It’s hardly surprising the Lakes is a popular family holiday destination. The promise of a magical landscape as captured by the stories of Beatrix Potter and Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons.
Being a family who does plenty of walking, tackling the fells was something we were keen to do. Our seven year old, Emilia, who I was concerned would struggle, seemed to leap like a mountain goat up the ascent. However, carrying our 16 month old in a back carrier was at times rather precarious and more than once we found that we couldn’t reach the summit safely, making the decision instead to turn back. That didn’t mean we weren’t able to enjoy incredible views and have a real sense that we were on a grand adventure.
We found that after a day of hard walking, the following day needed to be something more child focused. As much as our children enjoy a walk, asking them to hike up mountains every day would be a step too far.
Hilltop, home of Beautrix Potter was of course a must see. Knowing it would be busy, we arrived 30 minutes before opening and already a crowd was gathering. However, as a family who know the books inside out, seeing the house, garden and views that inspired so many of the illustrations we know and love, was magical.
You can’t come to the Lakes and not spend some time messing about in or on the water. Rather stupidly, I had always thought of the Lake District as being all about the fells and rather neglected to think about how popular water activities would be.
Rowing, sailing, wild swimming, canoeing, paddle boards and ferries. There were plenty of ways to enjoy the water. We hired a rowing boat for an hour and had a wonderful time exploring with the tranquility that you can only get under oar. We also went out on the Steam Goldola, a beautiful boat that sails around Coniston Water, owned by the National Trust.
We spent a week in total in the Lakes, staying in a lovely Airbnb cottage at the foothills of Coniston Old Man and overlooking Coniston Water. Sheep grazed right outside the kitchen window which of course the children absolutely loved.
We’ve definitely got a few Top Tips if visiting the Lake District with younger children.
- Look into taking out National Trust membership as many of the car parks and attractions are National Trust owned.
- Invest in walking poles and good quality walking boots for grown ups and kids if planning on hill walking
- Distances between towns are further than you think and there are plenty of winding roads. Children that don’t travel well may get travel sick
- Invest in OS maps of areas you intend to visit as relying on Sat Nav or large scale maps may land you in difficulty
- Pack a goody bag if hill walking to keep small ones motivated. Sweets are often great for a lift in energy. Don’t forget plenty of water.