We’re just back from spending a lovely October half term in the lake district. Personally, I can’t think of a better place to visit in autumn or even winter. The Lake District is a great place to visit all year round for outdoor loving families but autumn will always be my favourite time to visit. So since we have been visiting the Lake district in autumn for many years, I thought I’d write a post sharing my reasons why we love visiting at this time of year also how to make the most of a family break in the lakes.
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Why we love autumn breaks in the lake district
It’s less busy
I can only imagine how busy the lake district is in summer. It’s busy enough at October half term, although we were fortunate this year due to our half term being later than Lancashire. The roads just aren’t designed for the amount of traffic trying to get in and out of villages like Ambleside. Finding a parking space becomes a problem at busy times too. Two reasons to visit outside the summer holidays right there.
The scenery is stunning in autumn colours
The lake district is stunning all year but the autumn reds and yellows are hard to beat in my opinion. This photo is the stunning Tarn Hows in autumn. Isn’t it a breathtaking view? It’s also one of my favourite family walks in the lakes. Perfect for pushchairs and little legs. In winter the snow on the hills is another beautiful sight to see.
Accommodation is cheaper
Perhaps not as much at half term but if you have younger children and aren’t tied to school holidays then you will be able to find some great deals on accommodation.
Where to visit in autumn in the Lake District
We love the adventure playground at Brockhole, it’s great for kids of all ages. There’s an area for the littlest ones as well as lots for older kids to do too. As well as the free adventure playground (and indoor, small soft play area), there is also a treetop trek and Treetop nets which look like great fun for older kids. There are also many more activities for older kids. If you want to find out more about visiting Brockhole with young children then read my full review here.
Tarn Hows is possibly my favourite buggy friendly walk in the lakes. The views are stunning and the path is really good for buggies even umbrella fold pushchairs. You can generally walk around the lake (at the pace of a 5 year old) in about 1 hour. Parking is free for National Trust members. Find out more in my review post here.
I love visiting the woods in autumn. I love the colours of the falling leaves and my kids love collecting leaves, acorns, conkers etc. Grizedale is a particular favourite forest of mine as I love that they have added sculptures amongst the trees. We love spotting them. We also enjoy the Julia Donaldson trails, this year it was The highway rat (I think last week was the end). Find out a lot more about Grizedale in this post.
We enjoyed a lovely walk from Elterwater to Skelthwith bridge this time, We parked in the National Trust car park in Elterwater and walked along the path to Skelthwith bridge. This is another lovely walk for young families, the path is flat and suitable for pushchairs and about half way along there is a section of the lake where children can paddle. At the end of the path is Chesters by the river, a lovely cafe and shop.
A day trip to Keswick is usually on our list of things to do in the lakes. We usually park at the rugby club (£4 for all day parking) and walk through the shops (stopping for a browse around Friars chocolate shop). We then walk through Hope park and turn left to walk around the lake as far as our kids can manage before turning around and retracing our steps. There are plenty of benches near the start for picnics and also a woodland area with wild play areas.
Where to visit on a rainy day in the lakes
This is a mock castle that the National Trust has turned in to a fantastic attraction for kids. There are rooms for building castles using large soft blocks, playrooms themed on Peter rabbits house and Mr Mcgregor’s garden and much more. I wrote a post all about our visit a couple of years back which you can read here.
Another lovely National Trust property for families. There is so much for kids to do including an art room where children can paint pictures, a playroom with lots of traditional toys and some games and craft rooms. There is also a room for picnics. We visited for the first time last week on a very rainy day and spent a good few hours here escaping the rain. Find out more here.
We visited the lakes Aquarium a few years back. It’s a great indoor activity for kids on rainy days. With displays of creatures from not only around the Lakes but also from around the world, kids will enjoy learning about these animals and fish. Find out more on their website.
What to pack for an autumn break in the Lake District
There are many buggy friendly routes but you may fins a baby/toddler carrier useful if you want to go further or not be restricted to buggy friendly routes. We have the Kiddy Adventure pack although our daughter is getting a little too heavy for us. Find my full review here or buy from Amazon.
All-terrain buggy walks South Lakes
I’ve heard good things about this book which you can pick up on Amazon. We purchased a similar guide from Brockholes visitors centre called Miles without stiles. We did a number of the walks from the book and enjoyed them all.
Good waterproof clothing is essential for autumn breaks in the lakes. My youngest is wearing a Mountain warehouse all in one waterproof suit and my eldest a pair of Frugi Puddle Busters. Both are very practical and I would recommend them both.
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Disclosure – this post contains affiliate links, if you purchase through them I may earn a small commission, this does not affect the price you pay. This is a collaborative post, find out more here. All photos and opinions are my own.