Wray Castle

TravelZoo's Top 10 Lake District Attractions

10 October 2017

Author: Travelzoo

The half-term holiday is a great time to get out and about with the kids, and the Lake District is the perfect place to do it. We have put together a few favourite activities and attractions for keeping the little ones (and big ones) entertained. And don’t worry, there are even a few rainy-day rescues included as well!

Go Walking with Wolves

This is your chance to join the pack (temporarily) at Predator Experience in Ayside. You’ll get up close and personal with a wily beast that hasn't roamed these lands for centuries. Joining the wolf pack for a walk through woodlands and forests, you'll learn about canine communication and social ranking, and if you really want, you can even join in the howling.

Run wild at Wray Castle

Wray Castle, a National Trust property on the western shore of Windermere, is full of surprises. For starters, it’s not a real castle, but a mock-Gothic private home dating from 1840. And it’s been designed especially for kids! There are loads of dressing-up and den-building areas, an adventure playground with rope swings, and family-friendly gardens. To really make a day of it, we suggest you combine a visit here with a cycle along the Windermere shore.

Visit Beatrix Potter's Farmhouse

There’s no better way to get inside the mind of children's author Beatrix Potter, than by visiting her former home Hill Top in the village of Near Sawrey. When she died in 1943, Potter left this property to the National Trust, on the strict proviso that everything be left the way it was. They remained faithful to her wish and the result is this frozen-in-time treasure trove of all things Potter.

Head Into the Hills on a Steam Train

Steam Train at Ravenglass

The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway (locally known as La'al Ratty) follows the route of a Victorian iron ore railway, from the Cumbrian coast at Ravenglass, all the way to the foot of Scafell Pike, 200 feet above sea level. You can get off at any of the request stops on the 7-mile course and go for a walk, or stay on board and take in the stunning scenery as you travel towards some of England's highest mountains.

Lakeland Motor Museum, South Lakes

Located on the banks of the River Leven in Backbarrow, at the southern end of Windermere, the Lakeland Motor Museum is a must for petrol-heads both big and small. There are vintage cars, motorcycles and bicycles from every era, alongside rare and unusual memorabilia. The museum runs a handy shuttle bus from the lake for anyone arriving by boat. We recommend you set aside two hours to do it justice.

Explore Woodland & the Bassenthwaite Shore at Mirehouse

Mirehouse was named Visitor Attraction of the Year at the 2017 Cumbria Tourism Awards, and it’s not hard to see why. This family-run manor on Bassenthwaite's eastern shore, packs in woodland adventure playgrounds, a heather maze, a rhododendron tunnel and a tearoom. The house itself contains artistic works by Francis Bacon and manuscripts from literary heroes such as Tennyson and, of course, Wordsworth. The gardens and tearoom are open until 31 October, giving you just enough time to sneak in a half-term visit.  

Try Your Hand at Indoor Climbing

If you're considering learning rock-climbing, the Lakeland Climbing Centre is the only place to start. Ranked number one out of 35 things to do in Kendal by TripAdvisor users, the centre has a range of climbing walls, one of which (the Kendal Wall) is the tallest indoor wall in the UK. They cater for everyone from beginners to experts.

Catch a Film at the Vintage-Style Alhambra Cinema, Keswick

Going to the cinema isn’t the first thing we’d recommend doing in the Lakes, but if the rain intervenes, this is a great option. The traditional Alhambra in Keswick passed its hundredth year a little while back, and has hardly changed in all that time. This welcoming picture house serves up a nice reminder of what life was like before the age of the multiplex - not to mention free tea or coffee on the way in.

Hire a Bike & Explore on 2 Wheels

Cycling in the Lake District

Whether you’re a road cyclist or a mountain-biking enthusiast, you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Lake District. You won’t even need to bring your own gear, as there are plenty of places to rent bikes throughout the area – Coniston Boating Centre and Brockhole on Windermere are just two options.

Explore Honister Slate Mine

Honister is a firm family favourite and there are adventures available both inside and out here. You can descend underground for a guided tour of the still-operational mine or you can take on the Via Ferrata (an exposed adventure climbing course made up of permanently fixed cables, metal ladders, cargo nets and wire bridges strung 1,200 feet above the valley floor). It’s not for the faint-hearted, let’s just put it that way.

For more ideas like this, plus recommendations on eating & drinking, museums & landmarks, and even where to take the best photographs, check out Travelzoo’s guide, 101 Things to do in the Lake District.

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