Best family-friendly days out in the Lake District

February 21, 2024

With its vast bodies of water, famous fells and rich natural surroundings, it’s no wonder that the Lake District stands the test of time as the top destination for couples, groups and families alike. That said, when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained, a cracking day out full of family-friendly fun in the Lake District could be just what they (and you!) need.

Situated between Penrith and Keswick in the northern Lake District, Hutton John Estate offers cosy cottages and cabins for those seeking equal parts adventure and immersion in nature. Set amongst the Estate’s rewilded woodland and endless green acres, Hutton John Estate is just a stone’s throw from some brilliant historical attractions, wildlife centres and child-friendly hubs, and we’re bringing you some of our top recommendations for family-friendly days out in the Lakes.

For more recommendations on family friendly stays in the Lake District, you may find our blogs on family friendly dining and local family friendly walks helpful, too.

Keep little minds busy at Rheged

Rheged is an amazing amalgamation of fun, educational and creative activities. From a two-screen cinema showing trending, seasonal and classic films, to a dedicated children’s centre for them to play and paint, it’s a great place for parents to simply sit back with a coffee and enjoy the peace!

Rheged’s ‘making space’ hub lets little ones get creative and craft their very own Décopatch model using glue, patterned fabric and a sprinkling of imagination, while those with energy to burn can head over to their brilliant play area that comes complete with tunnels, tents and ball pits. 

Afterwards, enjoy some delicious lunch from their cafe space (kids menu included, of course), before a stroll around their toyshop (and lovely homeware, clothing and confectionary for the grown-ups!).

For more information, head to Rheged’s website.

Rheged Indoor Play | Day Out With The Kids

Indulge in the best ice cream in the Lake District

On a sunny day, there is nothing quite like a refreshing sweet treat – and Abbott Lodge Jersey farm may just be home to the best ice cream in Cumbria. Part of the Lowther Estate, and situated down the road from Lowther Castle on the outskirts of a small village called Clifton, this is a great stop-off for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up.

Choose from a variety of quirky, creamy flavours from their signature ‘Just Jersey’ ice cream to moreish chocolate and tasty fruit options. The farm comes complete with a tearoom offering tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milkshakes, cake and light bites, or take a seat al fresco-style with outdoor picnic tables to enjoy your ice cream in the sunshine.

Best of all, the farm overlooks the charming Jersey cows grazing in the fields beyond, and you can frequently head over to their viewing point to see the adorable infants – the usual highlight for most visitors! If your own little ones are still in need of some extra energy burning, then their indoor and outdoor play areas offer this in buckets.

And, if you feel like taking a little part of Abbott Lodge home with you, the farm now offers takeaway tubs with their bestselling flavours – and they even sell ice cream cakes, yum!

Find out more about Abbott Lodge Jersey Farm on their website.

Abbott Lodge Jersey Ice Cream | Clifton, Penrith, Cumbria

See Beatrix Potter’s stories brought to life

Over the years, Beatrix Potter has often become almost synonymous with the Lake District, serving as the main inspiration for her iconic Peter Rabbit children’s books and illustrations. For those raised – and raising their little ones – with these adorable stories, a trip to Beatrix Potter World in Bowness-on-Windermere is a must.

Witness the magic of Beatrix Potter’s

tales brought to life as your little ones immerse themselves in a sensory experience, making your way through scenes of her much-loved stories, featuring life-size depictions of her loveable characters.

The tour also proudly displays some of the original works of Beatrix Potter, in addition to a number of educational rooms providing historical information on the author herself and the Lake District as a whole. In addition, an award-winning outdoor Peter Rabbit Garden, a family-friendly cafe and a lovely gift shop complete the attraction’s offerings.

What’s more, various even

ts are held throughout the year – most frequently during the school holidays – with everything from special Peter Rabbit afternoon teas to enthralling shows at their dedicated theatre, The Old Laundry Theatre. 

