4 photos of lakes, playgrounds and an art room. Text reads Things to do in the lake district with toddlers

21 Things to do in Lake District with toddlers

We love visiting the Lake District but it might not be the obvious first choice for a holiday with a toddler. Or perhaps you live locally and are wondering how to keep your toddler entertained on a daily basis. I’ve rounded up the best things to do in Lake District with toddlers so you’ll have loads of choices when planning your holiday or next trip with a toddler in Cumbria. This post below is going to focus on our littlest explores! They can sometimes be the hardest to please! Find more Toddler days out North West here.

I’d always recommend checking the official website for each attraction you visit. Some attractions close completely at certain times or even just close particular parts. It’s best to check what is open before you visit to avoid disappointment. More and more attractions seem to require advance booking so please do check.

Walby Farm Park

Children’s farms are fantastic places to take toddlers. Walby farm park has lots of animals to enjoy and Cumbria’s biggest indoor play area. You might even meet the farm mascot, Custard the Cow.

Animals include alpacas, cows, chickens, goats, guinea pigs and rabbits, horses, reindeer and sheep. There are tractor and trailer rides to get up close to the animals as well as a chance to cuddle the rabbits, watch ferret racing and more. Please note some activities are seasonal.

When the weather permits, there are fantastic outdoor play areas including a JCB-themed digging play area. Indoors there is the play barn with everything you’d expect like a ball pool and slides.

Their newest attraction is an indoor play castle over 3 levels, Milecastle 62. There is a designated area for under 3.

Find out more and book here – Walby Farm Park

South Lakes Safari Zoo Cumbria

The South Lakes Safari Zoo is the perfect place to take little ones, especially if they love animals and let’s face it, they all do. The great thing about this attraction is that many of your older children will love it just as much. In fact, I enjoyed our trip here as much as my daughters.

There are so many different animals including Rhinos and Giraffes, and they roam in huge enclosures so it is a great opportunity to get closer to some of the incredible animals they have on site. You will also find a fantastic adventure playground which does have an area specifically for toddlers.

Monkeys swinging from ropes against a blue sky

There is also the opportunity to buy extra experiences at low costs like hand-feeding giraffes. The zoo is a lovely size for toddlers. We visited last autumn and had a great time and managed to explore the zoo easily in only a few hours.

I love the sound of their toddler Tuesdays where you can take children aged 3 and under. With trails, counts, drawing and many more collect your activity pack at entry then spend the rest of your day at your leisure exploring the Zoo. Take part in the £1 animal feed at 11:30 and join our self-led craft session at Tibors Restaurant from 11 am.

Each ticket gives free entry to 1 adult and 3 under 3’s any extra adults will get discounted entry to the zoo. 

Find out more and book here – Safari Zoo Cumbria

Muncaster Castle

Muncaster Castle is a wonderful location to visit with your little ones. Not only do you have the castle grounds and gardens to explore but there is also a Hawk and Owl centre where your little ones can experience these wonderful birds of prey. While you are there, you can enjoy the maze and the adventure playground. A great day out that the whole family will enjoy. 

Find out more here – Muncaster Castle & Gardens

Fell Foot Park

This is a lovely place to take your little ones on the shores of Windermere near Newby Bridge, at the foot of Windermere lake. Fell Foot Park is another National Trust location with lots on offer. You can bring your own picnics, some games to play such as a ball or a frisbee, and set up camp for a few hours and enjoy being outside.

On a warm day, you could also paddle in the lake. There are even boats to hire if you wanted to get out on the water. The views of the mountains and Lake Windemere are well worth seeing. The walks are short enough for toddlers but probably only really suitable for an off-road pushchair. There is a small play area that your toddler will enjoy too.

A great location for toddlers to enjoy some fresh air and time in nature. 

Check out the website for more information. 

Slide in wet woodlands

The Lakes Aquarium 

If you are interested in understanding what is happening in the lakes and the wildlife that lives underwater then this is the place to go. It is over two floors and you can even walk through as if you are walking under the lake. Toddlers love the underwater tunnel.

On the second floor, you will walk over the lake and also experience different water animals from all over the world. Otters, frogs and geckos to name a few.

This location really is a great place for toddlers and they will enjoy seeing all of the animals. As this is an indoor attraction it is also a great place to visit if the weather isn’t so great. 

Find out more here – Lakes Aquarium

The World of Beatrix Potter

If you have any Peter Rabbit fans or have shared stories of Peter Rabbit with your little ones, then this is a great attraction to visit. One of the more popular attractions in the Lakes, you can enjoy seeing the stories brought to life.

