Few destinations are more jam-packed with family-friendly fun than the Lake District. Whether you’re swinging from the branches of Grizedale Forest or dining like royals in Muncaster castle, dull days are hard to find. To make sure you jump straight into the best the Lake District has to offer, we’ve turned the national park upside down in our search for great days out.
If anything catches your eye, don’t forget to make the trip complete, with one of the best holiday cottages in the Lake District. If you’ve left everything a little late, but are still dreaming of a family getaway, worry not. Just check out one of the best cottages in the Lake District.
Things to do in the Lake District for families
Best for: Seasonal celebrations
Where to stay nearby: Eskdale
A designated grade I listed building, going by the view from the outside alone, Muncaster Castle is worth a visit. Reportedly one of the most haunted castles in the country, this immense gothic structure oozes mystery, in a way many historic structures don’t manage to do.
However, even more impressive than the aesthetics are the number of fantastic events Muncaster Castle runs year-round. Whenever you decide to visit, there’ll be some seasonal celebration for you and the little ones to enjoy. From August’s overnight picnic and outdoor cinema event to the Hawk and Owl centre’s exhibitions featuring England’s most powerful native birds, family-friendly fun is guaranteed.
Come for Halloween and the castle unveils how it’s earned its reputation as such a spooky spot or visit in November to see the science behind the mysticism, with an overnight ghostly vigil. Our favourite here at Snaptrip, however, has got to be the cosy Christmas celebrations. Feast on a decedent selection of seasonal treats and enjoy the festive season like medieval royalty.
Best for: Soaking up the scenery
Where to stay nearby: Penrith
The Lake District is best known for its, well, we’re sure you’ve guessed, lakes. Of its 16 waterways, Windermere is the longest, Wastwater is the deepest, and according to many of the area’s most attentive tourists, Ullswater is the most beautiful.
Visit in the springtime, and from the western shore, you can enjoy views of Wordsworth’s Daffodils. Descendants of the very flowers the prolific poet saw “beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
Travel to Ullswater at any time of the year, and you’ll be able to soak up the scenery in the same way tourists have been doing for 160 years, from atop a vintage steamboat. Running 363 days of the year, this tranquil way of sightseeing is as photogenic a day out as you can get. What’s more, the docking points link up to several award-winning walking routes, meaning you can keep your well-adorned journey going on foot.
Best for: Rainy day fun
Where to stay nearby: Windermere
Nestled on the shores of Lake Windermere, Wray Castle is the second gothic structure to make our list. Of all England’s castles, this national trust attraction is the one that looks most like it was stolen from a fairytale. During the autumn months, when the trees in grounds turn brown, and a mysterious mist rolls through the turrets, there’s a magic here that has to be visited to be understood.
But better than the aesthetics, is what Wray castle offers on rainy days. When its too drizzly for a Lakeland tour, and those cute shoes would be ruined by a treetop trek, Wray Castle provides an array of fantastic indoor fun.
From building (and demolishing) your own castle using soft play blocks to a dedicated dress-up room with outfits in all sizes, Wray Castle is the ultimate playroom. For family days when the weather’s rough, there’s no better place.
Best for: An exhilarating adventure
Where to stay nearby: Carlisle
Breathtaking views, captivating walking routes and the freshest air England has to offer. So far Grizedale Forest sounds a lot like the rest of the Lake District. But there’s one thing here you won’t find anywhere else in Cumbria and that’s adrenaline-pumping excitement. An excellent day out in the wilderness, Grizedale is nature’s own adventure playground, with an array of activities for all ages.
Try your hand at Zip Trekking Adventure, take the Treetop Adventure or, for little ones with a big thirst for adventure, there’s the Treetop Challenge. Once you’ve pushed your nerves to the limit, why not explore the forest from ground level too. You can roam through the trees on foot, on two wheels or even on horseback.
The World of Beatrix Potter
Best for: Meeting your favourite fictional characters
Where to stay nearby: Windermere
The Lake District is the home of England’s tallest mountain, its deepest lake, and our favourite of all, its most beloved rabbit. Children’s author and national treasure, Beatrix Potter, adored the Lake District so much her beloved books are intertwined with the landscape.
As well as immersing yourself in the tales, meeting the characters and touring the garden, the whimsical World of Beatrix Potter is the ideal place to enjoy afternoon tea amongst the stunning scenery. We recommend getting the Peter Rabbit picnic basket and pairing your meal with a view out across the rolling hills.
Best of all, for a full day of fun, you can visit the world of Beatrix Potter as part of a complete Lakeland Tour package. Pair a day in the World of Beatrix Potter with a ride across the national park by steam train, a boat trip across Lake Windermere or maybe an adventure below the water, at the Lakes Aquarium.