To plan your visit to the World of Beatrix Potter, click here

World of Beatrix Potter | Attractions | Lake District Hotels Association

Witness exotic wildlife up close at the Lake District Wildlife Park

For the animal lovers among us, a trip to the zoo always goes down a treat. Open 7 days a week, the Keswick-based Lake Disitrct Wildlife Park is a brilliant way to wow the little ones. 

Explore their various enclosures, home to impressive birds of prey, or step into Cumbria’s very own safari with zebras, gibbons, meerkats, boars and red pandas residing at the park. Various talks are given throughout the day, focussing on a specific animal or species each time, serving as a fascinating way to witness this breathtaking wildlife in action, and learn a thing or two.

If you’re really looking to maximise on your visit, you can also purchase various experiences from alpaca and hawk walking to the ultimate animal experience: an hour-long session that allows you to get up close with three species for an authentic keeper experience. Age restrictions apply, so be sure to double check when purchasing your tickets.

For more information on the Lake District Wildlife Park, head over to their website.

The Lake District Wildlife Park - Bassenthwaite - Visit Lake District

Walk with Alpacas at Beatrix Potter’s old stomping ground

Combining our two previous recommendations – Beatrix Potter and animals – enjoy the best of both with an unforgettable walking with Alpacas experience at Lingholm Estate. Run by Alpacaly Ever After, a dedicated social enterprise and rehoming centre for Alpacas, you will have the opportunity to walk around the estate of Lingholm, including down to the shores of Derwentwater with your new tall friend in tow, learning all about the species as you go. 

Lingholm Estate is well worth a visit in its own right, renowned for being Beatrix Potter’s temporary holiday home and a core influence in her works. Stroll through the charming walled garden, once an allotment, and you can almost picture Peter Rabbit and his friends running amuck!

Alpacaly Ever After also offer various alpaca walking and llama trekking experiences throughout the North Lakes, so you won’t be short of options for planning your Lake District itinerary.

Find out more about Alpacaly Ever After over on their website

Our Activities - Alpacaly Ever After

Adventure awaits at Go Ape

Unleash your inner adventurer with a trip to Go Ape, at either their Whinlatter or Grizedale centres. Whinlatter Forest, in Braithwaite near Keswick, is home to England’s only true mountain forest, with breathtaking views that can be enjoyed via their forest Segway experience or up above with their Treetop Adventures. 

Grizedale Forest, in Ambleside, offers much the same, plus exhilarating zip trekking experiences for the real thrill seekers.

Unfortunately, due to current refurbishments, both sites will remain closed throughout the wintertime. The good news, though, is that they will reopen in full force from 27th April 2024, ideal for holidaymakers visiting during May half term or the summer holidays!

Go Ape’s treetop experiences are suitable for children of all ages, making it a great adventure-packed day out in the Lake District and a truly unforgettable experience. Find out more about booking your experience, here

GoApe! Whinlatter - Low Briery

Swap a drizzly day out a cosy day in! 

We know firsthand just how unpredictable the typical Cumbrian weather can be. In one breath, it’ll be raining cats and dogs (and cows, and sheep), and the next, glorious sunshine will break through and light up the fells. 

For those days when the drizzle outweighs the dry, a cosy day in might be just what you need. Our three family cottages, Highgate, Home Farm and Lacet, feature everything you might need for a comfortable stay in your home from home, from snug spaces with log burners, comfy sofas and TVs to enjoy the ultimate movie day, to family rooms and board games.

When you feel like braving the weather, you won’t have to venture far, as each property is surrounded by great walking routes, and our rewilded woodland is ready to be explored.


To find out more about our Lakeland Cottages, simply head to our website for all information, availability and prices.

Three beautiful and lovingly restored cottages. Where heritage meets modern-day living. 

Sleeps 4, 6, or 10.

Four contemporary cabins, immersed in nature. Where the outdoors meets luxury. 

Sleeps 2.

Passed down through generations, our family and history are at the heart of the approximately 300 acre Hutton John Estate.

any questions?

If you have any questions or queries about the Estate, or our Accommodation, get in touch.