Outdoor Adventures with Children - Lake District

40 family days with under 12s exploring, biking, scrambling, on the water and more

By Rachel Crolla, Carl McKeating

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Guidebook to 40 outdoor adventures in the Lake District with children under 12, including walking, cycling, orienteering, paddling, boating, hostelling and more. Graded activities for varying age ranges or for families with children of different ages.



April to October are best, but many routes can be tackled year round.


Bases in the southern Lakes include Ambleside, Coniston, Grasmere and Windermere; in the north Keswick, Cockermouth or Glenridding.


There are adventures to suit all abilities graded from easy-to-manage green routes, building up through blues to more challenging red and black outings. Most routes have options for families with children of different ages and capabilities.
Must See

Must See

Includes adventures around all of the major lakes: Derwent Water, Coniston, Buttermere, Windermere and Ullswater. Visit Cathedral Cave, Castlerigg Stone Circle, Wray Castle and classic summits such as Catbells, Coniston Old Man and Scafell Pike. Discover hidden gems such as Hodbarrow Point, Hampsfell and Dunnerdale's Fickle Steps.
Not Yet Published
15 Apr 2019
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.3cm
  • Overview

    Guidebook to 40 outdoor adventures in the Lake District with children under 12, including hiking, biking, scrambling, boating, swimming, paddling, camping, bothying and hostelling. The adventures are graded, with alternatives given where they exist so families can embark on the level of adventure that suits them best. Similarly, the guide is designed for long-term use, so as children grow up they can progress to more exciting and challenging adventures.

    All featured routes have been rigorously road-tested and have got the thumbs up from the harshest of critics - the under-12s. In addition to OS mapping and easy-to-follow route description, the guide also includes invaluable practical information on bike/boat hire, bases and transport in the Lake District, plus notes on adventuring safely, getting close to nature and responsibly using national parks. The guide is also visually appealing, showcasing stunning photography guaranteed to inspire.

    With its twinkling tarns for skimming stones and craggy summits for scrambling, the Lake District is a natural adventure playground for children of all ages. It is the perfect place for families to share outdoor adventures, have fun together and inspire youngsters to love and cherish wild and rural landscapes.

  • Contents

    Making this guide
    The Lake District with children
    Bases and transport
    When to go
    Hiking with children
    Biking with children
    Getting wet
    Wild nights: camping, bothying and hostelling
    Adventuring safely
    Responsible use of our national park
    Getting close to nature
    How to use this guide and grading
    The southern lakes
    Adventure 1 Swallows and Amazons Island, Coniston
    Adventure 2 Great Langdale Bike Trail, Elterwater and Skelwith Force
    Adventure 3 Tarn Hows geocaching
    Adventure 4 Cathedral Caves
    Adventure 5 Mosedale Cottage Backpacking
    Adventure 6 The Lion and the Lamb – Helm Crag and Grasmere
    Adventure 7 Rydal Caves and Loughrigg
    Adventure 8 Castle to castle at Windermere
    Adventure. 9 Gummer’s How and Fell Foot Park
    Adventure 10 Grizedale Forest – Mushrooms and Wild Art
    Adventure 11 Hampsfell and its curious Hospice
    Adventure 12 Hodbarrow Lagoon and Haverigg lighthouses
    Adventure 13 Stickle Pike – a big mountain in miniature
    Adventure 14 Kail Pot and Hardknott Roman Fort
    Adventure 15 Ride the Esk Trail to the sea
    Adventure 16 The Fickle Steps of Dunnerdale
    Adventure 17 Meet the Old Man of Coniston
    Adventure 18 Pavey Ark and Stickle Ghyll scramble
    Adventure 19 A wild Ennerdale journey to Black Sail
    Adventure 20 Scafell Pike – An Adventurer’s Way
    The northern lakes
    Adventure 21 Squirrel Nutkin’s Island, Derwent Water
    Adventure 22 Catbells and Derwent Water
    Adventure 23 Taking on Whinlatter’s Quercus Trail
    Adventure 24 Castlerigg Stone Circular
    Adventure 25 Riding on Keswick’s old railway
    Adventure 26 Ullswater’s four island challenge
    Adventure 27 The cascades of Aira Force
    Adventure 28 Galleny Force and Smithymire Island
    Adventure 29 Buttermere bothying – Dubs Hut and Warnscale Head
    Adventure 30 The Bowder Stone and King’s How
    Adventure 31 Jopplety How and Watendlath
    Adventure 32 Castle Crag and the Cave Hotel
    Adventure 33 Buttermere and Scale Force
    Adventure 34 Crummock Water – ‘Goose Poo’ Island and Rannerdale Knotts
    Adventure 35 The C to C (Children-to-Coast) Challenge
    Adventure 36 Getting to know Loweswater
    Adventure 37 Sale Fell and its bouldering wall
    Adventure 38 Maryport coastal journey
    Adventure 39 Bassenthwaite Lake: ospreys, Dodd Wood and Mirehouse
    Adventure 40 Overnight at the loneliest house – Skiddaw

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Where to hire bikes
    Appendix C Where to hire boats
    Appendix D Playgrounds
    Appendix E Indoor and paid attractions
    Appendix F Outdoor activity providers
    Appendix G Useful contacts

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Rachel Crolla

Rachel Crolla

Rachel Crolla is an outdoors all-rounder who loves hiking, biking, scrambling and climbing. Rachel is an outdoors writer and photographer who is also trained as a journalist and teacher. She has hiked and climbed across the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2007 Rachel became the first woman to reach the summit of every country in Europe, and co-wrote the Cicerone guide book Europe's High Points soon afterwards. She is passionate about enthusing the next generation of hikers and cyclists with a love of the outdoors.

View Articles and Books by Rachel Crolla
Carl McKeating

Carl McKeating

Carl McKeating is from Yorkshire. He is the co-author with Rachel Crolla of the books, Europe's High Points and Walking in the Auvergne published by Cicerone. A rock climbing and mountaineering enthusiast, in addition to ascending all of Europe's national high points, in 2010 he completed a long-standing ambition to climb all the routes in Ken Wilson's Classic Rock which he followed with a three-month climbing and mountaineering tour of America. A qualified English teacher, in 2014 Carl started work on a doctorate about Mont Blanc in British Culture.

View Articles and Books by Carl McKeating