Lake District Family Walks for Kids of All Ages!
The Lake District already has a reputation reaching far and wide for providing walkers, ramblers and adventure seekers with some of the World's most breathtaking views along challenging, varied routes. But the prospect of taking a pushchair to the summit of Scafell Pike might only appeal to the most determined of ratching parents! Most of us would probably rather seek out a pram-friendly route, or an interactive adventure to keep the school-age kids amused, maybe even to forget about their tablets for a while!
Luckily, as we live right here in the heart of the Lakes, we've had a good number of years to get to know the place. In doing so, we've tried out some of the more well-known tourism hotspots, scaled a few summits and found some hidden treasures you may not have heard of. Here's our run-down of great Lake District walking options to try with the kids!
The Wild Trail at Sizergh Castle
A great option for those with a National Trust membership, Sizergh Castle is located just a few minutes from Kendal and not too far from the M6. While the Castle grounds themselves present a scenic walk with the option to venture inside the castle for a history lesson, the Muddy Trail, situated behind the overflow car park, is a miniature treck through the woods suitable for all toddlers & primary school aged children.
Fairy Steps at Beetham
A lovely walk from Beetham village near Milnethorpe to Beetham Fell will bring you and the family to the fabled Fairy Steps where your wishes could be granted! The steps, created naturally by the limestone between two rock faces, pass upwards through the narrowest of gaps they say only the fairies themselves can squeeze through. But if you make it to the top without touching the sides, those very same fairies will make your wish come true! This little-known walk is suitable and magical enough for kids as young as three... but you might want to leave the pushchair at home!
Brockhole Visitor's Centre
If you fancy making a day of your trip with picnic in hand, the orienteering and trails for all ages at Brockhole are really just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the fun you can have. Situated on the shores of Lake Windermere along the main road to Ambleside, the visitor centre has just opened a brand new and refurbished adventure playground to add to the popular zipwire, climbing, tree top trecking, boat trips and adventure golf. Depending on the time of year, the centre adds to the fun by creating themed trails to give the kids that extra incentive to explore.
Wordsworth Trail at Rydal Water
From Grasmere to Rydal Mount, along a coffin path through stunning scenery with lake and mountain views, this popular trail begins at William Wordsworth's Grasmere home at Dove Cottage and at Rydal. The Cockermouth-born poet wrote many of his famous pieces while surrounded and inspired by the Lake District scenery and this trail represents a great way to introduce the young ones to one of the region's most famous names.
A true adventure playground for kids and adults alike, Grizedale Forest is a 24km squared area accessible and signposted from Hawkshead village. The walks are plentiful and varied in their degree of difficulty, with pushchair-friendly routes clearly marked out and different paths to try. But the real draw of Grizedale for young and curious kids are the Gruffalo and Stick Man trails, both of which allow you to combine technology and photo opportunities thanks to an interactive accompanying app (note - download it before you go as signal can be sketchy!). Older kids and groups of adults will also love the segway rides and 'Go Ape' treetop thrills, while the cafe, centre and adventure playground can fill up any time you might have left!
Lowther Castle & Gardens
Recently renovated and breathtaking to behold, the once-luxurious Lowther Estate has been making a comeback in recent years. The gardens stretch far and wide with trails and routes to explore as you maze away from the entrance to the castle, located in Lowther near Penrith. The grounds host a number of events throughout the year including bonfire night and Christmas themed festivals. If you're looking to really treat the kids however, surprise them with the Lost Castle located at the furthest reach from the entrance - it truly is an adventure playground like no other and you won't be able to stop yourself from scaling it's towers and tackling its slides!
A Walk in the Fells
For the young adventurers or the more advanced walkers - the pikes, crags, fells and screes of the Lakes allow for a new challenge with every trip out of the lodge door. The lofty heights of Scafell Pike and Helvellyn are as rewarding as they are challenging and really need no introduction but there are plenty of others to choose from. Just head out to your nearest tourist information centre to pick up a route guide or join in with one of the ever-popular guided tours.
Wray Castle trails (pictured)
Another one perfect for the National Trust members, Wray Castle is an ever-evolving visitor centre that's completely child-focused. With a great outdoor play area and the likes of Peter Rabbit activities, castle dress-up and art and craft rooms to visit, Wray Castle even provides a miniature stone wall building experience. Away from the castle though, there are plenty of marked paths to try leading to Lake Windermere, with many of these providing the perfect route to the castle for those not traveling by car.
We may have named some of our favourites above, but to name every beautiful walking route in the region would take us several blogs and several articles! What are your favourite trails to take on with the kids, and will you be trying out any of these when you next visit the Lakes?