There is a lot to experience as well as shops and a cafe to enjoy a little refresher. The whole attraction is like stepping into the pages of one of the books. There are plenty of immersive experiences that your toddler will enjoy as much as you.

This is a lovely place to visit with your toddlers and one to add to the list for a rainy day. Find more ideas for rainy days in the lakes here – things to do in the Lake District when it rains.

Check out the website for more information – The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

Whinlatter Forest

You can’t beat a trip to the forest and Whinlatter Forest is one of the biggest in the area. You can enjoy different walks, and explore the forest and all of the surroundings. Be warned it is a mountain forest so don’t expect flat walks!

You can also embrace a Gruffalo trail which your toddlers will really enjoy. Finding the different characters and enjoying a stroll while you are there. Pack a picnic and some drinks and make a whole day of it. A lovely place to visit on a dry day with your toddler in the Lake District. 

The paths are hilly though so I wouldn’t plan a long walk and I’d definitely leave the buggy at home!

There is an adventure play area to enjoy too. Perfect for enjoying outdoor adventures. In fact, it is an almost 1 mile long play trail. Much of the areas have play equipment suitable for toddlers but there are also some bits for bigger kids. It makes a great day out for families with different aged children.

New for 2023 is the Zog trail. This includes a free augmented reality app and a fun Zog trail. You can also purchase a £4 trail activity pack. Find out more here – Forestry England Zog trails

Play frame with lots of buckets and pulleys for the pebbles on the floor

Grizedale forest

This is the other large forest in Cumbria that is well worth a visit with a toddler. There are pram-friendly walking routes through the forest which usually include a Julia Donaldson trail. In 2023 this is Zog. These trails are always fantastic fun for toddlers.

You’ll be pleased to hear this is a forest with much more flat, pram-friendly walks than Whinlatter.

As well as these trails that change frequently, there are plenty of sculptures throughout Grizedale forest to explore. There are even a few interactive ones like trees that you wind up so that magical music plays.

There is also go ape for older kids and a large outdoor adventure playground with plenty for younger children to enjoy. There is even a small covered picnic area as well as a cafe.

Find out more here – Grizedale

Mobile phone in the woods with photo of a digital dragon

Brockhole on Windermere

There are loads of activities for kids. It’s a great day out for families with different aged children. The activities that are particularly good for toddlers are:

  • Mini ride on tractors
  • Some areas of the large adventure playground
  • lovely flat walks
  • Can arrive by boat as part of a Windermere Lakes Cruise

They usually have lots on in the school holidays for older kids so I imagine it is a lot quieter in term time. The large adventure play area has probably the biggest selection of equipment for toddlers in the area.

There is a treetop trek for older children and also treetop nets which is suitable from aged 3 years old. Read my review here – Treetop Nets Windermere review. Our youngest was around 3 at the time of review.

You can travel to Brockhole as part of a boat cruise (see Windermere lake cruises below) which is a great way to arrive. There is a larger pay on exit car park too.

Find out more here – Brockhole on Windermere

Colourful play area

Take a boat trip

Toddlers love these boat trips around various lakes around Cumbria. Taking a toddler on a boat trip is a great way to see some of the Lake District from a perspective you might not otherwise see.

They’re also a great way of getting around the Lakes such as enjoying different walks or visiting places like Brockhole.

We particularly enjoy Windermere lake cruises.  

Other lake cruises include:

Enjoy a steam train ride

If your toddler loves steam trains then you have a couple of great options in the Lake District.

There is the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway which runs steam trains near Windermere. You can even combine a train ticket with an aquarium visit or a boat trip too. Tickets are only available to purchase at the ticket office, on the day. Find out more here – The Lakeside & Haverthwaite Railway

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a 7 mile narrow gauge railway line. Tickets must be pre-booked online. Find out more and book here – Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway.

Lake District Wildlife park

The Lake District wildlife park is located near to Keswick. They have a variety of animals, birds and reptiles here that toddlers will enjoy exploring. There’s even an indoor soft play area and we all know how popular those are with toddlers!

Find out more here – Lake District Wildlife Park

Visit Allan Bank

Allan Bank is another National Trust property that is good for toddlers. Again it looks from the website as if it isn’t open as fully as it used to be. There was a fantastic art room and also playroom. I believe only the art room is open now.

There is also plenty of space for exploring the gardens and woodlands that surround the house. Lat time we visited there was a lovely mud kitchen play area in the gardens.

There are plenty of places for toddler-friendly walks too around Grasmere village. You need to try Grasmere Gingerbread while you are here.

