Things to do in Lake District with family

26 mins read
The La'al Ratty heading up into Eskdale
The La'al Ratty heading up into Eskdale - things to do in lake district with family

Welcome to the magnificent Lake District, where unforgettable adventures and exciting discoveries await you and your family. This breathtaking destination is truly a gem, with stunning landscapes, rich history, and endless activities that will make you keep coming back for more. Whether you’re exploring fascinating museums and historical sites or encountering incredible wildlife and embarking on exciting trails, the Lake District has something for everyone to enjoy.

Are you looking for inspiration for things to do in the Lakes for the family outside of the usual outdoor activities? There are plenty of options! You can visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery, which showcases the famous author’s work and has a charming garden. Check out the Lakes Aquarium for an underwater experience or take a boat tour of Lake Windermere. Whatever your interests, the Lake District has something to offer for a truly inspiring and engaging family holiday. Keep reading for some ideas on things to do in the Lake District with Family.

Whilst some of these activities are outside the National Park, they are within driving distance.


Don’t miss out on the chance to visit some of the most fascinating and educational museums in the area.

Lakeland Motor Museum – Backbarrow

Replica of the Bluebird K7 jet hydroplane - Lakeland Motor Museum -
Replica of the Bluebird K7 jet hydroplane – Things to do in Lake District with family

Experience a unique and nostalgic journey through 50 years of carefully curated exhibits at the Lakeland Motor Museum, featuring 140 classic cars and motorbikes presented in a social context.

Address: Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston LA12 8TA

Jetty Museum – Windermere

The main hall of Windermere Jetty Museum
The main hall of Windermere Jetty Museum

If you want to explore the rich history of Windermere and the boats that have sailed its waters, then you should definitely visit the Lake District’s award-winning museum and visitor destination, which boasts a stunning collection of boats and a commitment to conservation.

Address: Rayrigg Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 1BN

Dock Museum – Barrow-in-Furness

Model Submarine in Barrows Dock Museum

Visit the Dock Museum for a unique experience exploring the history of Barrow-in-Furness, with indoor galleries, changing exhibitions, a gift shop, and café, as well as outdoor features such as a sea-themed playground, picnic tables, sculpture, lifeboat, and Walney Channel.

Address: Barrow-in-Furness LA14 2PW

The World of Beatrix Potter – Bowness-on-Windermere

Peter Rabbit model in the World of Beatrix potter in Bowness on Windermere

A family-friendly attraction that recreates the beautiful Lake District countryside and brings to life the beloved characters from Beatrix Potter’s enchanting stories.

Address: Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria, UK, LA23 3BX

Derwent Pencil Museum – Keswick

The Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick
The Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick

The museum in Keswick, home of the first pencil, offers a journey of graphite and pencil discovery and features unique exhibits such as secret WW2 pencils and one of the largest color pencils in the world, with facilities including a gift shop, coffee shop, and baby changing facilities, and is open to visitors at specific times.

Address: Southey Works, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5NG

Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum – Threlkeld

Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum - Lakes District Museum
Threlkeld Quarry and Mining Museum – an interactive Lakes District Museum

This Museum is a captivating destination in the Lake District that offers a rich, interactive experience combining education and entertainment for all ages. Visitors can enjoy a fascinating glimpse into the area’s industrial heritage with educational exhibits on mining and geology, a scenic narrow gauge train ride, the thrill of panning for minerals, and live excavator demonstrations. It’s an ideal spot for history buffs, families, and anyone interested in the Lake District’s storied past. With opportunities to volunteer and contribute to sustainability efforts, this museum is not just a journey through time but also an investment in the region’s future.

Address: Threlkeld Quarry, Threlkeld, CA12 4TT

A slice of History

Embark on a journey through time and nature, captivating the kids imaginations and creating unforgettable family memories. 

Wordsworth House – Cockermouth

Wordsworth House - Cockermouth

Wordsworth House and Garden offers visitors an immersive experience of life in the 1770s, with knowledgeable guides, a daily children’s trail, ghost stories, changing exhibitions, a beautiful garden, and hands-on visitor activities.

Address: Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9RX

Lowther Castle and Gardens – Penrith

The ruins of Lowther Castle
Built-in the nineteenth century, Lowther Castle is just a shell today. Photography by Vivienne Crow

Lowther Castle is a stunning visitor attraction in the Lake District with dramatic ruins, gardens within gardens, and a massive adventure playground called the “lost castle”.

Address: Lowther, Penrith CA10 2HH

Sizergh Castle and Gardens – Kendal

Sizergh Castle in Kendal

The Strickland family’s home, which has stood at the entrance to the Lake District for over 800 years, boasts a 1,600-acre estate featuring wetlands, woodlands, orchards, gardens, and a children’s adventure trail. 

