"School’s out for summer!" or at least it will be at the end of this week for children in England and Wales. If you have already booked a trip to the Lake District with your children this summer then we have some great ideas for you to do once you’re here. And, if you haven’t booked a trip, then read on, we might just convince you to make that booking.

1. Dinosaur Encounter! Rheged Centre

  • Date: Wednesday 12th July - Sunday 3rd September, 2017
  • Cost: Exhibition Only: Adults £6.50, Children £5 | Exhibition & Film: Adults £10, Children £7

Have you heard the news? Dinosaurs have escaped from the Natural History Museum in London and have taken over the Rheged Centre in Penrith! Be amazed and afraid as you trek through a prehistoric landscape in this awe-inspiring exhibition that features animatronic dinosaur models up to 4-metres tall! There are also replica fossils and the chance to create fossil rubbings. You can combine your visit to the exhibition with a screening of Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet at the centre’s cinema. Are you brave enough?

Although you can book tickets on the day, entry to the exhibition is given on a timed slot basis, and it’s expected to be very popular. It’s therefore worth booking your slot in advance, especially if you want to combine the exhibition with the film screening. You can book online by clicking here.

2. The Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden

Lingholm on Derwentwater

Lingholm on Derwent Water (Graham Hogg / geograph.org.uk)

It’s one of the Lake District’s best kept secrets, tucked away on the shore of Derwent Water with its own jetty. Beatrix Potter visited the Lingholm estate when she was 19, for a family holiday, and subsequently returned for additional holidays in the years that followed. It’s understood that she based Mr Mcgregor’s garden on the walled garden she found here.

The garden has panels at various points with information about Beatrix Potter and her links to the area. At the Lingholm Kitchen you can enjoy some delicious food before setting off on foot to explore the wider area, with the Cumbria Way passing behind the estate. For a more memorable experience, arrive by boat on the Keswick Launch.

3. Go to a Country Show

Lowther Show 2016

Horse Carriage Driving Competition at the Lowther Show, 2016 (The Carlisle Kid / geograph.org.uk)

Agricultural shows are a popular fixture on the Lake District social calendar, and they are usually a great day out for the entire family. Alongside the traditional livestock judging competitions, you will find a whole host of activities for children to enjoy, whether it be show-jumping, wrestling, fairground rides, tractor displays, or children’s races. There are usually a number of trade stalls with various local goods, and food stands. The Lowther Show is the largest show taking place during the school break, and even features a festival within a festival.

2017 Agricultural Shows in the Lake District

Below you will find a full list of shows that are taking place during the school summer holidays. Prices for entry vary between £5 and £18.

  • Penrith Agricultural Show: Saturday 22nd July, 2017
  • Coniston Country Fair: Sunday 23rd July, 2017
  • Cockermouth Show: Saturday 29th July, 2017
  • Ulverston and North Lonsdale Agricultural Show: Wednesday 26th July, 2017
  • Ambleside Sports: Thursday 27th July, 2017
  • Cartmel Show: Wednesday 2nd August, 2017
  • Lunesdale Show: Tuesday 8th August, 2017
  • Lowther Show: Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th August, 2017
  • Rydal Sheepdog Trials and Hound Show: Thursday 17th August, 2017
  • Gosforth Show: Saturday 19th August, 2017
  • Hawkshead Show: Tuesday 22nd August, 2017
  • Grasmere Sports: Sunday 27th August, 2017
  • Black Combe Country Fair: Monday 28th August, 2017
  • Keswick Show: Monday 28th August, 2017
  • Ennerdale Show: Wednesday 30th August, 2017

4. Reach Beyond Adventure: Ullswater Adventure Day

Kayak on Lake Ullswater
  • Date: Every Wednesday throughout August
  • Cost: £40 per person

Reach Beyond Adventure are an outdoor adventure activity company that offer a number of different adventures with fully qualified professionals, including ghyll scrambling, canoeing and rock climbing. During the school summer holidays the company hold Adventure Days around Ullswater. These include an exploration of the lake by canoe, and an abseil challenge.

