Summer Holidays for Lakes Locals
If you’re lucky enough to live in or near to the Lake District, you’ll already be aware that it’s a real playground for families that love to explore, stay active and experience natural wonder. But just like everyone else, even Lake District locals have six weeks to fill over July and August while the kids are on their annual school summer holidays.
With the area busier than ever during this six-week stretch and the pounds and pennies only able to stretch so far, how can you enjoy what the Lakes has to offer without having to worry about the bank balance or tripping over the tourists? From local discounts and season passes to free hidden treasures, here’s our top tips on how to make the most of a six-week stint in the Lakes with the kids.
1. Set off early
If you’re thinking of hitting those busy tourist hotspots, they always fill up fast. To avoid busy traffic, claim a parking space and have more of the area to enjoy for yourself, the first tip is perhaps an obvious one!
Living close to the amenities means you can get ahead of the game and away early, enjoy your pick of the parking spaces and finally, enjoy a more peaceful outing. There’s nothing quite like Rydal or Tarn Hows when you have it all to yourself, and setting off early also means you can beat the returning traffic once you’re done!
2. Invest in a picnic basket
You’re probably going out and about pretty regularly over these six weeks, so chances are you won’t want to find the funds for a pub lunch and a trio of ice creams every single time. So packing a picnic for your adventure is usually the best and most affordable way of making sure tummies don’t rumble!
We say picnic basket, but a backpack or two is usually more than good enough, especially if you’re planning a long walk. We suggest packing one up the night before your trip so you’re not wasting valuable morning minutes, meaning you can get away at the crack of dawn.
3. Look for Local Discounts
It used to be commonplace to walk into a Lake District pub or attraction and see a sign reading ‘local discounts available here.’ You don’t see it so much nowadays, but plenty of businesses do still incentivise food, drink and entry for those who can prove they have an LA or CA postcode. Wherever you’re planning on visiting, make sure you have your driving license or similar proof of address with you and ask at the point of purchase whether local discounts are available. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what you could save!
4. Look for a Hidden Freebie
A magical day in Cumbria doesn’t have to mean entry fees and parking cost - there are plenty of free things to do that will keep the kids busy and engaged. Tourist information spots in Windermere and Kendal Town Hall are full of ideas of this nature, including a trail around Kendal’s Serpentine Woods or the wonderful Fairy Steps walk at Beetham. Don’t forget to bring your picnic!
5. National Trust - A Gift that Keeps Giving
In an earlier post, we looked into the National Trust car parks and attractions in the area and when you consider how many there are on the doorstep, it’s hard to argue against becoming a member and starting your adventures.
Child-friendly and historic landmarks such as Wray Castle and Sizergh Castle provide so much to do that you could come back again and again and still only scratch the surface. Wray’s adventure playground and walks along Windermere make it a day of endless fun, with Sizergh offering tours of the castle, beautiful gardens and a wild trail perfect for any time of the year.
6. Save with a Season Pass
A number of attractions in the South Lakes and further North into Cumbria can provide a wonderful, but potentially costly day trip for you and the family, making a visit something of a one-off or a treat. With this in mind, it’s worth considering a season pass at one of your favourites.
The Lakeland Maize Maze is a perfect example of an attraction that’s difficult to grow tired of, even without factoring in the giant maze itself. A large kids playground complete with ride-ons, football games, giant checkers and a picnic area will take plenty of your sunny days, while tractor rides, mini-mazes, indoor inflatables and giant lego are just some examples of the fun on offer at this open farm. Their season pass pays for itself after 3 or 4 visits, so if you need a nearby go-to place for blowing off some steam, this is a great option.
If the Maize Maze isn’t for you, it’s worth asking in at your favourite attractions to see if they offer similar deals. There really is nothing quite as convenient as having your favourite place available to you without having to stump up any extra money when visiting!
So that’s our six top tips for surviving the summer break as a Lake District local, whatever the budget. But let’s not forget the most important top of all, don’t forget the sun cream!