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Family Friendly Attractions in the Lake District

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The Lake District is an outdoor playground for families, overflowing with wistful woodlands, meandering mountains, and of course those shimmering lakes, all waiting to be explored. Once you’ve adventured all you like, there’s still plenty to discover in child-friendly indoor attractions, too.


Children’s exhibits


The Lake District has its fair share of art galleries, literary landmarks, and history exhibitions, but if you’re looking for somewhere to entertain little ones you’re best to head to a family-focused museum. You can easily while away some hours in one of the two listed below.


The World of Beatrix Potter


Kids will be smitten by the life-size model of Peter Rabbit munching on a carrot from his garden at the World of Beatrix Potter. If that’s not enough, you can take a stroll through Jemima Puddleduck’s glade or say hello to Mrs Tiggywinkle in her laundry-lined kitchen.


Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria LA23 3BX. Tel:+44 844 504 1233


The World of Beatrix Potter website
Pencil Museum


There are plenty of quirky collections to occupy young minds at this unlikely museum, including a World War 2 Secret Pencil Exhibition, detailing the design of a war-time gadget pencil. And – just when you thought it couldn’t get any odder – you can stand next to the world’s longest colour pencil too. There’s also regular arty workshops for all the family to join in.


Southey Works, Keswick, Cumbria CA12 5NG. Tel:+44 1768 773626


Pencil Museum website


Animal adventures


If little grins widen at the thought of seeing furry or fishy friends, the Lake District’s animal-filled attractions are sure to keep them happy. Get up close to wildlife at an animal park, or head to the Aquarium to learn about the Lake District’s marine life.


Lakes Aquarium


It’s not just local species who fill the watery tanks at the Lakes Aquarium. Red-bellied piranha, colourful angel fish, and funny puffer fish are just some of the tropical residents here. Watch perch and carp bob past your head in an underwater recreation of Lake Windermere, or check out diving ducks from an over-lake tank.


Lakeside, Newby Bridge, Cumbria LA12 8AS. Tel:+44 1539 530153


Lakes Aquarium website


Vintage days out


The Lake District is all about olde-worlde England. From chintzy tea rooms to traditional welcoming pubs there’s vintage charm scattered everywhere. You can also step back in time at one of the area’s retro attractions.


Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway


Nestled among the woodlands and fields of the Leven Valley, the vintage steam trains on this once industrial line now merrily chug along while filled to the brim with holidaying families. You can hop on a train from Haverthwaite to Lakeside throughout the year.


Haverthwaite Station, Nr Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8AL. Tel:+44 1539 531594


Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway website


Family dining


The Lake District is foodie heaven. From Michelin-starred eateries serving up delectable high-end dishes to down-to-earth pubs offering hearty nosh like pies and chips, you’ll be in for tasty treats on your Lake District holiday. Most places cater to children, but the restaurants below are particularly family friendly.


Greens Café & Bistro


The super friendly staff who go out of their way to accommodate little ones put this Grasmere restaurant high up the list of Lake District family dining favourites. The vegan and vegetarian friendly menu’s a real treat too, with warming baked potatoes perfect on rainy lunchtimes, and curry, pie, and sharing platters the top evening choices.


College Street, Grasmere, Cumbria LA22 9SZ. Tel:+44 1539 435790


Greens Café & Bistro website


Swallows and Amazons Tearoom & Restaurant


As well as serving up yummy lunchtime halloumi salads and home-reared beef burgers, the hearty evening menu has tasty dishes too, including lamb hotpot, and steak and ale pie. The kids’ menu is an added bonus. Plus this farm is steeped in Arthur Ransome legend – it’s Holly Howe in his Swallows and Amazons book.


Bank Ground Farm, Coniston, Cumbria LA21 8AA. Tel:+44 1539 441264


Swallows and Amazons Tearoom & Restaurant website