Suitable for older children, teenagers and adults, these adventure days are a great way of giving your whole family a taste of the great range of outdoor adventures that can be found in the Lake District. Booking in advance is essential. For more information click here.

5. The Lake District Wildlife Park


Lemurs (Gareth James / geograph.org.uk)

  • Date: Open Daily
  • Cost: £9.50 Adults, £7.50 Children

Not many people realise that just beyond the most northern edge of Bassenthwaite there is a 24-acre wildlife park, complete with zebras. With many of the animals free to roam the parkland, there are plenty of species to see here, including meerkats, lemurs, lynx, tapirs, and over 100 more.

One of the highlights of a trip to the park is the daily display of birds of prey. You can also get up close and personal with reptiles during the daily reptile encounter. There are indoor and outdoor play areas, picnic areas and a cafe.

6. Kids Week at Glenridding Sailing Centre

Glenridding Sailing Centre

Glenridding Sailing Centre (Alexander P Kapp / geograph.org.uk)

  • Date: Every week during the school holidays (except week beginning 7th August)
  • Cost: 1-Day Course: £105 | 2-Day Course: £190 | 3-Day Course: £265 | 4-Day Course: £355 | 5-Day Course: £415

If you are a parent in need of some grown-up time away from the kids, then the Glenridding Sailing Centre can provide you with just that opportunity. Throughout the summer holidays, the centre is holding “Kids Week”, where children can be dropped off and learn how to use various boats, including canoes, kayaks, and dinghies, all whilst being closely supervised by qualified professionals.

Kids Week runs from Monday to Friday, and your child can attend 1, 2, 3, 4, or all 5 days. They will gain confidence on the water and make new friends, all whilst having a complete blast. Advanced booking is required and you can get more information by telephoning the centre on 01768482541.

7. Medieval Muncaster

Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass

Muncaster Castle in Ravenglass

  • Date: Saturday 26th - Monday 28th August, 2017
  • Cost: Adults £14, Children £7 (Includes entry to castle and grounds)

If you are here over the August Bank Holiday weekend and have a keen interest in history then you absolutely need to visit Muncaster Castle. With the Red Wyvern re-enactment society the castle is returning to the 15th century. There will be various scenes from life in medieval times throughout the castle grounds, as well as a chance to attend a school for knights, try some archery, and see a medieval alchemist at work.

8. Explore the Lake District’s Forests - Whinlatter & Grizedale

Evergreen Forest

The Lake District is not just about lakes. We have some pretty spectacular forests, as well, and those at Whinlatter and Grizedale offer a whole host of fun for the entire family. Both of these Forestry Commission owned areas have outdoor play areas, visitor centres, cafes, and walking and cycle trails. Both are home to Go Ape high ropes courses for a dizzying challenge.

They also have orienteering courses designed for children, including those that make use of the Commission’s Gruffalo Spotter app. Furthermore, throughout August, on Tuesdays at Grizedale and Wednesdays at Whinlatter there will be free, guided-activities for children. Entry to both forests is free, but you do need to pay for parking.

9. Visit the Beach

Solway Firth

Looking toward Dumfries & Galloway from Solway Firth

Alright, you might not find the same weather on the Solway Coast as Costa Del Sol, but you will find a wild untamed landscape brimming with dunes and rock pools to explore. Allonby, in West Cumbria, is a local favourite. It’s best visited at low tide (at high tide the beach all but disappears) when the beach stretches as far as the eye can see, revealing a number of rock pools brimming with life.

In the village, you will find Twentyman’s Ice Cream – arguably the best ice cream in Cumbria – and another local favourites. Further south, St Bees Head is brilliant for children, with a huge play area right next to the beach. Just make sure you pack some layers, as the Atlantic wind can be bracing even during the height of summer!

10. Travel by Four Hooves

Horse riding on the beach at Haverigg

Horse riding on the beach at Haverigg

For a different perspective on the Lake District, why not get the whole family on horseback for a different kind of trek. There are various centres across Cumbria that offer a range of packages, including lessons and guided treks. For a full list of providers, check out our informational page on horse riding.