There is so much to see and do in the Lake District, so whether you are here on a short hotel break in the Lakes or just visiting the area for the day, here are five of our favourite easy walks with children.
These walks have plenty excitement factors for the kids from meadows, woodland and waterfalls to lake cruises, a ‘castle’, sculptures, don’t forget the important toilet stops, ice cream and places to eat and drink too! Before your begin, also check out our top tips for exciting walks with children to make sure the kids are ready a rearing to go.v
1. Elterwater to Skelwith Bridge
A gentle meandering walk with stunning views, lakeside meadow and roaring waterfall
- Distance: 4 km
- Directions: By car, A593 from Ambleside, then take B5343 at Skelwith Bridge; By bus, the Langdale Rambler No. 516 from Ambleside
- Parking: National Trust Car Park, grid ref: NY328048, LA22 9HP (Up to 2 hours £3.20, 4 hours £4.20) and limited roadside parking in Elterwater
- Facilities & Refreshments: Public toilets at Elterwater. Chester’s Cafe, Skelwith Bridge
Entrance to the path is through the gate in car park. Walk alongside Great Langdale Beck for about 1 km before reaching the shores of Elterwater. Beautiful views of the Langdale Pikes from small bays and reeded shoreline before the path leads you through woodland and out into open meadow. Go through the gate at the end of the meadow and walk toward the sound of the dramatic Skelwith Force waterfalls. A final 200 m brings you to the turning point at Chester’s Cafe.
2. Western Shore of Windermere
Short cruise and the delights of exploring a ‘castle’. Followed by a low level walk through woods, fields and lake shore on the quieter side of Windermere.
- Distance: 6.5 km plus boat cruise (A family ‘Walkers Ticket’ costs £28 for 2 adults and up to 3 children and covers the three ferry rides required – residents of English Lakes hotels are eligible for 10% discount)
- Directions: A591 to Waterhead. Bus routes 599 and 505 from Windermere
- Parking: Guests of Waterhead can leave their car in the car park and cross the road to the pier. Alternatively, park in the National Park car park, grid ref NY376032, LA22 0ES
- Facilities & Refreshments: Toilets and babychanging facilities at the car park. The garden terrace at Waterhead offers an all-day menu which can be enjoyed overlooking the lake.
A short Windermere Lake Cruises ferry journey to Wray from the pier at Waterhead. After you’ve explored Wray Castle, take the path from the jetty left to follow the lake shore, past the painted wooden boathouse.
There’s a well defined path which takes you through woodland. Cross the stile and go through the field which takes you to the water’s edge. At the first boathouse around the bay, go through the gate on the right and turn left onto a well defined track which eventually joins a quiet and unsurfaced road. Pass the white house ‘Belle Grange’ and continue along the track by the lake until you reach the ferry terminal. Take the cross lake shuttle to Bowness and then catch another Windermere Lake Cruises launch back to Waterhead.
3. Tarn Hows
Beautiful circular walk around picturesque man-made tarns surrounded by small wooded hills and overlooking the Coniston hills and Langdale Pikes.
- Distance: 3 km
- Directions: By Car, from Ambleside take the B5286, turn right up Hawkshead Hill and follow signs. By bus, 505 from Windermere to Hawkshead, then the X31 Tarn Hows Tourer (Apr-Nov)
- Parking: National Trust car park, grid ref: SD326996 (Up to 2 hours £4.50, 2 to 4 hours £6.00, free to National Trust members)
- Facilities & Refreshments: Toilets at the car park. There’s usually an ice cream van situated at the entrance to the car park, most folks bring a picnic.
From main car park, turn right and take track toward tarn. You can choose whether to do the route clockwise or anti-clockwise. There are plenty of benches/resting places and it’s perfect for pushchairs. There is a much shorter walk for those in wheelchairs. From the disabled car park, follow the excellent track for 400 m to a bench and viewpoint.
4. The Wild Boar Woods
72 acres of ancient woodland demanding to be explored. Packed with many varieties of trees including sweet chestnuts, larches, alders. Listen for woodpeckers and look out for deer, buzzards and falcons. There’s also an outdoor gym for the more energetic.
- Distance: Various routes adapted to the distance you require
- Directions: By Car, B5284 between Kendal and Bowness-on-Windermere
- Parking: Car park at the Inn for patrons
- Facilities & Refreshments: Teas, coffees, drinks, snacks and an all-day menu at The Wild Boar (access to the woodland is restricted to diners and residents)
A useful and informative trail map will be provided at Reception. Choose from an easy going walk to the tarn to a more strenuous climb up to crags. Access is gained from the rear of the Inn, across the car park and through the gate. There are various points of interest along the way, retting ponds, former rifle platforms, charcoal pits as well as Wild Boar and Owl sculptures. Wellington boots are advised.
5. Low Wood Bay to Jenkin Crag
A superb walk and starting with a scenic ride to Waterhead in the Low Wood Bay Waterbus service. Low Wood Bay residents are eligible for a 30% discount on tickets making it £4.25 for a family ticket or £1.50 per adult. Sailings are 10.25 am, 11.05 am and 11.30 am during school holidays.
- Distance: 3 km plus the waterbus ride
- Directions: By Car, A591 grid ref. NY 385020; By Bus, 505, 555 or 599 service from Windermere
- Parking: Car park at Low Wood Bay for patrons
- Facilities & Refreshments: Teas, coffees, drinks, snacks and an all-day menu at both Waterhead and on return to Low Wood Bay Resort.
From Waterhead cross the A591 with care and climb the steps to the footpath signed Jenkin Crag. Head uphill between buildings curving right to cross a gap stile into a field. Cross the field to the ladder stile and climb uphill through the woods. In 10 metres turn right uphill, the path is steep and rocky until you cross the bridge over the stream. Continue uphill – ignore the paths off to the right and left. Look out for the National Trust sign to Jenkin Crag. Go through the gap in the stone wall and up to the viewpoint. (Take care with young children as there is a steep drop at the end of the viewpoint.)
Return to the path and go uphill through the woods until it takes you through a gate, giving beautiful views over Windermere. Continue on the path as it contours the hillside, passing High Skelghyll farmyard, through a gate to join a tarmac lane and continue until you reach a signpost and junction of paths. Turn right here and follow the track for 300 metres to reach a gateway on your right. Go through the gateway and shortly after cross a stile. Bear left until you pass through a gate. Descend towards the next gate and continue to the hotel to complete the walk.
Pizza Treat for Hungry Children
All that walking is sure to have built up a healthy appetite. Why not treat the family to a delicious freshly made pizza from our wood fired oven overlooking the lake.