I’ve spent many Easters in The Lake District. My parents were keen walkers and by the age of ten I’d been dragged (and bribed) up most of the mountains in Cumbria.
Tradition is a wonderful thing, especially when you have a family of your own. A small shuffle of the cast and you get to reboot some of the best moments of your childhood. This year I decided to share my love of The Lakes with the girls. Emily’s 6. Jess is 4. Short legs but bags of energy. No need for pushchairs or Little Lite backpacks anymore… Plus, we live in the country now so the girls are used to walking everywhere.
In short, we had an amazing week. We rode on boats, trains, had a cuddle with Peter Rabbit and brushed up on our Roman History after discovering an old fort at the top of a high mountain pass.
Here are my Top Three Activities for a family in The Lake District:
1. RAVENGLASS & ESKDALE STEAM RAILWAY:
This 40-minute ride on a miniature steam train is a fun and unusual way to see The Lakes. Departing from Dalegarth and Ravenglass, you can choose to ride in an open-top or a closed carriage. We chose a closed carriage on the outward journey but preferred the open one on the return as the kids could see much more.
Both stations are equipped with fantastic outdoor play areas, which come in handy when waiting for trains with overexcited children in tow. There are also great cafés serving hot and cold snacks where you can stock up on water and carrot cake (like us!)
The trains run on average every hour. Fares for a return journey are as follows;
- Child under 5 – FREE
- Child – £6.95
- Adult – £13.90
- Family of 4 – £38.50
- Prams and pushchairs are allowed.
- Kids Menus are available in both the Turntable Café (Ravenglass) and Fellbites Café (Dalegarth) along with activity sheets.
- Regular events are held throughout the year including Peppa Pig, Young Engineers Day Out and the Santa Express.
Timetables & further information can be found here.
Top Tip: Take paper and pencils for the kids. My two had a great time drawing all the things they could see from our carriage:
2. A CRUISE ACROSS WINDERMERE:
My children love boats so they were thrilled when we suggested a cruise around Windermere, one of the largest lakes in Cumbria. We chose a 45-minute ‘Islands Cruise’, departing from Bowness with Windermere Lake Cruises. It was just long enough to hold the girls’ attention!
The cruise encircles many of Windermere’s Islands including the setting for the book, Swallows & Amazons, which was one of my favourites as a child. The scenery bordering Windermere is lush and varied. We spotted mountains, forests and bays, and even Beatrix Potter’s house high up on one of the hills. No confirmed sightings of Peter Rabbit though…
The ‘Islands Cruise’ departs all year long. Fares are as follows and can be purchased form one of the onsite booking offices:
- Under 5s – FREE
- Child: £4.15
- Adult: £8.25
- Family of 5: £22.00
Top Tip: Don’t forget your woollies as it can get pretty chilly on the top deck! If you find the weather too bracing (it is the North after all) there’s a seated indoor cabin below equipped with a bar selling soft drinks & snacks.
For more information visit Windermere Cruises
3. THE WORLD OF BEATRIX POTTER:
Situated in Bowness-On-Windermere, close to the ancestral home of Beatrix Potter herself, lies The World of Beatrix Potter.
My family and I adore Beatrix Potter’s stories especially the Tales of Peter Rabbit, Benjamin Bunny & Pigling Bland. As a result, this was one place we were all looking forward to visit.
Due to the ease of parking (located directly opposite the attraction) the logistical side was a breeze. Expecting queues, it was the Easter Holidays after all, we were pleasantly surprised to encounter just one. Even then it was a ten-minuter at best, during which a lovely lady came round offering us activity sheets and pencils for the girls to keep them entertained.
The attraction is divided into 8 Areas;
- Area 1: An Introductory Film
- Area 2: Jemima Puddle-duck’s woodland glade and Mr Tod’s underground home
- Area 3: The Peter Rabbit™ Garden
- Area 4: Visit Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s Kitchen
- Area 5: Mr. Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat
- Area 6: The Virtual Walk – A journey through Beatrix Potter’s beloved Lake District. Here there are activities for children including an interactive timeline and short films.
- Area 7: Mr McGregor’s Greenhouse and The Tale of Peter Rabbit
- Area 8: The Beatrix Potter Gift Shop
Each Area has a number of items to be found and ticked off on the activity sheets to keep children entertained. Our favourite area is The Peter Rabbit Garden. Here we had great fun finding all the names engraved on paving slabs dotted about the place:
This is a really lovely attraction, and one that brings the characters of Beatrix Potter to life for all the family. The attention to detail is incredible – we could count every whisker on Mr Tod’s chin! Just don’t forget to call in to the Tea Room on the way out. Their flapjacks are to die for…
A magical experience for all the family.
- Under 2s – FREE
- Child – £3.95
- Adult -£7.50
- Family of 4 – £21.00
Top Tip: Bring your credit card as you’re guaranteed to spend a small fortune in the Gift Shop.
For more information visit The World of Beatrix Potter.