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The Lake District is the perfect place to spend some time as a family, and there is no shortage of things to do, particularly if you and your family love the great outdoors.

There is no better place to get some fresh air and exercise than the Lakes, and there are lots of accessible places to explore because so much care has been put into the upkeep and care of this National Park which was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2017. 

For those who are disabled or have children in pushchairs, it is refreshing to be able to explore whole forests and enjoy lakeside walks without running into problems, and there are plenty of official walks that are clearly marked as accessible.

For little ones who love adventure, there are mountains to climb, lakes to enjoy watersports on, and treetops to swing through. And there are plenty of options for indoor entertainment too, from cinemas and theatres to museums and for everyone to enjoy, so should the weather turn, you will still have plenty to do.

It can be a little bit overwhelming trying to pick the best activities to fill your time with if you are heading up to the Lakes for a week, as there is just so much to choose from. With that in mind, we thought we would put together an itinerary for a full week in the Lake District with a family, that you can either choose to follow in full or just draw on for inspiration!


Day one

Only a five-minute walk from us here at Craig Manor Hotel, The World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere is the perfect place to start your week of family fun, and a great place to escape to if the weather is less than ideal. See Beatrix Potter’s timeless stories brought to life in this magical exhibition, right in the heart of the Lake District where she lived. 

Beatrix Potter was responsible for preserving much of the Lake District National Park as we know it, so it seems fitting to pay a visit and learn more about her stories and the worlds she created at the start of your trip.

Next, you’ll probably want to stop off for a spot of lunch. Since you’ll already be in Bowness, we recommend giving Folk a try. This spot couldn’t be more perfect for a family visit, as there is plenty of seating indoors and outside, they’re dog-friendly, and they cater to plenty of different dietary requirements. If you’re planning on brining your four-legged friend to the lakes with you, don’t forget we have dog friendly rooms here at the Craig Manor Hotel. 

Whether you’re veggie, vegan, or a meat-eater there is something for everyone, with gluten-free options too. Plus the prices are really reasonable, which is ideal if you have to feed the whole family.

Then why not spend the rest of your day enjoying a self-guided treasure trail around Bowness? The whole family can join in and help to solve clues together, and it’s a great way to explore the town and take in all of its historical features. 


Day two

After a gentle first day in the Lakes, why not throw yourself headfirst into a spot of adventure for day two? Go Ape in Grizedale is the perfect place to do this, as they offer five different activities, all just as exciting as each other.

There are various different levels of Treetop Adventure Challenges available, aimed at different age groups so that there is something for the little ones as well as the older thrill-seekers. 

Climbing through the trees and ziplining through the canopies is sure to get your pulse racing, and they also offer a segway ride through the forest, with views of the mountains and Consiton.

Once you’ve finished swinging through the trees, you can enjoy one of the ten walking route through the forest, which range from 1 to 10 miles, so whether the kids still need to burn off a bit more energy or you just want a bit of a stroll to ground yourself again, there’s something for everybody. And keep an eye out for the sculptures throughout the forest!

There are spots to stop for a picnic or a BBQ, so bring a packed lunch with you today if this sounds appealing to you, otherwise, you can refuel at the Visitor Centre tearoom.


Day three

Another great place to head to on a rainy day is Wray Castle, which is packed with activities for the kids to enjoy. Unlike most National Trust castles, this one has a different activity in each room, from dressing up (adults can join in) to building your own castle and much more.

Upstairs in the castle are the Peter Rabbit adventure rooms, and you can help to get dinner ready in the kitchen or read a story on the bed, while outside there is a treehouse where you can relax and watch the CBeebies Peter Rabbit series.

All of the children’s activities are included in the price of admission, and there is a cafe cakes, snacks and hot meals, or picnic facilities if you’d rather bring your own. Don’t worry if it’s raining, as there are both indoor and outdoor picnic areas.

There’s also a fantastic woodland playground outside, so if your little ones are always asking where the next playground is, it shouldn’t be too difficult to convince them to come along for a great day out at Wray Castle.

If you’ve brought your bikes with you, there is a cycling route from Claife Viewing Station to Wray Castle that takes you along the western shore of Lake Windermere, and arriving by bike is encouraged, although limited parking is available too.

You can also arrive by ferry from Ambleside or the Brockholes Visitor centre, and Ambleside is a great place for a wander around the shops, should that take your fancy. Check out our guide on things to do in Ambleside.


