I spend the majority of the year, from September until July, wishing life away for the wonder that is the SUMMER HOLIDAYS. Six whole weeks of being liberated from work. The days and nights are seemingly unlimited; unlimited that is until about August 28th, when you suddenly go into shock that it’s “back to school” in a week!
I love knowing that we can do whatever we want for six weeks as a family. No worrying about school uniform, marking books or anything else educational. Summer holidays rule!
But then, at around week two, we start to go a bit stir crazy. We get sick of living in each other’s pockets (more so my husband and I). Boredom sets in.
This year I have been clever. I have saved money and researched a whole host of local activities that we can all enjoy. Yes, we have a week in the sun to look forward to, but what about the other five weeks? This is where I shall introduce to you my secret weapon. My action-packed, activity filled local area, where no man, woman or child (or Labrador come to think of it ) should ever get bored!
Welcome to The Lake District and my summer holiday Bucket List.
Summer in the Lakes- A Cumbrian Lass' guide!
Firstly, it’s not all lakes! Yes, there are lots of them, and lots of mountains too. But there’s so much more to Cumbria than that. If you’re from Cumbria, you may be tempted to disagree. Yes, we have to travel miles (especially from the Western Lakes) to even get to a motorway, let alone anywhere with something resembling a cosmopolitan culture! So why bother? Why not just “look past your nose end”, as my Dad would say, and find something amazing on our doorsteps?
The Cumbria Guru Summer Holiday Bucket List
1. Muncaster Castle
From the Colour Run in July to hosting the Picnic Cinema in August, there are events on all over summer for young and old. I quite fancy a morning walking the Enchanted Trail and trying the maze. This is something that Noah would love to try too.
Entry into the castle is £14 per adult and £7 per child with under 5s going in for free! Take a picnic, or try the cafes, and enjoy this fascinating castle with stunning grounds and views.
2. Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
This is a firm favourite in our family. Noah’s loved coming on the La’al Ratty (little railway for you non-Cumbrians out there) since he was tiny and he still finds it captivating now. It’s one of the odlest and longest narrow gauge railways in England, and it journeys through seven miles of spectacular Cumbrian scenery. It’s only a mile away from Muncaster Castle too, so it’s the perfect partner for a purely fabulous day out. Some summer events include a Fish and Chip Evening, the Young Engineers Day Out and Adventure Picnics with Ratty and the National Trust. You can ride the full length of the track, or hop on and off and explore the surrounding areas. The possibilities are endless.
Prices for a return are £13.90 per adult and £6.95 for children over 5.
3. Camping trips!
Ok, there are hundreds of camping choices out there for you. The Lake District is amazing for camping actually. We’re really quite new to camping and are very much open to suggestions, but we did have an amazing time last year at Waterside House and cannot wait to return in the summer holidays. On the shores of Ullswater, and walking distance from Pooley Bridge, there’s no shortage of fun to be had. The site has a shop, catering and a play park. There are plenty of camping options too: tents, motorhomes, camping pods and tipis. If glamping is more up your street, give this place a try too!
Prices for camping in high season start at £24 per tent.
4. Lake District Wildlife Park
Animals more your scene? Then be sure to visit the Lake District Wildlife Park at Bassenthwaite, near Keswick. With over 100 species of wildlife, there’s plenty to do and see here. Us Williamsons are fans of the Meerkats- Noah even has one adopted in his name! For £40 you can even be an apprentice keeper for an hour, getting up close and personal with some of the animals. What an experience! There’s also a cafe and a picnic and play area to keep everyone busy.
During summer the park is open from 10am-5pm, and admissions costs are £9.50 per adult and £7.50 pert child. Under 3s are free.
5. Walby Farm Park
Ok, so this isn’t quite in the Lake District, but it’s a highly rated Cumbrian attraction. Walby Farm Park is the perfect place to learn about a huge range of animals. Interaction is encouraged! There’s 30 acres of land for little ones to roam- certainly a must for those families wanting to let off some steam. As well as the farm animals, there’s a superb soft play area. Outside there’s tons to do too- JCB Diggers, Tractor Tower, Swings, Trampolines and Go-Karts.
If you book online adult entry is £8.45 and children over 1 get in for £8.95.
6. Treetop Trek
Something for the over 5s, and something a little bit more adventurous. At Windermere you can experience the Treetop Trek in the grounds of Brockhole (this, in itself, is an amazing day out). I personally can’t wait to try the zip wire when Noah’s 5, after many days sitting underneath it having our picnics!
Prices start from £15 for children.
7. The World of Beatrix Potter… including the “Where is Peter Rabbit?” theatre show
Could we even visit the Lake District without getting some Beatrix appreciation in? There’s so much to see and do here, and over summer the theatre show is set to be a hit. Treat yourself to Afternoon Tea with Peter Rabbit!
Adult tickets are £7.50 and children’s tickets are £3.95.
8. Lowther Castle- The Lost Castle
Lowther Castle is a beautiful piece of history in Cumbria, and the Lost Castle brings so adventure to the visit. It’s a huge adventure playground, modelled on the original castle. With turrets, walkways, zipwires and slides, the whole family are bound to have fun. Take a picnic or eat in the cafe to enjoy a summer trip out.
Entry to the grounds and the Lost Castle is £9 for adults and £7 for children over 3.
9. Grizedale Sculptures
In the heart of the Lake District, Grizedale Forest’s walking and cycling trials are a unique way to explore and discover sculptures. During the summer holidays the Long View Exhibition is on show. A wonderful day out in the forest with a unique twist. Grizedale is also home to Go Ape! if you want to get the adrenaline pumping!
10. Ullswater ‘Steamers’
Explore Cumbria by lake on the Ullswater Steamers this summer. This attraction is 150 years old and doesn’t go out of style. Cruise times vary from 2–120 minutes and you can easily combine this with walking or camping (we’ll camp at Waterside and join the cruise at Pooley Bridge).
Sail all day tickets are £14.20 for adults and £7.10 for children.