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Family holiday in the Lake District

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 TMM 28 Jun 2020

Looking for some advice and ideas.

In August I will be taking the family north from Devon to the Lake District. We are staying for 10 nights at Wray Castle near Ambleside.

We are a fit and active family well used to walking, running, climbing, canoeing and camping in and around Dartmoor.

Our youngest is 6 years old and eldest will be 8.

What are 'must do's' over 10 days of likely variable weather for a family where the kids will not be thrilled with the prospect of 10 days of walking.

Help me make a list of all weather options for things to do, places to go and great dining options.

Obviously all things C19 dependent.

 Mark Eddy 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

As well as all that fun stuff you've already mentioned, there's really good mtb trails around Wray and Grizedale forest is close by too. Can hire bikes from Ghyllside cycles in Ambleside or from Grizedale forest.

Canoeing from the Eastern shores of Coniston

A walk to and explore of Cathedral quarry. Good on a wet day. A few pics here: https://www.mountain-journeys.co.uk/blog/category/cathedral-quarry

Ghyll scrambling in Stickle ghyll, Langdale, or lower section of Church beck, Coniston. Both are great for kids and water level can easily be checked before committing: https://www.mountain-journeys.co.uk/gorge-scrambles-of-the-lake-district.html

From the top of Wrynose pass take a direct line to the summit of Pike O'Blisco. This involves loads of scrambling on small outcrops. If you take some climbing kit there's Long scar and Black crag along the way too, these have plenty good climbing.

Ambleside has loads of great dining options. From Fish & chips to Michelin starred at The Old Stamp House. Ishaas does great curry. Zeffirellis for veggie and pizza/pasta + cinema. Both Thai restaurants in Ambleside are really nice too. The Water Edge Inn at Waterhead is worth it for the lakeside views.

Britannia Pub in Elterwater - good pub food. Could combine with the Cathedral quarry walk / explore.

Hope that's helpful 

 BnB 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

If you don’t mind me saying, “please” and “thank you” would be a good start.

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 TMM 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Mark Eddy:

Thanks Mark, some good ideas in there.

I'd considered Ghyll scrambling but thought it might be a little bit too much for a 6 year old. Do you think there are some good age appropriate options?

 TMM 28 Jun 2020
In reply to BnB:

> If you don’t mind me saying, “please” and “thank you” would be a good start.

'Thank you' for taking the time time to make this valuable contribution.

Please can you let me know when you finish the rest of your courtesy audit of the internet?

10
 Lankyman 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Grizedale Forest has lots of sculptures to look for - kids should enjoy hunting them down. I think there's an online map thingy? Claife Heights and Latterbarrow are good easy walks from Wray with great views. Get the ferry down to Lakeside and walk the quiet west shore back on footpaths and quiet lanes. Down that end is High Dam which is a nice spot but can be busy as can be Tarn Hows (honeypot!). Get a copy of Walks in South Lakeland by Brian and Aileen Evans (Cicerone Press) - full of great ideas and maps. The South East Lakes OS map is a must, and probably the South West one too.

Post edited at 16:16
 TMM 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

Thanks for the ideas. I'm already poring over the 4 1:25k OS maps for the Lakes.

I'd like to have a list of 20 great activities so we can pick and choose depending on the weather and the family morale!

We have three mountains in mind: Scafell Pike so they can tell their mates they've climbed it and can add it to their Snowdon tick as well as Helvellyn and The Old Man of Coniston.

A couple of days of lake exploration via kayak hire.

Wet weather day at Beatrix Potter World.

 Mark Eddy 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Ghyll scrambling in either Stickle ghyll or the lower section of Church beck is appropriate for 6 yr’s.

Or try Tilberthwaite gill first to see if they like it/how they cope. Parking by the start, get in on downstream side of road so can crawl through the little channel. Go upstream as far as the footbridge. Follow path back to cp from there. This one can be ok even after heavy rain, although as with all, check before committing.

