The Lake District, undoubtedly, offers some of the UK’s finest scenery and fell-walking. But pleasing the kids can be a hard task, so why leave it to chance?
Writers, poets and artists including Coleridge and William Wordsworth were drawn here, leaving fascinating homes to explore. While wealthy folk built grand houses and gardens to capitalise on the landscapes. Quirky things to do include a exploring the magical world of Beatrix Potter and flying through the tree top canopy – but honestly, nothing beats larking about on Lake Windermere for some well-earned relaxation.
Here, we have put together a list of the 6 of the best things to do with the little one’s when joining us for a stay in The Lake District this February Half Term, to make your decision making that little bit easier.
What better way to delight the whole family than paying a visit to the enchanting World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness-on-Windermere? Such a magical place is not reserved just for the kids, as adults can also enjoy the many attractions and indulge in delicious tea parties. A farmhouse in Near Sawrey is where Beatrix Potter created some of her best-known stories. She bought the house in 1905 (funded largely by royalties from her first book, The Tale of Benjamin Bunny) and bequeathed it to the National Trust following her death in 1943. Potter scholars will spot many features from the author’s illustrations – including Mrs Tiggywinkle’s kitchen and Mr MacGregor’s cottage garden.
The Windermere Treetop Trek will certainly keep the entire family entertained with its jam-packed schedule of adventure-filled activities, suitable for children and adults. There are more than 35 treetop challenges that will have you and the little ones swinging, climbing, balancing and flying through the woodland canopy. You can also race against your own family down three parallel 250-metre zip wires, all while surrounded by beautiful views of the neighbouring fells and Lake Windermere.
Whatever the weather, there will be plenty to keep families busy at Wordsworth House and Garden during the school holidays. Dress up, play with traditional toys and games, write with a quill and ink, follow William and Dorothy’s lost animals trail and get hands-on in the cosy working kitchen. If the sun is out, head into William’s inspiring childhood garden for more clues and games, to meet the friendly mini flock of heritage chickens and let off some steam.
On weekends, think outside the Xbox and try your hand at some pastimes from the past, including indoor and outdoor games William and his sister Dorothy would have enjoyed. On Mondays, fashion and decorate a very fancy paper hat inspired by Dorothy’s baby bonnet, which is on show in the special 2020 exhibition, or craft a cool cap or bespoke bi-corn that says something about you. On Wednesdays, become a natural artist and make a piece of wild art from found objects or compose a poem out of stones. And on Thursdays, get cosy by the kitchen fire as the maids tell some spooky stories.
On 15th February the portcullis will lift again and Wray Castle, on the west shore of Windermere will open for some Half Term fun. Inside, The Great Wray Castle Sketch is taking place. Pick up a pencil and join in; from filling in the missing areas of a picture to drawing with an extended arm, you’ll find the activities in several rooms around the castle for this week only. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an artist, anyone can draw, just have a go and feel the creative juices flow – there are activities to suit all ages.
After you’ve completed the activities, you’ll earn your certificate, just as Beatrix Potter did when she completed her Second Grade Art Student Certificate. You will be able to take your masterpieces home or leave them to be displayed in the Drawing Room gallery. Look out for easels placed around the castle grounds and find inspiration to capture England’s largest lake and if you still have some energy left after all that creativity, a walk down to the shore or exploring the woodland tree trail will stretch the legs and clear the head. The outdoor play trail is perfect for big and little kids looking for an adventure.
Drop in to the art room on 16th February and join artist Karen Lester making prints inspired by natural patterns such as leaves and snowflakes. Find yourself a board game and spread out on the floor for some traditional fun with the whole family or head to the study and pick up a pair of binoculars to see if you can spot a red squirrel playing on the lawn.
Allan Bank is a place where many people have lived, but three of them have changed the way we see the world and our place within it; Wordsworth, Coleridge and Rawnsley and the new installation for 2020 reveals their stories through three giant drawings.
Up the hill and away from the traffic, the woodland grounds are a great place to escape and run free. Follow the Allan Bank garden path and explore historic features and natural play area – perfect for a bit of den building. Allan Bank is very paw friendly and dogs are welcome inside and out.
Stretching for more than 10 miles between Ambleside and Newby Bridge, Windermere is not only the largest lake in the Lake District – it’s the largest lake anywhere in England. The main focus of attention is Bowness-on-Windermere, where you can brave the quayside crowds before catching a scenic boat trip around the lake and its wooded islands and secluded bays.