The Lake District: pure adventure

Tanya Oliver's guide to the Lake District's adventurous side

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Jules Pearson

Tanya Oliver
HomeAway travel expert

Walking Boots If you want an active family holiday, then you need look no further than the Lake District. The rugged mountains, clear blue lakes, expansive forests and myriad becks and streams provide a perfect backdrop for those who want a little more adrenalin. You can fill your holiday with anything from cycling in the forests and rowing on the lakes, to rock-climbing, horse-riding, hiking and gorge-scrambling. These adventures can be scaled up or down depending on age and ability (or indeed your level of nerve), and there are lots of options.

You can also unwind in one of the many family-friendly cafés, pubs or restaurants and relive your exhilarating day afterwards; in fact, your only problem may be fitting it all into one holiday. Here are just five of my favourite adventure activities in the Lake District.


Active Lake District adventures


Adventure Day with Lakeland Ascents Adventure Day with Lakeland Ascents

For the very adventurous, you can plan a whole day of mixed activities with your own qualified expert at Lakeland Ascents. There are a range of activities, including gorge-scrambling (where you make you way down a Lakeland mountain stream in the water itself, over cascades, through rock pools and anything else you find on the route), abseiling and rock-climbing. All equipment is provided and activities are tailored to suit each group. It is a tiring but exhilarating day out and if you choose abseiling, you get to explore the magnificent caves and tunnels around Cathedral Quarry in Langdale.

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“Go Ape” at Whinlatter Forest

Tree-top treks are the speciality here. High up in the branches, rope bridges and ladders, pulleys, nets, zip slides and platforms take you through the evergreen trees in Whinlatter Forest. The high level route is so high you can see all the way to Scotland! There are lower options for younger visitors and an adventure playground near the café. At Whinlatter, you can let your adventurous side run wild....

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Hiking over Loughrigg Fell Hiking over Loughrigg Fell

Standing at 335 metres above sea level, Loughrigg Fell is one of the lower Lake District mountains, but don’t underestimate it: a little effort will give you some of the best views around. From the summit on a clear day you can see many of the most popular and distinctive fells including the Langdale Pikes, the Fairfield Horseshoe, Helm Crag and Wetherlam, as well as a stunning vista towards Windermere and Grasmere. Loughrigg is a great family hike that people return to again and again. It is an excellent first mountain climb with nothing tricky in the ascent, but gives a real sense of being up in the fells and amongst the silent tarns and rocky crags. A cracking fell within easy reach of Ambleside and Grasmere, it's also a great spot for a picnic.

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Sailing at Keswick Launch Sailing at Keswick Launch

No visit to the Lake District would be complete without venturing out on one of the lakes in a boat, and you can hire everything from rowers to motorised numbers here. Rowing around the island on Derwent Water from the Keswick Launch jetty provides superb views down the clear blue lake to the jaws of Borrowdale, one of the most famous and beautiful valleys in the Lake District and to Skiddaw, which as the fourth-highest mountain in the Lake District, dominates the skyline. If the previous day’s excursions have left you feeling tired, simply hop on the Keswick Launch and sail around the whole lake: it's within an easy stroll of the pretty market town of Keswick.

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Hiring bikes at Coniston Hiring bikes at Coniston

Cumbria, with its country lanes, quiet back roads and lots of National Cycle Network routes, is perfect for exploring by bike, and hiring your mode of transport is simple. Coniston Boating area near the Bluebird Café is a particularly good choice as there are a range of short, moderate and long routes to choose from, many of which take you right along the lake shore or up to more mountainous areas. You can visit some of the historic parts of the area on your travels including Brantwood, the home of the artist and art critic John Ruskin, or visit the mines in Coppermine Valley. If you don’t fancy the hills, of course, you can always hire an electric bike and zoom up them with ease!

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Lake District Holiday Rentals

Park Lodge Windermere Bowness Lake District National Park UK

Park Lodge Apartment (sleeps up to 8 adults): Entrance hall leading to stairs up to a double bedroom with 5ft. bed with separate adjoining cloakroom. Stairs leading up to: First Floor: Kitchen/breakfast room, reception room and separate dining-r...

DUKESBURY, family friendly in Grange-Over-Sands, Ref 903934

Situated within the wing of a stone built, end terrace Victorian House, Dukesbury is a first floor apartment in Grange-over-Sands which has its own private entrance. A wonderful apartment, Dukesbury has a delightful open plan living room with fabu...

Beachside Cottage Idyllic Situation, Stunning Views Over Morecambe Bay & Lakes

2 double beds (1 with en suite) and 1 single, lounge with TV, DVD and wood burner, fully equipped kitchen, 2nd shower room with shower cubicle, hand basin and WC, large conservatory with amazing views out over Morecambe Bay, lobby with wash machin...

Stunning Contemporary Holiday Home With Close Proximity To The Beach, Village, Pubs, Cafes And Shops

The Coach House at Arnside has been totally refurbished in a contemporary style to create a stunning holiday home for 2013. Our home is perfect for a family holiday or a short break all year round as the beach, lakes and mountains are only a short...

COVE COTTAGE, pet friendly, with a garden in Allonby, Ref 7558

Cove Cottage is a terraced cottage in the coastal village of Allonby, overlooking the Solway Firth. There is a four poster double, a further double and a twin. There is a bathroom with bath, shower over, basin and WC. The living accommodation comp...
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