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The top spring family days out in the Lake District

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:09 05 July 2018

On top of Orrest Head Picture by Tony West, Cumbria Tourism

On top of Orrest Head Picture by Tony West, Cumbria Tourism

Spring has sprung, so it's time to make the most of the beautiful Lakeland scenery. Here's our top ideas for days out this spring, whether you want to pull on your walking boots or take a day out with the children

Ullswater Steamers provide an elegant way to travel Picture by Dave Willis
Cumbria TourismUllswater Steamers provide an elegant way to travel Picture by Dave Willis Cumbria Tourism

Get steamed up

Take to the water and enjoy a day aboard one of the Ullswater ‘Steamers’. This award winning environmentally accredited attraction runs a serpentine course for eight miles through picturesque views of Lakeland’s highest mountains, with journey times varying from 20 to 120 minutes. The cruises also connect to some of the most famous and iconic walking routes in the National Park, meaning you and the family can take in even more fantastic history and scenery. 

Ullswater Steamers, The Pier House, Glenridding, CA11 0US www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

House of art

The former home of John Ruskin, this historic house, right, is now a museum and vibrant centre for the arts. Brantwood has a wealth of things to see and do for the whole family, and offers an interesting insight into the world of the critic, painter and poet and the last 28 years of his life spent here. Filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and Ruskin’s personal treasures, visitors are free to explore the rooms and there are a range of quizzes and activities for children. The Brantwood Trust, Coniston, LA21 8AD 


Home with history

This beautiful house, which was built for beer baron Sir Edward Holt, overlooks Lake Windermere and is a great destination for a day out that’s a bit different. Children can get involved in the history of house with period costumes to dress up, or complete the trail activity sheet as they explore and, for adults, there are rotating exhibitions and displays as well as lectures and events. 

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere, LA23 3JT, www.blackwell.org.uk 

Start the engine 

A treasure trove for both young and old petrol heads, explore this fascinating collection of over 30,000 exhibits that trace the development of road transport throughout the 20th century. You’ll see cycles, motorbikes, motor cars and automobilia within this converted mill, which also has a picturesque riverside café. 

Lakeland Motor Museum, Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, LA12 8TA www.lakelandmotormuseum.co.uk

Take to the lake

There are plenty of different activities on Coniston Water – the third largest body of water in the Lake District. At the boating centre you can experience paddle boarding, hire a rowing boat or jump in a canoe and explore the sights and sounds of the lake. If you fancy something less energetic, motor boats are also available for hire to cruise around at leisure. Back on land there’s the Bluebird Café, named after Donald Campbell’s famous boat, where you can grab a bite to eat. 

Coniston Boating Centre, Lake Road, Coniston, LA21 8EW www.conistonboatingcentre.co.uk

Rattling good fun

Gather the family and enjoy an adventure on this special steam railway. Your journey will take you from Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District National Park, across the estuary through the hills past seven request stops to Dalegarth for Boot Station. There is seven miles of spectacular scenery and you might even see the likes of Greylag geese, red squirrels and buzzards. 

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1SW www.ravenglass-railway.co.uk

Here to infinity

Get your adrenaline pumping and head deep inside the heart of a mountain to climb the Honister mine, the only one of its type in England. There are plenty of other activities to do here, such as the a walk across the Infinity Bridge, which is strung across a gorge 2,000 feet above the valley floor, or take part in a fully guided underground tour – perfect for wet weather days with the children. 

Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick, CA12 5XN www.honister.com

Choc full of ideas

Enjoy a wide range of luxury chocolates and confectionery at this family run chocolate factory, all of which are hand crafted using traditional methods using only the finest Belgian chocolate. Their purpose built site has extensive play areas both inside and outdoors, a large café area and chocolate workshops complete with glass viewing walls.

Cocoa Bean Company, Hawkshead, LA22 0NT www.thecocoabeancompany.com 

A wild day out 

Perfect for families, the Lakeland Wildlife Oasis is an all weather attraction of  lush tropical halls and outdoor animal enclosures with over 100 species of insects, fish, birds, reptiles and mammals.There’s a café, conservatory and a play area.  You can discover free flying birds, butterflies and bats, inspect the furry fossas, meet a meerkat and see breath-taking snow leopards. A new red squirrel exhibit is due to open.

Lakeland Wildlife Oasis, Hale, Milnthorpe LA7 7FE. wildlifeoasis.co.uk

Wood be a great day

At Grizedale Forest you can take a gentle walk, swing through the trees on GoApe or take an exhilarating mountain bike ride. Staff at the Visitor Centre will help plan your visit during which you can try up to eight waymarked walking trails ranging from the easy access to the strenuous while looking out for 40 sculptures across the forest. 

Grizedale Forest Visitor Centre, near Hawkshead, LA22 0QJ www.forestry.gov.uk/grizedale


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