Address: Sizergh, near Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8DZ

Muncaster Castle and Gardens – Ravenglass

Muncaster Castle and Gardens - Ravensglass

Muncaster Castle is a historic site on the River Esk that has played a vital role since Roman times. The castle has been the residence of the Pennington family since 1208, and the current castle was rebuilt in 1862 by architect Anthony Salvin. Visitors can explore the house and gardens, including the Meadow Vole Maze, plant centre, and Creeping Kate’s Kitchen. 

Address: Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1RQ

Holker Hall and Gardens – Grange-over-Sands

Holker Hall
Photography by Vivienne Crow

Holker Estate boasts a variety of gardens, including formal plantings and meadows, a deer park, and a historic Hall that was rebuilt in a Neo-Elizabethan style after a fire in 1871.

Address: Cark, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7PL

Levens Hall and Gardens – Kendal

Levens Hall and gardens Topiary

Levens Hall, located in Cumbria, is a beautiful privately-owned house and gardens with the world’s oldest topiary gardens and a thriving agricultural estate.

Address: Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0PD

On the water

Looking for some family-friendly water activities? Look no further than the Lake District! 

Boat Trip to Piel island

Piel Island offers a unique and historical day trip with beautiful beaches to explore, a ruined castle, and a chance to meet the King of Piel at The Ship Inn, making it a great option for a family outing.

Address: Piel Ferry, Roa Island, Barrow in Furness, Cumbria LA13 0QL

Ullswater Steamer – Glenridding

The Ulswater Steamer
The Ullswater ‘Steamers’ offer trips on the lake throughout the year – Photography Viv Crow

The Ullswater Steamers are the perfect activity for families with children. With year-round boat trips available, you can enjoy the sublime perspective of England’s second largest natural lake while keeping your little ones entertained. 

Address: The Pier House, Glenridding, Cumbria, CA11 0US

Row, row, row your boat in Keswick – Keswick Launch

Rowing boat hire, Derwentwater, Keswick
Rowing boat hire, Derwentwater, Keswick

Ready for an adventure on Derwentwater? Hire a family-sized rowing boat for up to 8 adults and discover hidden gems together—safety instructions provided for a fun and safe experience. Kids will love being in charge. Let’s set sail and make unforgettable memories!

Address: Derwentwater Foreshore, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5DJ

Hire a kayak with Coniston boating centre.

Kayaking in the Lake District is an exciting activity that the whole family can enjoy. With stable single and two-seater sit on top hire kayaks, it’s perfect for all experience levels and activities. To make the most out of this experience, you can divide and conquer by pairing up one parent with one kid in each kayak. This way, you can explore the beautiful scenery and have a fun adventure while ensuring everyone’s safety.

Address: Lake Road, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AN

Animal encounters

Explore the amazing animal encounters in Lake District. Inspire kids to protect our planet’s ecosystems with these fun and educational family outings.

South Lakes Safari Zoo – Nr Ulverston

Some kids watching the giraffes South Lakes Safari Zoo

South Lakes Safari Zoo offers a unique opportunity to get up close with over 1,000 rare and endangered animals in their natural environments.

Address: Melton Ter, Lindal in Furness, Ulverston LA12 0LU

Lakes Aquarium – Newby Bridge

Little boy looking at the fish in Lakeside Aquarium,

At Lakeside Aquarium, families can immerse themselves in the incredible diversity of wildlife that call Windermere home. With over 30 displays to explore, kids will discover the beauty and grace of salmon, otters, and various types of trout. But it’s not just freshwater creatures that await you. You’ll also be amazed by the stunning array of seawater inhabitants, from majestic rays to awe-inspiring sharks.

Address: Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Ulverston LA12 8AS

Lakeland Maze Farm Park – Kendal

Pouncing pillow at Lakeland Maze Farm Park - Kendal

Kids will love visiting Lakeland Maze Farm Park, with its array of animals to see, play equipment, purpose built mazes, and tractor ride tour of the farm.

Address: Raines Hall, Sedgwick, Kendal LA8 0JH

The Lake District Coast Aquarium – Maryport

Dahlia anemone in the Lake District Coast Aquarium – Photography Viv Crow

Families can have a blast at Maryport Aquarium, with 24 years of fish-filled fun, daily fish feeding and talks, over 75 displays, and exciting new features like the Piranha and SeaLab extensions.

Address: S Quay, Maryport CA15 8AB

Muncaster Hawk and Owl centre 

Owl at Muncaster Castle
Owl at Muncaster Castle

Discover the magic of rarely seen up-close birds at the Hawk & Owl Centre within the beautiful gardens of Muncaster Castle. Enjoy inspiring flying displays, visit the lawned Owl Garden, and relax at the Owl Garden Tearoom.

