Family walking in the Langdales copyright iStock>

Walking with children

Discover some fresh air fun for free! You can have some awesome adventures as a family in the Lake District, whatever your walking ability.

Top tips

  • Go for an 'adventure', 'expedition' or 'quest' rather than just a walk.
  • Involve them in choosing which route to take. Woods and streams are great for paddling, log balancing and stick collecting.
  • Let them carry their own expedition pack of snacks, drinks and spare clothes such as gloves and hats.
  • Kids get cold faster than adults because they have a smaller mass. Take lots of drinks and snacks.
  • Kids burn in the sun quicker than adults as their skin is more delicate. Slap on the sunscreen and a hat.
  • Dress for mess! Embrace the mud and encourage them to stamp through puddles.
  • Plan in escape routes or good spots to wait while someone walks to get transport. You could even take a bus or boat.
  • Don't expect a steady pace. They will run headlong down a hill then spend forever looking at a gate hinge - go with it.
  • Most children don't appreciate views. But what about asking them to make up stories about the monsters who could live in the mountains and lakes they can see?

Challenges

Here are some ideas:

  • Name three things you can hear right now
  • Find a twig in the shape of a letter - l doesn't count!
  • What do the clouds look like - a dragon, a car, a teapot?
  • Find three differently coloured leaves or stones
  • Race to the next tree, big stone or gate
  • Play hide and seek

Don't forget

  • Water and snacks
  • Map, compass and phone
  • First aid kit (plasters and magic bump cream)
  • Wet wipes and plastic bags for those inevitable 'wild' poos
  • Appropriate clothing and spares

A big thanks to the Rix family for their help with these lists! 

Free family-friendly guided walks

Take it easy and let a knowledgeable local guide lead the way! Here are some brilliant walks perfect for families:

  • Crags, Farms and Woods
  • Discover Keswick
  • Elterwater's Slate Heritage
  • Family Stroll to Orrest Head
  • Family Walk to Cathedral Cave
  • Family Wasdale Wander
  • My First Fell - Brantfell
  • Ullswater's Hunchback and the Swan Story Walk
  • Walk with the Romans

Take a look at our events calendar for the full details.

Their favourite characters

Try some different bedtime reading before your holiday. The Lake District has inspired some great children's books and you can visit many of the locations:

Follow in a film star's footsteps

Know any Thor or Twilight fans? Kirsten Stewart and Chris Hemsworth filmed in Cathedral Cave in the Langdales for 'Snow White And the Huntsman'. Check out the Family Walk to Cathedral Cave.

Child and buggy-friendly walks

We have more than 40 laidback Miles Without Stiles routes. Check out the links for maps and route guides: 

Walking in Brockhole woods with buggies copyright Ben Barden
  • 4. Scout Scar near Kendal - see for miles and miles from the sea to the mountains!
  • 11. Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge in the Langdales - waterfalls, woods and refreshments at either end of the walk.
  • 13. Tarn Hows near Coniston - a circular walk round a beautiful tarn with views of mountains beyond and lots of woods to play in.
  • 36. Friar's Crag, Keswick - a circular route alongside Derwentwater with amazing views of the central mountains, lake shoreline and woods.

More ideas