With outdoor activities to suit virtually all ages and abilities, the Lake District is one big outdoor adventure playground. Encompassing England’s five tallest mountains and countless beautiful lakes (most of which are actually called ‘tarns’ and ‘meres’), the region offers a fabulous range of things to do in the water, on the land, and even in the air. Here’s a little bit of inspiration just to whet your appetite…
In the Water
From traditional watersports such as waterskiing, windsurfing, canoeing, sailing and kayaking to more unusual challenges such as gorge walking, ghyll scrambling and zorbing, there’s all sorts to do on and in the water.
Situted between Windermere village and Ambleside, Brockhole – the Lake District Visitor Centre – is a great place to get a taste of some new activities. You could simply hire a rowing boat for a gentle family trip on the lake, or embark on more adventurous activities such as walking on water inside a giant inflatable ball (‘zorbing’). The region is also home to many outdoor pursuits companies whose trained guides will show you the ropes if you fancy trying something new. Ghyll scrambling, for example, is an exciting challenge for groups and families with older children, giving you the chance to climb up waterfalls, traverse rock faces, plunge into deep pools, and slide down natural rock chutes – a fun activity even on rainy days.
Hiking and hill walking are amongst the most popular activities in the Lake District, and it’s not surprising – the surrounding scenery is breathtaking, and there are routes and trails to suit all abilities.
Famous as the birthplace of modern rock climbing, the Lake District also attracts climbers in their droves. The range of climbing activities and abseiling opportunities offers something for every level of experience – from easy-access roadside crags to classic mid-range climbs on Dow Crag, Gimmer and Esk Buttres, and tougher, steeper, climbs at Lakeland rock for those reaching the upper grades. Alternatively, you can explore some rarely-seen parts of the Lake District by joining a caving expedition to some of the underground caves and caverns.
The landscape is also ideal for road cycling on quiet country lanes, and off-road mountain biking in on man-made and forest tracks such as those at Askham Fell, Claife Heights and Ennerdale Water.
And even if you have smaller children, you will find plenty of fun, safe land-based activities to enjoy – such as croquet, mini-golf and the kids’ adventure playground at Brockhole, the Lake District Visitor Centre near Windermere village.
In the Air
If you’re not scared of heights, the Lake District also has plenty of challenges to offer in the air – including tandem gliding, skydiving, micro lighting, paragliding, kite surfing and hot air ballooning.
And if you’d rather stick a bit closer to the ground, you can fly, swing and climb your way through a canopy of ancient oaks at Brockhole’s Treetop Trek Aerial Adventure, via a series of rope bridges, wobbly logs and other aerial obstacles. Following either the hour-long Green Trek for (5 years+) or the two-and-a-half hour-long Blue Trek (7 years +), there’s an exciting 250-metre triple zip at the end, sweeping down from the 14 metre-high Treetop tower to the lakeshore.