Looking for amazing family adventures in the Lake District? If you fancy visiting a lake, mountains or waterfalls, going on a wildlife safari or even visiting an island, there's an adventure for everyone.
1. Circumnavigate a lake
Walking all the way around a lake is a fun and obvious challenge that’s also easy to tailor to suit different age groups and abilities. Tarn Hows, once owned by Beatrix Potter, is a great place to start for little legs and buggies. The 2-mile trail around the edge is well-maintained and level and there are woods to explore and great views across the lake along the way.
Spring is a great time to visit when daffodils light up the hillsides. Another great adventure is the Ullswater Trail which, although 20 miles in total, can be spit up into sections and combined with a fun steamer ride back to the start.
2. Climb a mini mountain
The Lake District can be a bit daunting if you’re looking for walks suitable for younger children. However, if you know where to look there are some perfect pint-sized summits that are a brilliant adventure to climb with children of any age.
One of our favourites is Side Pike which you can climb straight from the National Trust’s Great Langdale campsite. The views from the top, out across the valley to the iconic Pikes, are well worth the climb. Take care near the top as there are some stepped sections where smaller children may require help.
3. Scramble up a waterfall
Ghyll scrambling is popular in the Lakes and a great way to introduce older children to rock climbing. ‘Ghylls’ are the local term for the many waterfalls that tumble off the mountains and some are a great adventure to scramble up.
If you’d prefer to stay dry you can walk up the path alongside a ghyll – Sourmilk Ghyll in Borrowdale and Stickle Ghyll in Great Langdale are great for this.
For a more extreme adventure book onto a ghyll scrambling day with a local guide and enjoy splashing through the falls and pools fully kitted-out in safety gear.
4. Go on a wildlife safari
Spotting and naming wildlife is a great way to get children enthused about, and connected with, the natural world around them and going on a safari turns a family walk into an interactive and fun learning experience.
The Lake District is a great place for seeing creatures that are hard to spot elsewhere; don’t worry if you don’t know all the names as looking things up is also a good skill for them to learn. You could even make up your own Big Five and see if you can spot them all – why not start with red squirrels, ospreys, buzzards, deer and the famous local Herdwick sheep?
5. Visit an island
The Lake District is a great place to go if your kids love water, whether they’re splashing around in streams, swimming wild in mountain tarns or exploring the larger lakes by kayak. Famous as Arthur Ransome’s inspiration for Swallows and Amazons, there’s no better place to have your own Wildcat Island adventure than picturesque Derwent Water.
There are four islands in the lake, three of which can be explored at any time as long as you don’t stay overnight, light fires, disturb wildlife or leave any trace of your visit. Derwent Island is inhabited and only open occasionally. Boat hire is available from the marinas.
Jen & Sim Benson are avid adventurers, and passionate about the natural world. They have explored the length and breadth of the UK with their two young children.
When they’re not out having adventures, they are usually busy writing about them. Their aim is to inspire, inform and make exploring wild and beautiful places achievable and enjoyable for all.
Explore the UK with their fun-packed book, 'Amazing Family Adventures: Fun days out and action-packed weekends’, full of adventures for all ages – buggy-friendly, easy activities lead on to bigger challenges such as orienteering, sea kayaking and surfing for older children.
Packed with handy hints, fun facts and step-by-step guides to activities such as making your own raft and building a bug hotel, each amazing family adventure comes with perfect National Trust places to explore, including fantastic parks, woodland, beaches and mountains.
GetOutside Champions, Jen & Sim Benson, are guidebook authors, photographers and parents. In 2015/16 they spent a year living in a bell tent in Britain with their two young children and in 2017 their book, Amazing Family Adventures, was published by the National Trust.