 Lankyman 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Just remembered there is Go Ape at Grizedale for the pricey thrill and also the other one whose name I can't recall across the lake at Brockholes. Stock Ghyll Force just above Ambleside is spectacular in wet weather also Colwith and Skelwith Forces near Elterwater. Across the lake is Bowness (very touristy) but there's a great little walk out the back up to Brant Fell which has bouldering and some very easy slabs on the 'back' side. Again, fabulous views of fells and lake.

In reply to TMM:

There is a cracking little steam train at Ravenglass. If its open the south lakes animal park is good too. Seeing a fully grown tiger leap to the top of a 15 foot pole in 2 bounds to get its food is a sight to behold. 

In reply to Dax H:

And Lakes Aquarium at Newby Bridge.

Great walks around Grasmere and Rydal; Loughrigg, Silver Howe, Helm Crag, Easdale Tarn - you can link them.

Walk around Grasmere and Rydal.
A good walk is to Alcock Tarn then up to Fairfield. Great swimming place at Buckstones Jum (the valley coming off Fairfield. Worth thinking about using buses if you want a linear walk - some are open top with great views and can pad the day out.

Pencil museum at Keswick.

Fishing!  Check if Esthwaite fishery open , catch a trout and watch ospreys. 

 Spike 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Wouldn't bother with the beatrix Potter world, not very good from our experience, but that's from a few years ago.

Helvellyn via striding edge and down swirral edge, swim in the tarn on the way down if nice weather, is doable for 6 and 8 yrs old (was for ours anyway). 

Plenty of nice other river and lake swimming (may need to watch for bg algae in lakes of coniston windermere derwentwater)

Grizedale also has good adventure playground and loads other stuff as others mention. Not  sure when playgrounds reopen.

Hope you have a good time.

PS south lakes animal park has had a mixed life over last few years - some not good reviews - check review websites.

In reply to TMM:

You've got to get up to Borrowdale and visit the Bowderstone - if only to wonder at how on earth it hasn't toppled over. 

Rainy day - gear shopping in Keswick and hot choc from Java or tea and cake at Abraham's cafe.

Driving up the struggle up to the Kirkstone pass and walking up Red Screes from the car park opposite the Kirkstone Inn is good in fine weather. 

Oh, and if the weather's really manky go to Hayes garden centre and see who can find the weirdest item.

I hope you have a great hol.

I can't wait to move back up.

Post edited at 19:00
 TMM 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Thanks to all the contributors.

Some great ideas. Fishing is definitely on the list, never tried it myself so great to do something where we will all be novices.

Love the idea of Helvellyn via Striding and Swirral. My 6yr old is very hardy and fearless until she sees doubts and concerns in others. I've never done either route but have done classics like Crib Goch and Aonach Eagach how do they compare? Are the most technical/exposed section easy to manage with a child or are they avoidable?

Please keep the ideas coming, I'm jotting them down and building a research list!

 lukehodson 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Hodge Close Quarry is a flooded slate quarry and an interesting place to explore with kids

 Wainers44 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

We did about 15 summers in Langdale with the kids doing the long journey from Devon. Start early, 0400 early and the journey is always good!

Many really good ideas already, especially all the cheating ones out of Wrynose. Cold Pike is also good from there. Don't forget the other side and the Halifax remains on Great Carrs.

If they don't fancy the Ghyll scramble at Tilberthwaite, the good weather alternative is Steel End off the top of the Ghyll and Weatherlam.Be ready to carry  a little one for a bit though! Lower from the same start is Hole Rake and down to Coniston for icecream and then a run for you back to get the car.

Not sure how it will operate,  but our absolute favourite family day was L'all Ratty in Eskdale,  with walking bits, icecreams pubs and steam trains. Fantastic rain or shine.

For an adventure park at Elterwater at 1900 and walk to the Three Shires Inn through the woods, returning by head torch after dark, and after a shandy.  

Park at Hartsop over the top of The Struggle and walk up to Hayeswater.  You often see the Martindale deer herds up there. Afterwards icecream in Glenridding and buy cake from the best and deliciously grumpy old feller at the mini market. Hes a legend.

