Ten things to do with kids on a rainy day in the Lake District

The Lake District is home to some of the largest lakes in England and with its incredible scenery and a wealth of fantastic family days out, it’s become one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations. As weather in this National Park can often be temperamental even in the height of summer, we have compiled a selection of rainy day attractions, with something to suit all ages. If the skies are grey and the rain is pouring there are still lots of fun things to do to keep the kids entertained, so it needn’t put a dampener on your holiday to the Lake District.

Here are our top ten suggestions for things to do with kids in the Lake District when the sun won’t some out to play:

1. The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction

Where is it? Bowness-on-Windermere

What’s it all about? Hop, skip and jump into the magical world of Beatrix Potter at this fantastic attraction for kids. Inspired by the abundant wildlife and natural beauty of the Lake District, Beatrix Potter wrote her much-loved stories, which have been brought to life here; children will love meeting Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck and all their friends from the enchanting tales. An indoor woodland walk has been created with 3D scenes from Potter’s books, perfect if the weather isn’t on your side, and kids can enjoy a free activity sheet to learn even more about their favourite characters. After all the excitement of exploring the interactive displays and exhibitions you can relax with a nice cup of tea in The Tailor of Gloucester Tearoom and treat the kids to a memento from the gift shop.

How much is it? Prices start from £3.95 per child.

When is it open? Open daily from 10am, last entry 17.30 (Christmas opening times vary).

2. Lakes Aquarium

Where is it? Lakeside

What’s it all about? Shelter from the rain at the Lakes Aquarium, home to more than 30 naturally themed habitats showcasing the diverse marine life living in the Lake District. With hundreds of different fascinating species to marvel, an incredible underwater tunnel where you can get a fish-eye view of the lake bed, interactive rockpools and a fun children’s quiz trail, kids will be in underwater heaven. Be sure to visit the playful otters who are featured in daily talks and feeding sessions, and come face to face with sharks and inquisitive rays in the open top Morecombe Bay tank.

How much is it? Prices start from £4.95 per child.

When is it open? Open daily from 10am, last entry 16.30

3. Honister Slate Mine

Where is it? Keswick

What’s it all about? Delve underground and escape the showers at Honister Slate Mine, located at the head of Honister Pass, which has been mined for slate since the early 1700s. Take an informative guided tour into the spectacular working mine, learn about its rich history, and see how the slate is extracted and used to create a whole host of beautiful and functional products.

If older children crave a challenge the mine also offers an adrenaline filled experience, ‘Climb the Mine’. Following the route of the original mine workings, participants are led deep underground into hidden passages and magnificent caverns complete with vertical climbs, rope-bridge crossings and steel ladder ascents. If that’s not enough, those who are extremely brave and have a head for heights can get out onto the fellside if the rain clears and experience Via Ferrata. Both of these breath-taking ascents offer incredible views and are suitable for thrill seekers aged 10 years and above, restrictions do apply.

How much is it? Tours start from £8.50 and experiences start from £35.

When is it open? Open daily 09:00 – 17:00

4. The Rheged Centre

Where is it? Penrith

What’s it all about? The Rheged Centre is an award winning indoor attraction in the Lake District with entertainment for all ages. The Imax cinema screens 3D films and children’s blockbusters, there’s a soft play and Lego play area, and a pottery painting shop which is popular with both children and adults. With a plethora of shops, delicious cafes serving fresh Cumbrian food and drinks, and an enormous programme of exhibitions and activities throughout the year, families are guaranteed a great time whatever the weather.

How much is it? Entrance is free, but charges apply for the indoor attractions so please check the website.

When is it open? Main centre 10:00-17:30, Café 08:30-17:00

5. Aira Force

Where is it? Ullswater

What’s it all about? No visit to the Lake District is complete without visiting the beautiful and powerful Aira Force. This impressive waterfall thunders over a drop of 65 feet, loudly crashing into a pool below. As we know, all waterfalls need rainfall so if the heavens open, grab your waterproofs and embrace the downpour, the epic scenery is well worth it, and kids will never forget the breath-taking sight before them. Stroll under the shelter of the ancient leaf canopy to the falls and when you need to warm up, there is a National Trust coffee shop located in the car park with hot drinks and snacks.

