniston Water and to the south of Hawkshead (15 minutes for Woodside) Set in the heart of the Lake District National Park, Grizedale offers an unrivalled day out for everyone and is great for children’s activities. 

Grizedale Forest has :Sculpture trails, picnic areas, forest way marked trails, (Riddings Wood is push chair/wheel chair friendly) a Gruffalo Trail , mountain bike trails, Mountain bike hire but book in advance!, excellent café/tearoom. For the really adventourous there’s Go Ape Tree Top Adventure and  Zip Trekking Adventure Forest Segway,

Go Ape is the  Zip Trekking Adventure – a network of seven tandem zip lines that traverse the sky-scraping Douglas Firs. A brilliant day out for the adventurous and for those not quite so adventurous you can just look! You can enjoy two to three hours in the trees taking on Zip Wires, Tarzan Swings, Rope Ladders and a variety of obstacles and crossings; a high ropes course for all the family. Set in a forest of sky-scraping Douglas Firs, Grizedale feels seriously high, mainly due to its vertigo-inducing 19 metre platforms. There are two Zip Wires which fly over the road below!

Go Ape Opening times :February Half Term [open daily]
March [weekends only]
Easter, Half Term and Summer Holidays [open daily]
October Half Term [open daily]
November [weekends only]
December [Tree Top Junior and Tree Top Adventure open 3rd-4th only]

We highly recommend booking in advance to avoid disappointment.

Grizedale ropes

3. Beatrix Potter Revealed

A lovely place to visit in the Summer is Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse. This is a time-capsule of her life. Her house ,Hill Top  is a  few minutes from Woodside . A  very pleasant drive through woodland lanes takes you to  Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LF . Although it is open most of the Summer months , from September it is closed on Fridays

Furthermore ,you can enjoy the story of Beatrix Potter and her life,as Hill Top is full of her favourite things. The house appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk! Every room contains a reference to a picture in a ‘tale’.They run children’s activities during the Summer.

The lovely cottage garden is a haphazard mix of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables. Bought in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, she used Hill Top itself and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her subsequent books.

Hill Top is a small house and a timed-ticket system is in operation. . Hill Top can be very busy and visitors may sometimes have to wait to enter the house.  Tickets cannot be booked in advance and early sell-outs are possible in the Summer holiday periods.

Hill Top

4. The most awe-inspiring view!

If you want to experience a World Heritage site in all its glory, get yourself to Claife Heights Viewing station on the banks of Lake Windermere. This venue is child friendly and a great place for kids of all ages. 

By road  …Junction 36 off M6, then take A684 which becomes the A591 to Windermere and Ambleside. B5285 from Windermere via Windermere ferry 3 miles. B5286 and B5285 from Ambleside 9 miles. B5285 from Coniston 8 miles.

Parking: Ash Landing, very near Claife Viewing Station and Harrowslack, on Windermere’s west shore.

There’s a cosy cafe in the courtyard and it is open every day 11am-3pm.  Dogs  are welcome on the west shore of Windermere.

This colourful Viewing Station has endless lake views and waterside paths for you to explore. Children love looking through the amazing coloured glass.

Claife Heights

5. The coolest boat ride in the Lakes is on Coniston Water.This is a great family friendly day out!  Coniston  is nearly  five miles long, and has a maximum depth of 184 feet.  It is  the third largest of the lakes. It provided an important fish source for the monks of Furness Abbey who owned the lake and much of the surrounding land in the 13th and 14th Centuries. More recently Coniston Water was used to transport slate and ore from the many mines worked in the Coppermines Valley above Coniston It has three small islands, all owned by the National Trust.

The elegant Victorian Steam Yacht Gondola sails between March and November. Renovated by the National Trust, its passengers can travel in opulently upholstered saloons – a superb way to appreciate the magnificent scenery. The traditional timber craft of Coniston Launch provide regular hourly sailings throughout the year to jetties around Coniston Water, including Brantwood.

The Victorian philosopher John Ruskin bought Brantwood house to the east of the lake in 1871 declaring the view over the lake to ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ to be ‘the best in all of England’.

Arthur Ransome based his book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ on Coniston Water, and much fun may be had trying to discover the locations of the stories. There are both boat hire and sailing courses & centres on Coniston Water.

Sir Malcolm Campbell chose Coniston for his attempt at the water speed record in 1939, which he achieved at over 141 miles per hour. On his death, his son Donald Campbell [left] took up where his father left off.
His aim was to better 300 miles per hour, which he did on 4th January 1967, but the craft, ‘Bluebird’, shot up into the air and disappeared into the lake. Until early in 2001, his body had never been found. There is a memorial to him near the Information Centre in Ruskin Avenue. The story is told in the refurbished Ruskin Museum.

coniston gondala

7. A steam train back in time . Head for the  Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railwayat either Lakeside or Haverthwaite , where  you can travel back in time when you climb aboard these amazing  If you are staying at Woodside it is a short walk to lakeside to pick up the train.

A distant memory of bygone years for some and new experience for others, it’s a unique day out for all.

If you want to, you can combine your day out with a visit to The Lakes Aquarium or continue your journey aboard a Windermere Steamer to Bowness or Ambleside. The trains welcome dogs and owners.

Newby Bridge Halt

8. Explore an amazing garden of weird and wonderful trees.

I’m talking topiary at  Holker Hall. Just off the A590 the house and gardens  is the family home of Lord and Lady Cavendish. It is a delightful family home with fine displays of antique furniture and art.

You can tour the house without the restriction of ropes and barriers, and see the distinguished library, elegant drawing room, and ornate dining room. Climb the striking staircase and you can view portraits of Charles II, and Catherine of Braganza. You can visit the bedroom where Queen Mary stayed in 1937.

Children will be fascinated by the unique shaped trees as they complete a quiz (bought from the shop) of the garden.  The café is very good. In the Summer they sometimes have the steam engine working in the court yard.

Holker Hall

8. Why not  take to the water in crafts of all shapes and sizes at Fell Foot and Coniston where there is a huge variety of watersports, from canoeing and sailing to windsurfing and diving,. From Woodside you can walk to lakeside and take the passenger ferry over to Fell Foot park or you can drive the few minutes there. Rowing boats are available at Fell Foot.

9.Enjoy a Kayaking at Brockhole

Kayaking on Lake Windermere is something rather special! Peace Quiet only the lap of the paddle can be heard.

 £42 for a half-day session – including packed lunch and all equipment provided

Places are limited (8 per session) so please book.

  1. The Aquarium of the Lakes is an ideal wet weather attraction and a short walk from Woodside . Aquarium with freshwater and marine life, featuring an underwater otter tunnel and stingrays.

Address: Rocky Bank Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Lakeside, Ulverston LA12 8AS

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