Wray castle is a National Trust property located next to lake Windermere. This is not your typical national trust property though. It is a mock gothic castle, full of fun things for children to do. The castle is a little tired, some areas more than others but it is great for children. There is a small car park but the website advises arriving by boat as the car park soon fills up.
We visited last october whilst we were enjoying a week in the Lake District. We chose to combine it with a cruise on lake Windemere and an afternoon at Brokeholes. In hindsight we could have spent much longer at Wray castle. I felt like we were rushing our preschooler through the rooms when she would have like to have spent more time playing in them. On the day we visited they also had some events for half term running. We arrived an hour after opening and already the events were booked up. We visited on a wet day and were pushed for time so we did not visit the outdoor play area but I have seen it in other reviews and it looks great.
Our favourite area was the Peter rabbit adventure area. This was a whole wing of the castle with a variety of rooms for children to explore. F loved Peter rabbits house and garden the most. The house room had a play kitchen, a toddler size bed and a seating area. Across the hall is another room, set out as Mr McGregor’s garden. It is filled with pretend vegetables and plants, along with child size tools for children to roll play with.
Upstairs there are a couple of rooms themed around Peter rabbit’s tree top den from the current CBeebie’s show. Children can even watch episodes of the show in one room.
Another area of the castle we particularly enjoyed was the castle building room which is full of large soft blocks to build with.
This castle play area and dressing up room was also a big hit.
Our top tips for families visiting Wray castle
- If you are taking a baby, be aware that you will need to leave prams and pushchairs down stairs so a baby carrier is a good idea.
- There are picnic areas both inside and outside where you can enjoy a packed lunch.
- Allow plenty of time to explore the castle and let your children play in each new room.
- Check the website for any events you might like to take part in. Arrive early as they filled up fast on the day we visited.
- Children will love arriving by boat. A baby carrier makes travelling on the boats a lot easier but there is space for a couple of prams folded up on board.
- If you do arrive by boat and you are not National Trust members, show your boat ticket and ask if they still offer a discount. There was a discount when we visited. From memory I think it was 10% but I’m not certain.
We have already booked our family holiday in the Lake District for later this year. I have no doubt we will visit Wray castle again and this time we will plan to spend much longer there and a weather permitting explore the outdoor play area too.
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Disclosure – We visited in October 2016. All details were correct at that time. Please check the National Trust website for current prices, opening times and events.