The Lake District in North West England is the perfect region for adventure and outdoor enthusiasts, boasting miles of countryside, varied terrain and picturesque towns.
When you're done shopping and dining in nearby cities, break away from the buzz to enjoy a few days in the English countryside.
The Lake District caters to families with its wealth of attractions, historic sites, and beautiful settings ripe for exploring. Here's what you'll find at six family-friendly attractions around the Lake District:
England's largest national park, is home to 3,500 km (2,175 miles) of walking trails and 14 of the largest lakes in England. The largest is Windermere, the country's longest lake at 10.5 miles long. Many of the district's attractions surround it. Some of England's highest peaks are also within the park's borders. Scafell Pike, at 3210 feet, is the highest in the country.
Unlike national parks in the U.S. and Canada, the Lake District is dotted with towns. Many of them are well-preserved historic locales that haven't changed much in the past hundred years or so.
One of the few places in Britain to see sharks and stingrays, otters native to the area and even marmoset monkeys, the Lakes Aquarium offers plenty of fun for animal lovers of all ages. Spend the day exploring the aquarium with a self-guided tour and see hundreds of marine animals and species that live and play in this region.
Beatrix Potter fans will appreciate this indoor attraction that brings all of the author's 23 stories to life. This is the place to meet all of Potter's characters and learn about the legendary woman behind the famous animal tales. Potter was also a driving force behind conserving the natural resources in the Lake District. Plan on spending the entire day visiting the exhibitions and gardens at this family-friendly attraction located in Windermere.
Beatrix Potter wasn't the only writer drawn to the Lake District: It was famous as the home or favorite vacation spot for many famous poets. William Wordsworth's childhood house, in the town of Cockermouth near the edge of the national park, is open to the public as a living museum. It's the perfect place to learn what life was like in the 18th century, and everyone can participate in hands-on activities, watch live demonstrations, and even watch workers in the kitchen.
The Greenlands Farm Village, in Carnforth just south of the national park, is a fun and educational attraction that's perfect for a short detour. Explore the open farm, visit the artisan village, and learn about the life of farmhands and craftspeople from an era gone by. Younger children can pet storybook farm animals, pedal a mini tractor and race around the barn in go-carts. You can also catch some live demonstrations and farmer presentations around the venue on any given day.
Muncaster Castle, in the wonderfully named coastal town of Ravenglass, is said to be haunted and boasts more than 800 years of legends and stories. The site is home to a 70-acre garden, so it's perfect for visiting during the late spring and early summer months, when plants and flowers are in full bloom. Don't miss the World Owl Centre, which houses more than 40 species of owls.
by Sabah Karimi
Top: Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle is one of the creatures kids can visit at the World of Beatrix Potter in the Lake District. (Photo: Rod Edwards/VisitBritain)