Outdoor Adventures with Children - Lake District
40 family days with under 12s exploring, biking, scrambling, on the water and more
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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.
SeasonsApril to October are best, but many routes can be tackled year round.
CentresBases in the southern Lakes include Ambleside, Coniston, Grasmere and Windermere; in the north Keswick, Cockermouth or Glenridding.
DifficultyThere 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 SeeIncludes 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.
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.
Making this guide
The Lake District with children
Bases and transport
When to go
Hiking with children
Biking with children
Wild nights: camping, bothying and hostelling
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 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 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
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