Find out more here – Allan Bank and Grasmere

Children's art room with large window, with stunning view over a lake

The Rheged Centre

This is a great place to visit with your toddler. Named after the Ancient Kingdom of the Dark Ages, Rheged is an all-weather activity centre. You will find that the centre has a cinema and offers activities like pottery painting. Lastly, there is an indoor soft play area with a dedicated under 5s area, there are shops (including a lovely children’s clothes and toy shop) and cafes too.

It is also worth checking out the website as they have a range of creative activities that take place throughout the year including clay modelling and bushcraft skills. A perfect place for toddlers and older children too. 

Check out their website here – Rheged

Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Another farm park worth a visit is Lakeland Maze farm park. This allows your toddlers to see and experience some of the most loved farm animals. Throughout the year there are fresh arrivals and a chance for children to feed and pet some of the animals. You can enjoy the park, experience the outdoor play area, and relax in the cafe. There is a lot to experience here and is the perfect place for toddlers on a nice day. It is always worth looking online to see if there are any events taking place during the year. 

Find out more here – Lakeland Maze Farm Park

Mirehouse Keswick

Mirehouse is a lovely place to walk and much of it is pushchair-friendly too. There is also a play fort and a small play area suitable for toddlers too.

Find full details here – Mirehouse Keswick

The Lakeland wildlife oasis

Here you’ll find over 100 species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates. It’s the most southerly of these attractions and not that far above Lancashire. It’s just a short drive from the M6.

Find out more and book here – The Lakeland Wildlife Oasis

Wray Castle

You can’t resist a castle with little ones, and Wray Castle is another fabulous location, perfect when you’re looking for things to do with a toddler in Cumbria. This is a National Trust location so you can experience the castle grounds, and also enjoy a nice drink and a piece of cake. You can use it as a stop on the Windermere Lakes Cruise. 

Wray castle used to have some amazing indoor play areas like Mr Mcrgreor’s garden and Peter rabbit’s house that young children could play in. It was an amazing day out with toddlers, especially on a wet day. However, the website says these rooms are permanently closed.

The outdoor play area is currently closed due to storm damage but keep an eye on their website to see when it reopens.

It’s an impressive castle so I had to include it here but it’s such a shame that the playrooms are permanently shut. Don’t expect to visit for more than an hour or so now.

Keep an eye on their website for updates on the play area – Wray Castle

Fitz Park, Keswick

Fitz park is a lovely place for a walk with a toddler in Keswick. There is also a lovely play area with plenty for little ones. You can also pick up a free children’s trail sheet from the Keswick museum.

Small white board in the ground near a tree trunk. It has a number 5 and illustration of a fox and badger

Ambleside playground

There is a small play area for toddlers right in the centre of Ambleside, as well as a larger playground tucked away in Rothay park. The toddler area is part of White Platts where there is also a small crazy golf course.

Find more Things to do with kids in Ambleside here.

Small toddler play area, grass with picnic benches and in the distance, traditional slate Lake District houses

Outside in, Kendal

There aren’t many play centres in the Lake District but this one in Kendal has a castle soft play area, a dedicated toddler soft play area and a role play high street based on Kendal.

Find out more here – Outside In

Go for a walk

The Lake District is a walker’s paradise but perhaps you think it is not somewhere suitable for walking with a toddler? Think again, there are lots of places where you can easily walk with a toddler either in a pushchair or a short walk that they can enjoy toddling along on.

I have two posts that might interest you. The first one is all about the walks that are suitable for prams. They’re flat and perfectly accessible. Read my guide here – Pram-friendly walks lake district.

If you want a walk that is less flat, either because your toddler loves a challenge or because you want to put them in a back carrier and walk onto the higher ground to admire the views, then you need this post on Child-friendly walks in the lake district.

One walk that is great for this age is Low Sizergh Barn farm trail in the south of the Lake District.

Either way, I know that you’ll find a fantastic family walk in the Lakes.

If you’re looking for more walking ideas and inspiration in the Lake District then please join my Facebook group which has over 1000 friendly members sharing walk ideas and asking for ideas too.

Let’s hope these suggestions have provided you with inspiration for some of the things to do with a toddler in the Lake District.

pink/purple background with photos of family attractions and text says North West for kids

Always looking for inspiration for family days out across the North West? Join the Family Days Out North West Facebook group to be part of a community sharing the best family days out across the region. Join here.

Where to next?

Find loads of ideas for Things to do in Windermere with kids here.

Find loads of Things to do in Lancashire with toddlers here.

Find more child-friendly attractions in the Lake District here.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook where I’m always sharing ideas for things to do in the North West with kids – North West family days out | Facebook.

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