5 of the best family friendly walks in the Lake District

7 mins read
Family friendly walks in the Lake District
Family friendly walks in the Lake District

“Are we nearly there yet?” If you’re looking for a family friendly walk in the Lake District where you won’t hear this cry, read on!

We’re a family living near Coniston, and are sharing some of our firm favourites. Plus some tips on how to keep your little ones amused in the Great Outdoors.

The walks are listed from the shortest to the longest.

1. On top of the world on Scout Scar – 500 metres

Suitable for all-terrain pushchairs

Want minimum effort, maximum impact? You don’t get much better than Scout Scar on the outskirts of Kendal. Yes, it’s a steep path up from the car park, but there are a couple of benches on which to rest. And the puff up is worth it.

The Mushroom on Scout Scar, near Kendal.  Family friendly walks in the Lake District
The Mushroom on Scout Scar, near Kendal

From the escarpment, you can see all the way to Blackpool on a clear day. Can you spot Arnside on the left-hand side of Morecambe Bay looking almost like an island or a castle – perhaps Camelot? Kids can trace the outline of Coniston’s Old Man Mountain. And the knobbly outline on the horizon? Those are the Langdale Pikes near Windermere.

There’s plenty of soft grass to run around on, plus the ‘Mushroom’ shelter to play in. As the view is to the west, why not walk up to see the sunset before bedtime?

Take a look at the Lake District National Park’s Scout Scar route

Nearest car parking spot: Scout Scar car park – LA8 8HB

2. Waterfall wonderland near Ullswater – 1.6km/1 mile

Unsuitable for all-terrain pushchairs

Billy Goats Gruff bridges, steps galore and a spectacular 20 metre high waterfall? The National Trust-owned Aira Force is like something out of a fairytale.

Aira Force  Family friendly walks in the Lake District
Billy Goats Gruff bridge, Aira Force –  Family friendly walks in the Lake District

There’s no charge for entry, only car parking. Even more of an incentive to come by Ullswater Steamer boat and make it a magical day out.

The route signs are pretty clear as soon as you arrive. But we love the Hiking Photographer’s Aira Force Waterfall Walking Route, complete with a map marked with ‘Fairy Glade’ and ‘Scary Viewing Platform’! Nearest car parking spot: Aira Force car park – CA11 0JS

Tip: In the Lake District, ‘force’ means waterfall. So try to time your visit after a downpour for the most spectacular spray.

3. White Moss Common and Rydal Cave – 3.2km/2 miles

Unsuitable for all-terrain pushchairs

You might need an early start to bag a parking spot in White Moss car park between Rydal and Grasmere, but it’s worth it. Follow the main path, cross the river and take the left path through White Moss Woods. In March there should be daffodils, and in April through to May, wild garlic and bluebells.

After the woods end, follow the signs to Rydal caves which are about a kilometre further on. The clue is in the name – caves – plural. It’s not just the small one. Christmas carol concerts take place in the largest one!

Rydale Cave from the inside
Taken from inside the Rydal cave located in the national park near Lake Grasmere, in the UK Lake District

You can also park in Rydal village, or take the 599 bus which runs between Bowness and Grasmere. Check out The Walking Northerners for route maps and more photos.

Nearest car parking spot: White Moss car park – LA22 9SE

Tip: Given there are stepping stones within the big cave, it’s a good idea for everyone to wear wellies, just in case…

4. Enchanting Elterwater – 4 km/2.5 miles

Suitable for all-terrain pushchairs

Below the Langdale Pikes near Ambleside lies the lovely village of Elterwater. And one of the flattest walks in the Lake District.

Elterwater walk to Skelwith Bridge -  Family friendly walks in the Lake District
Elterwater –  Family friendly walks in the Lake District

Park in the village’s National Trust car park, then follow the tumbling beck to the shores of the quiet lake of Elterwater. Follow the path round through woodland and meadowland. Then head through the gate to run onto Woodburn Bridge high above the river for a game of Pooh sticks. Further down the woodland path is the dramatic waterfall of Skelwith Force.

Tip: You can turn back now, but just 200 metres further on is the wonderful Chesters By The River Café which has a New England vibe.

For full walk details, check out our Elterwater Walk to Skelwith Bridge article

Nearest car parking spot: Elterwater car park – LA22 9HU

5. Bag a Wainwright above The Drunken Duck near Coniston – 4km/2.5 miles

Unsuitable for all-terrain pushchairs

Have you heard of the Wainwrights? They’re a list of 214 fell tops, or mountains. ‘Bagging’ or getting to the top of all of them is a real accomplishment. So why not start your little mountaineers off early?

You may even see red squirrels if you’re lucky – and quiet. An ideal excuse for some ‘hush’ time!

Wainwright Black Crag near Skelwith Fold - Family friendly walks in the Lake District
Black Crag Wainwright – Family friendly walks in the Lake District

Here’s our route description: Black Crag from The Drunken Duck Inn

Nearest car parking spot: in a lay-by around the corner from the Drunken Duck on the road to Skelwith – Drunken Duck’s postcode is LA22 0NG

What’s your favourite family-friendly walk?

Please let us know your go-to walk! The same goes if you’ve enjoyed one of the walks listed here. Please post your pictures and tag in @cumbria_dot_com on Instagram or @cumbriadotcom on Twitter.

About the author

Heather lives near Coniston with her husband and two active boys, who love to burn off steam with a walk at the weekend.

Disclaimer: We’ve tried to be as accurate as possible when writing this article, but information can change. Please check for yourself before making any decisions based on this blog.