What’s in the Lake District for Children?

by David Murray on 12 March 2009

in Activities, Events, Indoor activities, Northern England, Photographs, Visitor Attractions

“What is there for an eleven year old in the Lake District?” I heard that question a few days ago, and it set me thinking.

Firstly, I suppose one has to challenge the idea that there is such a thing as a standard model of eleven year old.  Of course not.  There are girls and boys, energetic, sporting, artistic, studious, inquisitive, imaginative, gregarious, solitary, pessimistic, optimistic,  quiet, talkative, … ,  all the variety of characteristics that will carry through into variety of adults.

Some will want to make their own enjoyment in walking, clambering up hillsides, mountain biking, swimming, rowing, and other active pursuits.  There are organised activity centres for the energetic outdoors.

The enthusiastic young photographer or painter will find no shortage of subjects to challenge their artistic abilities. Some may be interested in historical things. How about a visit to “ancient” Rheged near Penrith or the Museum of Lakeland Life in Kendal?  Did you know that pencils came from the Lake District? There’s even a pencil museum in Keswick for both the historically and the artistically inclined.

Old railways?  The Lake District has two.  There’s the “full size” version with steam trains running on the old, and now restored, branch line from Haverthwaite to Lakeside near the foot of Windermere.  Then there’s the “Ravenglass railway” that climbs up into the mountains from Ravenglass on the west coast, a great afternoon out for both children and adults.

Do you want to know how a nuclear power station works?  Just up the road from the Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is Sellafield with its excellent visitor centre (although at the time of writing this it was undergoing maintenance work; check their web site for details).

Interested in wildlife and nature?  How about the osprey viewing point by Bassenthwaite?  Or the freshwater aquarium at Lakeside? And talking of animals, for the imaginative among us, whether children or not, there are three Beatrix Potter attractions in the central lakes area.

Then again, the young poet might be fascinated by a visit to William Wordsworth’s cottage at Grasmere, or the recreation of eighteenth century life at his birthplace in Cockermouth.

This is just a start.  On our Lakes web site we include several lists of things to do and places to go around the main centres.  Check out also the range of National Trust locations in the Lakes. And whatever you do, don’t miss the national park visitor centre at Brockhole.

As for adults, so also for children, in addition to simply appreciating the beauty of the place there is no lack of things to do in the Lake District.

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