Lake District family adventure holidays

The Lake District is the English national park that puts the ‘Great’ in the Great Outdoors, and it’s no surprise that it’s always been a favourite destination for family holidays in England. Here you, and your kids, can splash through ghylls in wetsuits to your hearts’ content, race each other up and down fells, scramble down cliff faces on a thrilling abseiling lesson, canoe on beautiful lakes and, if you’ve got the nerve, tackle a via ferrata (climbing route built into rock) in Honister Slate Mine. And if some of that might sound a little dramatic, remember that the entire time you’ll be under the watchful eyes of professional, highly qualified instructors, drawn from the local area and knowing the region like the backs of their hands. You’ll be as well looked-after as you are entertained. Sandra Hilton took her family to the Lake District and found that “the team was very knowledgeable about the area, so we learned lots about the history of the place and the impact of their work. They were also great at educating us about nature and doing things naturally, which we have carried with us.” Put it this way – you’re going to have a lot to talk about over a hot chocolate every afternoon.

Family activity holidays in the Lake District aren’t quite Swallows & Amazons. Your kids won’t be running wild as they please. Instead your holiday will be packed as tight as an overstuffed suitcase with memorably fun experiences, inside a fully organised framework. You’ll need suitable footwear, plenty of changes of clothing and towels, and snacks for energy. What you definitely won’t need is chargers for tablets.

Our top trip

Lake District family activity holiday

Lake District family activity holiday

Walk, climb, abseil and canoe around the Borrowdale Valley.

From £1175 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2024: 30 Mar, 6 Apr, 13 Apr, 25 May, 29 Jun, 6 Jul, 13 Jul, 20 Jul, 27 Jul, 3 Aug, 10 Aug, 17 Aug, 24 Aug, 19 Oct
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Lake District or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Based on the outskirts of Keswick, you’ve got easy access to walking trails and shops, but more importantly to Borrowdale Valley and Derwentwater where you’ll be spending most of your days. After breakfast, you might be getting kitted out for an introduction to rock climbing (or tackling an indoor wall if it’s raining), or squeezing into wetsuits for a wild morning scrambling through a ravine. Amy Hope, from our specialist operator Activities Abroad, grew up in the Lake District: “Ghyll scrambling normally ranks very highly with families. You make your way down a river with a series of jumps, slides and scrambles; often swimming or wading through the deeper water. Other highlights from parents include watching their children take on a challenge which is completely out of their normal comfort zone and, with the support and supervision of the local guides, totally smashing it!”

More relaxed days will feature archery lessons, raft-building, maybe some orienteering up on the fells. And this being the Lake District you’ll naturally spend some time out on the water, with sailing and canoeing other popular activities. You’ll be stepping out of your comfort zone, but not too far.


Family activity holidays in the Lake District typically run for a week between April and October. You’ll stay at a centre surrounded by attractive gardens close to the head of Borrowdale Valley and just a short walk from central Keswick. All of your activities are included, but you’ll also have an off day which you can spend as you wish. Maybe visit a farmers’ market (the centre uses as much produce as possible from the local area in its own meals), tour the Honister Slate Mine, or just relax around your accommodation. Need a tip on where to go? “It helps massively to talk to the local experts and guides you will meet during your holiday,” says Amy Hope, “they’ll be able to tell you the best times to visit if you want to hit some of the hotspots at quieter times.”
This kind of trip is fantastic for bonding between parents and kids, as you encourage each other on and celebrate your achievements together. At least one parent needs to accompany kids on every activity, and the minimum age is eight for most of them. The fact that you’ll be staying with other families too as part of a small group makes for a very social atmosphere, and you can mix as much or as little as you want. As one previous traveller, Matthew Hawkins, puts it, “Although you were with a group for activities you could still do your own thing in the evening, which meant that it still felt like an independent holiday.”

Your location is ideal, with minimal transport needed to the site of each day’s activities. And if you do pick up any aches and pains over the course of a week, there’s even a spa next door that you can use while the kids are playing cards with their new friends.
Written by Rob Perkins
Photo credits: [Page banner: simonsimages] [Intro: Norman Caesar] [Ghyll scrambling: Brathay Trust] [Practicalities: simonsimages]