Go walking and hostelling in the Lake District National Park, and try out a whole range of adventure activities in the region, from mountain-biking, horse-riding, kayaking, scrambling and rock-climbing to sheepdog handling.
Explore Windermere and the South Lakes. Start with a Windermere Lakes Cruise then head to the southern tip of the lake for a ride on the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. On sunny days, the National Trust's Fell Foot is a great place to hire a rowing boat or let kids loose in the adventure playground while you enjoy the views over the lake, while at the Lakes Aquarium you can discover the UK’s largest collection of freshwater fish, including the fierce and scary pike and more than 30 displays featuring the weird and wonderful aquatic life of the Lake District. Little ones love the World of Beatrix Potter, a re-creation of the Lakeland landscape where the world-famous stories of Beatrix Potter are brought to 3D life. To see the farm where Potter wrote many of her most famous kids’ books, head to the National Trust's Hill Top near Sawrey in Ambleside. Or take your little monkeys to Treetopnets Adventure in the High Trees, with a network of giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels, all made from netting, suspended between trees up to 9m off the ground within lovely oak woodland.
Venture west of Windermere, to Coniston Water, where you can ride on the Victorian steam yacht Gondola and take part in adventurous outdoor activities at nearby Grizedale Forest, including a Go Ape treetop adventure course.
Head east to Kendal, where you’ll find more than just the famous mint cake – lose yourself in the Lakeland Maze Farm Park or step back in time to get in touch with Lakeland heritage at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry.
Discover the wider South Lakes region with its animal attractions, which make for great days out. South of Kendal, stroll through the reeds at the RSPB's Leighton Moss Nature Reserve or head south of Windermere for innovative bird-of-prey and reptile encounters at Predator Experience. Further afield, younger kids can get close to the animals at the Flookburgh Indoor and Outdoor Adventure Park. The South Lakes Safari Zoo continues to be dogged by controversy regarding its welfare standards.
Heading north to Keswick and the Northern Lakes, enjoy family-friendly attractions including the famous Keswick Pencil Museum and the Puzzling Place, a small museum full of enough holograms and optical illusions to keep puzzlers of all ages entertained. On the shores of nearby Bassenthwaite, the Lake District Wildlife Park on Armathwaite Hall Estate has more than 100 species including zebra, gibbons and anaconda.
Also close to Keswick, Whinlatter Forest Park is another great place for outdoor activities, with a second Go Ape course (see above). Pony-trekking is a great activity to try out in the North Lakes too: Foot Park Trekking Center by Lake Ullswater offers treks for over-5s.
For lake cruises on the northern lakes, try Ullswater Steamers or the Keswick Launch.
Heading north, attractions close to Penrith include the fantastic Upfront Puppet Theatre.
Out to the west, the beautifully restored Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway winds from the coastal town of Ravenglass through the Western Lakes to the region’s highest mountain. Further north along the coast, the area around the seaside port of Whitehaven also has a number of family-friendly attractions including seafaring tales at The Rum Story, exhibitions at The Beacon Museum and fishy fun at the Lake District Coast Aquarium at Mayport.