How much is it? Free admission, although there is a small charge for the car park.

When is it open? Daylight access

6. KONG Adventure

Where is it? Keswick

What’s it all about? On rainy days seek shelter from the elements and monkey around at Kong Adventure where the outdoors is brought indoors. There are endless opportunities for kids to have active fun whether they fancy an exciting climb on one of the whacky climbing and bouldering walls, or exploring an indoor cave system full of thrilling twists and turns. For younger children, there is a hard play area with slides, tunnels, a castle and ball pool, a soft play area for little tots to burn off some energy, and for the grown-ups there’s a lovely café to enjoy a cuppa and a piece of cake.

How much is it? Prices start from £6.50 per child.

When is it open? Open daily 10:00-18:00

7. Wray Castle

Where is it? Ambleside

What’s it all about? Little ones can be king of the castle here with turrets and towers to discover, a fun dressing up room full of period costumes, and plenty of hidden treasure to find. This mock-gothic castle, which resembles something out of a fairy tale has been stripped of any original contents and instead has been filled with exciting activities for children to delight in. The Peter Rabbit Adventure is the perfect spot for creative play, featuring Peter’s Burrow and Mr McGregor’s Garden, and for little ones there’s soft play. Should the weather brighten up there are picturesque lakeside walks, an adventure play area with a rope swing and den building area, and heaps of space to run around and explore.

How much is it? Prices start from £4.50 per child.

When is it open? Varies throughout the year so please check the website

8. The Lakeland Motor Museum

Where is it? Backbarrow

What’s it all about? Young car enthusiasts are sure to love the nostalgia and variety of exhibitions showcasing transport of the past at the Lakeland Motor Museum. This family friendly day out in the Lake District features over 30,000 exhibits, along with special collections including the Campbell Bluebird and the Isle of Man TT. The museum also offers a fun children’s quiz with 23 clues to find and solve to win a souvenir medallion, they’ll be absorbed for hours.

How much is it? Prices start from £5 per child.

When is it open? Open daily 09:30-17:30

9. The Rum Story

Where is it? Whitehaven

What’s it all about? This all-weather family attraction in the Lake District brings to life the dark history of Whitehaven with interactive and educational displays about smugglers, pirates and the slave trade. Travel through a tropical rainforest, an African village, and a realistic slave ship as you discover the story of rum, all whilst following a map and playing pirate games along the way. There’s a café when little ones are feeling peckish, and it’s also worth checking out the nearby Harbour with its new and improved Crow’s Nest for more piratey goodness.

How much is it? Prices start from £3.95 per child.

When is it open? Monday to Saturday 10:00-16:30

10. Ullswater ‘Steamers’

Where is it? Glenridding

What’s it all about? Whatever the weather the award winning Ullswater ‘Steamers’ cruise England’s most beautiful lake, and have been doing so for more than 150 years. Aboard one of the large heritage vessels families can experience a journey along Ullswater that they will never forget, all within the comfort of covered seating areas. Boasting views of ancient woodlands and fells, England’s third highest mountain, Helvellyn, and a wealth of rare species of wildlife including red deer, red squirrels and goo sanders, children will be mesmerised. With free activities to download to keep kids amused and regular events and competitions throughout the year, it’s well worth checking the website before your expedition. Cruise times vary from 20-120 minutes, depending where you choose to set sail from; if you choose the Round the Lake Pass you are free to spend the day getting on and off as you like, taking in magnificent sights and family-friendly attractions along the way.

How much is it? Fares vary so please check the website

When is it open? Opening hours are subject to change so please contact the attraction directly

Map of Attractions:

Plan your family holiday in the Lake District by finding your favourite indoor family attractions from the list on the map below.

If you’re looking to stay close by and explore these indoor attractions in the Lake District, take a look at our full collection of cottages in the Lake District for some inspiration on where to base your next family holiday.

*Prices and opening times are correct at the time of publishing; however, they are subject to change.

Posted by Kate Atkin on 30th October 2017