Unique family attractions in the Lake District

The adventure capital of the UK, the Lake District is a particularly great place for mums and dads to have fun with the kids. The Lakes, in northern England, is a huge all-weather adventure playground where parents get to be kids and kids can, well, be themselves, in the freedom of 2,362 km² of rugged mountains, glacial lakes and rolling countryside. Let’s look at some of the more unique Lake District activities that cater for both parents and kids.

King of the road

The Lake District has some of the best driving roads in the UK. Narrow, winding country lanes with very little traffic and breathtaking scenery. So why not hire an iconic Morgan and enjoy the best of British classic motoring. Just don’t fight over who get to go in the passenger seat! You’ll be sure to turn heads as you travel the bustling streets of the upmarket resort of Bowness-on-Windermere and pull up at the Belsfield Laura Ashley Hotel ready to meet the rest of the family and enjoy lunch on the garden terrace overlooking Lake Windermere.

Or perhaps a Lotus Elise for those who would like a no frills racing car experience. Hear the roar of the engine bounce off the steep Lake District valley sides as you pass through Great Langdale heading towards the infamous Wrynose Pass route. We warn you, this is not for the feint hearted. Once the grown-ups have had their fun racing on English country backroads, perhaps you’ll head to the Lakeland Motor Museum on the southern tip of Lake Windermere where you can see the world water speed record breaker, ‘The Bluebird’, which looks like something from a sci-fi movie, plus lots more.

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Head in the clouds

Go on your very own ‘Great balloon hullaballoo’ journey in a huge hot air balloon experience, gliding over some of the largest lakes in England. This is an experience that the whole family can enjoy.

Once you’ve soared over the dramatic scenery of the Lake District in an unforgettable hot air balloon ride and helped pilot the balloon back to ground, grown-ups will enjoy the traditional champagne toast. This is not suitable for smaller kids who won’t get anything out of the aerial journey if they can’t see over the basket! Don’t forget to pack your camera too as you’ll get some enviable holiday snaps.

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Flyboarding and more

Charter a boat on lake Coniston to explore your very own Swallows and Amazons ‘Wild Cat Island’. Arthur Ranson penned the famous children’s novel, Swallows and Amazons, whilst living in the Lake District and indeed he learnt to sail on Coniston. So, pack a pirate flag, telescope and picnic and head out across the water on your very own family adventure. Don’t forget to pack some delicious Grasmere Gingerbread or Cartmel Sticky Toffee and perhaps a bottle of sparkles.

There are so many opportunities in the Lake District to take to the water. Perhaps leave your sail boat or yacht moored up, and try flyboarding at Low Wood Bay on Windermere. Jets of water from your flyboarding boots suspend you above the water in a super adrenalin sport. Windermere is England’s longest lake and so there’s lots of space for speed-junkies to enjoy wakeboarding and waterskiing too. Lots of fun on the water to give the family memories they’re sure to treasure.

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Nose whisky, gin and vodka

Something for the grown-ups here. Sample the aroma of world-class spirits at the Lakes Distillery, in the mesmerising countryside surrounding Bassenthwaite Lake. Here you can dine at the superb restaurant, go on a tasting tour, or perhaps drop dad off for the day to enjoy ‘The Stillman Masterclass’. This is the ultimate in English whisky making where you can learn about the world-class techniques and processes used in making the purest spirits. There are lots of other goodies as extras too, including lunch at the award-winning Bistro with the production team and a choice of bottles to take home.

Kids will enjoy meeting the luxuriously coated alpacas that have made their home at the distillery. You can join the kooky creatures on a leisurely stroll around their grounds and then they are kind enough to let you help with their feeding time too. They are very distinguished alpaca’s indeed!

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The art of Eagle flying

Kids will enjoy burning off some energy at the nearby Lake District Wildlife Park also on Bassenthwaite. This is about as sophisticated and natural a wildlife park could get. Set in the quiet north Lake District, the gentle rolling hills and tranquil lake with a breathtaking mountain backdrop makes this a relaxing day out for everyone.

The English field sport of falconry is enjoying a return to popularity, not least with the recent arrival of the latest Bentley SUV, the Bentayaga Falconry by Mulliner, fitted out with a falconry kit. Feel like lord of the manor and take a Hawk for a walk around a local country house estate followed by experiencing for yourself the majestic sport of eagle flying. Now that is something to tell your friends about. Don’t forget to bring your camera and get your shutter speed and aperture perfect, ready to capture that canvas-worthy shot.

There’s hundreds of exotic species to see here, roaming the 24 acres of unspoilt English parkland. And the superb cafe and outdoor play area mean you can really make a day of it.

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King of the jungle

Head to Kong Adventure, in Keswick, and see who is king of the jungle at this indoor and outdoor climbing adventure attraction. For an experience you won’t forget, try the indoor ice wall. Or, if you think parents are up to the challenge, take them on your very own Everest expedition, taking on the Lake District’s famous via ferrata ropes and ladder system, as used on Mount Everest. The heart will certainly be beating as kids and adults make their way across Europe’s longest Burma ladder.

For younger families, indoor there’s an adventure focused kids play area offering lots of explore, including climbing, caves, rope bridge and smoke-breathing dragon!

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Paul Liddell is the Managing Director at Lakelovers.

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