Day four

When visiting the Lake District, there are two things that are unmissable during your stay; taking to the waters on one of the lakes, and walking in the Lakeland fells. So with that in mind, we wanted to fill the next couple of days with plenty of outdoor activities, perfect for getting the most out of your Lake District family experience.

A great place to start is the Ullswater Steamers, which operates tours and cruises around Ullswater, connecting some of the Lake District’s most well-loved walking routes. The steamers are the perfect way to see a couple of different things in one day, and combine plenty of sightseeing with some walking too.

We recommend that you alight at Aira Force as a starting point, as the falls are just a short 20-minute walk from the pier. You’ll hear the roaring of the water as you approach, before being greeted by the sight of the water tumbling 65 feet into the pool below. The lush woodland surrounding and the way the spray catches the light to create rainbows in the right conditions makes this a magical place to stop off.

Next, you can either head to the National Trust tea room for refreshments, before heading back to the steamer and making the journey to Howtown to begin to Howtown to Glenridding walk. This is one of the most famous and beautiful lakeside walks in the Lake District, and while it will take you around 3-4 hours, it is low level, and at the half way point is the Lowther Barn Tea room at Beckside Farm, which is the perfect place to stop for lunch or just afternoon tea, while enjoying the views.


Day five

If you fancy taking in some of the fantastic fell top views that the Lake District is so famous for, then why not spend another day in the local area and enjoy a walk up Orrest Head.

This walk was actually Alfred Wainwright’s first introduction to the Lake District, and the views are suitably breathtaking and inspiring. The circular walk is relatively easy for the payoff, and kids should find it easy enough, and there is a plaque at the top that will help them to identify the surrounding fells.

The walk is signposted from the A591 where it begins, and mostly follows a lane up to the summit. You could just turn around and head back the way you came, but a nicer way to complete the walk is along the woodland path that you will find through St Catherine’s Wood and High Hay Wood before returning to the start.

Once you’re back in Windermere, why not hire a rowing boat and take to the waters for an hour or two? The rowing boats hold 6 people, and offer a more slow paced way to enjoy the views and enjoy some peace and quiet out on the water.


Day six

On day six, why not spend some time in the Keswick area, as there are plenty of family-friendly things to enjoy around this old market town.

To begin with, head into town, where you will find the Puzzling Place, which is filled with optical illusions and puzzles that children and adults alike will love. There is a gallery full of holograms, a room where objects and people appear larger than they really are, and much more. There is also a shop, which sells all sorts of puzzles that you can take home with you.

Next, take a wander down to the lake itself. Derwentwater is a wonderful lake to take a stroll around, and it is also featured in the National Trust’s Miles Without Stiles routes, which means it is accessible for those in wheelchairs or with pushchairs, which makes it super family-friendly. 

The Theatre by the Lake is worth checking out, as they do family-friendly theatre performances and even special storytelling for the kids too. They have a great cafe which makes it a good spot to stop for some lunch.

Once you’re ready to leave Keswick, it’s well worth taking a slight detour out to Castlerigg Stone Circle, which is just a very short drive away. This spot is one of the earliest British stone circles, and it is a very atmospheric place to visit, not least because of the panoramic views of Helvellyn and High Seat.


Day seven

For your final day in the Lakes, why not do something really unique? If you have any animal lovers in the family, a day out at Alpacaly Ever After is a one of a kind experience that adults and kids alike are sure to enjoy.

At Alpacaly Ever After they offer the chance to meet all of the alpacas that they have given a home to in the beautiful Lake District surroundings, hand feed them, and even discover how soft a baby alpaca is.

Why not go on one of the fantastic alpaca walking tours through the grounds of The Lingholm Estate where Beatrix Potter once spent her summers, and take them for a paddle in the lake. Or, if you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous still, you can even go llama trekking through the picturesque Newlands Valley. 

There’s no better way to combine a day on the Lakeland fells with some wonderful animal experiences, so what could be better to round off your trip to the Lake District.


We hope this has given you some inspiration for your next Lake District holiday with your family, whether you feel like tackling the itinerary in its entirety or just using it as inspiration to plan your own trip. If you’ve got a dog, check out our guide to the best dog walks in the Lake District to find some more activities to do.

We’d love for you to stay with us here at Craig Manor if you do decide to visit, so please do get in touch to check our availability.