Enjoy these amazing Travel Tips for the Lake District
by Flitter-Flutter’s first GUEST BLOGGER
The Lake District is possibly the most beautifully stunning, inspiring, enriching and life affirming place on the planet. I am biased. I live here. Every time I drive through the Lakes or take our usual dog walk I continuously point out how lucky we are to my two boys (age seven and five, iPads welded to their hands … standard). I also have a 1 year old daughter and my maternity leave (now a sweet, distant memory) was largely spent wandering around a Lake with her on my back, stopping off at tea rooms then dashing home to collect the boys from school. That said, the Lake District is not all about walking, breath taking scenery, tea and cakes … but they are my favourite bits.
As a Mum I am acutely aware of entertaining the little ones whilst adding an element of interest for the adults. A trip to the Lakes has something for everyone. The Lake District as a whole area is vast – often larger than anticipated by visitors – and crammed with interesting things to do and places to explore. I was born and bred in the west of the region and consider myself pretty familiar with all the good things to do.
Don’t pass through lovely little Cockermouth without a quick stop for a bite of lunch. Try ‘The New Bookshop’ on Main Street for their child friendly menu (a unique slant of toppings ‘on toast’) in the small but bright and airy upstairs cafe seating area. The range of books is great – not overly stocked and the selection is different enough to be interesting without your little ones finding it hard to see their favourites amongst a mixture of new worlds to explore.
As the birthplace of William Wordsworth, Cockermouth proudly boasts Wordsworth House on the Main Street. This lovely Georgian Townhouse was William’s childhood home and is open to visitors throughout the year. Lots of interesting activities for children, especially during holiday periods.
Keswick is a larger town than Cockermouth and equally pleasant to visit. The kids will love the chocolate and sweetie shop, Ye Olde Friars. If the weather isn’t great (which is a possibility at any time of year!) then Kong Adventure is a good option for soft play and climbing walls
The Neolithic Stone Circle at Castlerigg is an interesting place to consider. It is about 30 mins walk from Keswick town centre and provides an opportunity to discover a unique, mystical and eerie historical feature.
If visiting the area throughout summer the local country shows are an absolute delight. My personal favourite is Loweswater Show. A perfect example of a traditional Lakeland agricultural show complete with Cumberland Wrestling and Sheep Dog Trials.
Watch the 2016 film version of Swallows and Amazons before your visit for a little added excitement around exploring Derwent Water and its islands (the movie was shot here). St Herbert’s Island inspired Owl Island in Beatrix Potters ‘Tale of Squirrel Nutkin’. Nichol End Marine on the edge of Derwent Water provides boat hire complete with life jackets for babies http://www.nicholend.co.uk/.
Alternatively, and potentially a more relaxing option, is to enjoy a Lake Cruise on the Keswick Launch.
- The Lake District National Park is around 1.5hrs drive from Manchester Airport, and 1hr drive from Newcastle Airport.
- Fast trains from London to Oxenholme or Penrith take around 3 hours.
- There are local bus services, but a car really is essential for getting around the Lakes. Roads in the Lake District are excellent but wind around the lakes and mountains so getting from place to place can take a while. It’s a good idea to pick your hotel and base your activities around that area.
Family-friendly hotels (high-end)
The Lake District is full of hotels, guest houses and campsites, most mid priced. These are a few of the high-end places that accommodate families.
There has been a foodie revolution in the Lake District, and everywhere you go you will find high-quality, locally-sourced organic fare. There are wonderful traditional pubs in every village and the towns are filled with nice cafes. But for a special parents-only night out:
Can’t-go-wrong family activities
Lake cruises on Ullswater, Derwent Water or Windermere
Whole-day activities: Whinlatter Forest, Dodd Wood, Lake District Visitor Centre, Lowther Castle
Hiking. Alfred Wainwright is synonymous with the Lake District; his beautiful guide books are still used by all who hit the fells, and also make great gifts. There are plenty of ‘fun-size’ mountains that children can climb- try Catbells, Loughrigg Fell or Helm Crag
Tip: hiking boots or shoes are essential!
Lakeside walks: for those with babies, toddlers or elderly guests in tow, there are some lovely lake walks on the flat- my favourites are Buttermere and Loweswater.
Tip: lots of paths are not suitable for pushchairs!
What if it rains?
- Weather is unpredictable in the Lakes- waterproofs are essential!
- If you’re lucky you will have glorious weather, but it has to be said- it rains a lot in the Lake District, all year round. On a wet day head to the towns for shopping, or try one of these indoor activities: Lake District Visitor Centre, Rheged Centre, the Pencil Museum.