Have a great time.

 Lankyman 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

The Helvellyn ridges aren't as full on as CG or AE so if your kids have done those then no worries? Most people with a good head for heights are fine although I've seen folks quaver on the steep chimney down at the far end of Striding and/or the steep climb up to the summit plateau. There are much less exposed routes up from the west, just not as spectacular. You can avoid the very crest of the Striding ridge but this sort of defeats the object of being there. Swirral is shorter and not as exposed so you could ascend that way from Red Tarn if Striding seems too much? You can descend north over to Raise and use the pony track that zig zags down into Keppel Cove. It's a long walk for youngsters though.

The Ullswater steamer gives a good sail to Howtown then a great shore walk 6 or so miles back to the pier at Glenridding. If you want to bag a neat little hill en route then Hallin Fell is for you - from Howtown take paths to the church on Martindale Hause then short easy path to the top. Reverse this but then head towards Sandwick Bay to pick up the shore path. You can get tea and cake at Side Farm before cutting back across to Patterdale village.

Angle Tarn is a nice place to swim when it's warm and the Pikes nearby are a nice little bag. Bit of a stiff pull up from Patterdale though.

Post edited at 19:49
 Si dH 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Dax H:

+1 for the Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. My brother and I loved it as kids 30 years ago and my son loved it when I took him too! 

To the OP, I would definitely try to broaden your options a bit in the hills beyond those three you mentioned. There are so many hills with great views in the lakes that are fun to walk up and will be less busy than those (especially Scafell, which is rammed on a sunny day in the holidays.) You don't need to go above 2500 feet to get a great walk in so there are loads of options that could fill most of a day and probably not beabe tiresome for the kids if they get bored of walking?

Post edited at 19:44
 mountainbagger 28 Jun 2020
In reply to Lankyman:

> The Ullswater steamer gives a good sail to Howtown then a great shore walk 6 or so miles back to the pier at Glenridding. If you want to bag a neat little hill en route then Hallin Fell is for you - from Howtown take paths to the church on Martindale Hause then short easy path to the top. Reverse this but then head towards Sandwick Bay to pick up the shore path. You can get tea and cake at Side Farm before cutting back across to Patterdale village.

This really is a great day out with the kids. Mine were 6 and 7 when we did this last year. Would definitely recommend it. Plenty of places you could stop for a picnic lunch with a nice view of Ullswater.

 plyometrics 28 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Chesters By The River is a must.  
 

 Jenny C 29 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Dur to C19 this may not be an option but Beatrix Potters House is a really worthwhile visit. You can play 'spot the book' as you recognise different furniture or views from the illustrations in her books. 

 Lankyman 29 Jun 2020
In reply to mountainbagger:

> This really is a great day out with the kids. Mine were 6 and 7 when we did this last year. Would definitely recommend it. Plenty of places you could stop for a picnic lunch with a nice view of Ullswater.


Another option using the Ullswater steamer is to sail to the new(ish) pier at Aira Force and walk up to the falls. There's a café by the NT car park too. Make sure you go up the beck beyond the main fall. It's easy to include a climb up to Gowbarrow Fell and make a circular walk coming back along the balcony path overlooking the lake. It's also possible to omit the boat and just drive to Aira Force, of course.

 Baron Weasel 29 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

https://www.runandrockguiding.com/

These guys are offering tailored family packages including camping, scrambling, climbing, bushcraft etc. 

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 mark burley 29 Jun 2020
In reply to TMM:

Hi, I think I sold you a red Hilleberg Akto a while back, or maybe a grey and green Mountain Hardware Trango 2. Either way I miss that Trango and hope whoever has it is having fun with it.
 

About the topic, a nice walk is Loughrigg terrace and the summit including the caves. Some nice views of Grasmere and Rydal water for limited effort. Park in Langdale and avoid the tourist hell of Grasmere village itself. Pick pubs with good beers gardens and low footfall in the circumstances . 3 shires should fit the bill. 
 

Enjoy.


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