Address:  Ravenglass CA18 1RQ

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis – Milnthorpe

Prairie dog at Wildlife Oasis
Prairie dog at Wildlife Oasis

Explore the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, where you can see over 100 different types of animals like mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates, while also enjoying exciting interactive displays and indoor tropical halls, all just five minutes away from junction 35 of the M6 .

Address: Hale, Milnthorpe, Cumbria, LA7 7FE

Wildlife and adventure trails 

Check out these exciting trails and experiences that will take you through the lush woodlands and beautiful gardens of the Lake District.https://www.brockhole.co.uk/activities/the-woodland-faerie-trail/

Brockhole Woodland Faerie Trail – Windermere

Explore the Woodland Faerie Trail at Brockhole and discover over fifty faerie houses and doors hidden amongst ancient trees and dense ferns.

Address: Visitor Centre, Windermere LA23 1LJ

Grizedale and Whinlatter Forest Zog Trail 

Join Zog on a “Roarsome” forest adventure with a brand-new family activity trail Grizedale, where you can collect golden stars and take photos with everyone’s favourite dragon while learning how to care for the forest and having fun with the Zog trail activity pack.

Address: Grizedale, Ambleside LA22 0QJ

Address: Whinlatter Forest Park, Keswick CA12 5TW

Brantwood House and Gardens – Coniston

Brantwood - Coniston

Explore Brentwood Gardens by taking children on a woodland wildlife trail and discover hidden animal friends. Each step brings new and exciting discoveries as you explore the natural world. Bring your little adventurers for a day of exploration and wonder!

Address: East of Lake, Coniston, LA21 8AD

Sizergh Castle and Gardens – Kendal

Little boy on Adventure trail at Sizergh Castle

Are you ready for an adventure in the woods? Families can follow the wild play trail and put their balance, bravery, and problem-solving skills to the test. The skilled ranger team has created a natural play area with challenging obstacles like a climbing wall, balance beams, rope swing, and stepping-stones to conquer. This exciting activity is perfect for children aged 3 and up, but younger kids may require assistance from a grown-up.

Address: Sizergh, near Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8DZ

Mirehouse and Gardens – Bassenthwaite Lake

Mirehouse - Bassenthwaite

Mirehouse set in breathtaking Lakeland surroundings and inhabited by many fascinating creatures. Children and adults alike will enjoy this trail. There is an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered here. Keep your eyes peeled for the many diverse wildlife species whilst enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery.

Address: A591, Keswick CA12 4QE

Mining and minerals for the budding geologist 

Explore the world of mining and minerals with family-friendly activities in the Lake District.

Thelkeld Quary and Mining Museum – Thelkeld

Old mining machinery at Thelkeld Quary and Mining Museum

The museum offers a range of family-friendly activities, including a 25-minute trip on a narrow gauge railway to the old quarry, a comprehensive geological and mining museum, a unique collection of machinery at the quarry site, mineral panning, and even welcomes school or student groups by arrangement with ample free parking, a shop, and hot and cold drinks available.

Address: Quarry, Threlkeld, Keswick CA12 4TT

Rock Shop – Ambleside

Discover the thrilling 3 children’s experiences at the RockShop attraction in Ambleside. The attraction features a Dinosaur Den treasure hunt, a Gem Pit adventure, and a chance to get creative at the Pippin Bead Bar. These experiences are all designed around the world of Dinosaurs, gemstones, and fossils, and are suitable for ages 4 and up.

Address: North Rd, Ambleside LA22 9DT

Honister Slate Mine – Keswick

Honnster Slate Mine

Honister, England’s last working slate mine located on an iconic mountain pass in the heart of Lake District National Park, offers visitors the chance to take part in fun family activities and mountain top adventures, including Via Ferrata, Cliff Camping, Climb the Mine, and Canyoning, with expert Guides prioritizing safety and well-being and tailoring outdoor activities to meet the needs of all ages and abilities.

Address: Honister Pass, Keswick CA12 5XN

Train rides

Take the weight off your feet, sit back and let the stunning scenery of the Lake District pass you by. 

Millerbeck Light Railway – Newby Bridge

Millerbeck Light Railway

Enjoy a family-friendly day out at the Millerbeck Light Railway in Staveley-in-Cartmel, where visitors of all ages can experience a 7¼” gauge railway ride through the stunning Lakeland setting, crossing the charming Millerbeck stream, and taking a mile-long journey on 4 or 5 passenger trains pulled by steam, diesel, and electric locomotives. Open for occasional open days like Halloween and Christmas, birthdays and special events.

Address: Millerbeck House, Staveley-in-Cartmel, Newby Bridge, Cumbria LA12 8NH

Lakeside Haverthwaite Railway – Haverthwaite

The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway
The Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway

Experience a unique day out at Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway, where you can travel back in time on a steam train that hauls traditional 1950’s carriages through the picturesque Leven Valley, with a stop at Lakeside Station for connections to Windermere Lake Cruises, and enjoy the quaint surroundings of Haverthwaite Station, complete with a Tea Room, Gift Shop, Engine Shed, Woodland Playground, and Walk, all while bringing your furry friends along for a free ride.

Address: Haverthwaite Station, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8AL

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – ‘LA’AL RATTY’ – Ravenglass

'LA’AL RATTY’ on a turn table
‘LA’AL RATTY’ Photography by Alec Mamwell

Embark on a seven-mile picturesque journey through ancient woodlands to Dalegarth for Boot, where you can enjoy the stunning views of Scafell Pike and explore the many trails and walks in this beautiful corner of the Lake District National Park, all while keeping an eye out for wildlife and indulging in homemade treats from the café and pocket money gifts from the gift shop.

Address: Station, Main St, Ravenglass CA18 1SW

Soft play

Soft play is a great way to keep the little ones entertained on those dreary, rainy days or when parents need a break. So sit back and relax while the kids go wild: 

Outside In – Kendal 

Children playing in the replica of Kendal Town Centre in Outside in

Outside In offers a fun-packed area with various activities like climbing, sliding, balancing, and bouncing. The High Street area features well-known landmarks in Kendal where visitors can enjoy monthly changing role plays. Additionally, there is a baby and toddler area with interactive blocks and walls, ideal for tiny ones to play, discover and learn together.

Address:  Kendal LA9 6EL

Greenlands farm village play barn – Carnforth

The Play Barn is a wonderful haven for toddlers and older children alike, providing a safe and happy environment for them to climb, clamber, slide, swing and explore to their heart’s content – no matter the weather. And while they play, you can sit back and relax with a freshly brewed cup of your favourite beverage paired with a delicious slice of something scrumptious.

Address:  Tewitfield, Carnforth LA6 1JH

Little Subs – Barrow-in-Furness

Little Subs offers a soft structured play area for babies and a multi-tiered playground for older children, as well as bouncy castles for all to enjoy. There are various toys and activities available for children to play with and burn off energy.

Address: Unit 2, 331 Rawlinson St, Barrow-in-Furness LA14 1BS

Walby Farm Park – Carlisle 

Step into Cumbria’s Largest Indoor Adventure Play Area for a day of exciting indoor entertainment for the whole family. With a 24-foot Demon Drop slide, ball pool, Wavy Astra slide, and thrilling obstacles, there’s something for everyone. Younger children have their own dedicated play area while adults can relax and refuel at Piglets Pantry. 

Address: Walby, Crosby-on-Eden, Carlisle CA6 4QL

Playgrounds and Parks

Its always handy to know where some good parks are especially when you have young children, here are some of the best in the Lake District 

Rothay Park – Ambleside 

Rothay Park, located on Rothay Road right in the heart of town. With its breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and an array of amenities for both locals and visitors alike, this park is a true gem. Featuring a full-sized football pitch, a fantastic children’s play area, expansive grassy fields, and even a wetland area, there’s no shortage of activities to keep everyone entertained. Take advantage of the picnic areas and the many organized events and activities held throughout the year. 

Address: 1 Vicarage Rd, Ambleside LA22 9DH

Fitz Park – Keswick 

If you’re looking for a lovely place to spend your day, head over to Fitz Park, located just a short walk away from Keswick Market Square. Set alongside a river, this park boasts stunning panoramic views of Skiddaw and Latrigg. It’s perfect for a picnic or just relaxing in nature. The Lower Park offers a vast open space for recreational activities, a cricket pavilion, and an excellent playground for kids. Additionally, you’ll find a multi-use games area, gym equipment, and a BMX track. On the other hand, the upper park is a more formal area that features a grass tennis court, a putting green, a bowling green, and an arboretum.

Address:  5 Station Ave, Keswick CA12 4NP

Lowther Lost Castle – Penrith

Lowther Lost Castle play fort

As you stroll through the enchanting Lowther castle gardens and venture deeper into the nearby woodlands, you stumble upon one of the largest and most exciting adventure playgrounds in the entire country. This is a massive play fort with ropes, slides, swings, the kids will spend hours playing here there is so much to do. 

Address: Lowther, Penrith CA10 2HH

Broadgate Meadow Park – Grasmere

Broadgate Meadow park features a large open space with a well-equipped children’s play area, located on the edge of the village of Grasmere and bordered by the River Rothay. There are swings, including a full harness seat swing, slides, playhouses and seesaws

Address: Grasmere, Broadgate LA22 9TA

Have you got any inspirational ideas of things to do in the Lake District with family?

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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.