It was the movie Miss Potter that first peaked my interest in the Lake District. As a child, I loved traveling through the beautiful illustrations and dynamic woodland world of Peter Rabbit, Mrs Tiggy Winkle, and Squirrel Nutkin so visiting the place where Beatrix Potter was inspired to write these wonderful stories was a dream come true. When I discovered the Lake District was also the location of England’s highest peak, I couldn’t believe my luck. I can get my hiking fix and visit Hunka Muka in the same place? Find a campsite, hitch the camper trailer, we’re going!”
When we travel, especially when we camp, I prefer to stay in one place instead of moving around every few days. I am a homebody who loves to travel so finding the right balance is a constant juggle. The campground we chose, just up the hill from Keswick, is called Castlerigg Farm. The campground was central enough to allow easy access to all the spots we wanted to visit but also remote enough to provide some beautiful mountain views.
UK campgrounds are very different than what we are used to in the United States. 90% of the camping we do in the U.S. is in the wilderness but most of the camping we have found here, is on someone’s farm. The pitches can be extremely close together and sometimes you drive in and pick any spot you want on a massive grass field. At first this was difficult for me, but camping neighbors can be fun and people are pretty quiet.
One of my biggest recommendations for choosing a campground in England is to make sure the campground you pick makes the quiet hours clear on their website. If you can, try camping during the week when less people are traveling and off the school holiday schedule. Which is easy for us because we home educate but I understand this isn’t always possible for people traveling with kids.
Keswick is a great town with lots to do. We visited the Derwent Pencil Museum where I loved learning about the history of pencils and how this particular company played an important role in passing secret information during World War Two. It’s also home of the World’s Largest Pencil!
We love to bike as a family and Keswick hits the spot. We biked from our campground, down to the lake and over-ambitiously decided to bike the entire loop around Derwent Water. Most of the loop, especially around the north and west side was great. Beautiful and manageable for kids but the part from the Lodore Falls Hotel and Spa to Calfclose Bay was tricky. There were a few points we had to walk and push our bikes on the beach. I don’t recommend biking the east side of Derwent Water with kids. If I were to do this again, I would leave from Keswick, bike the west side to the Lodore Falls Hotel, where the path meets the B5289 and then back to Keswick. The ride was hilly, our 9 year old did great but our 5 year old needed a little help. We love the Towwhee for this!
We found a beach at the National Trust Kettlewell Car Park that we loved so much we went back three times. The water was warm, the ducks were friendly, and there is a hiking/path just across the street which was nice for a quick evening run. We brought our BBQ and enjoyed eating dinner there.
When we knew it was going to be a rainy day, we visited the Lakes Aquarium. This was a nice indoor activity and the displays had a lot of great information bout the local wildlife and the importance of conservation. This is a good stop if the weather isn’t nice enough for something adventurous outside.
As we drove the stretch from Keswick to Windermere, we found some lovely areas I would definitely recommend visiting.
Fellfoot was a pretty spot for a wander and a picnic. We put our little one in the baby carrier and he slept while we walked. The kids played by the river and enjoyed picking wildflowers in the fields.
This place is awesome. Had we planned ahead we could have taken part in many more activities but we arrived here on a Saturday and everything was booked. We did have fun at the playground and wandering around but this place is worth booking ahead! The Tree Top Nets are incredible! Check out the link. I have some video but because there are so many other children in the shot, I don’t feel comfortable posting it publicly. But the website has some great pictures.
England has the coolest “old stuff” here is a 5,000 year old neolithic stone circle Called Castlerigg Stone Circle that we stumbled upon. Cue the mind blown emoji. I keep wondering if one of these places is going to transport me Outlander style to some exciting moment in centuries past.
Walla Crag Hiking Area This spot was accessible from our campsite and the views are amazing! I highly recommend a visit to this lookout.
The most exciting accomplishment of our trip was summiting Scafell Pike as a family. This hike was an ambitious endeavor with kids. The ascent is 1000 meters (3,300 feet) in 4.5 miles and then, of course, you have to hike back down. Those steep descents really take it out of you! It took us over 12 hours to complete. We chose the Seathwaite Via Corridor Route and let’s just say I am glad we had so much light because we weren’t rushed and the kids stayed mostly happy with a TON of breaks. This hike was very challenging for me. Check out our youtube video where I share a little more about the experience.
Last but not least. Beatrix Potter’s House
We stopped here on a Sunday afternoon on our drive back home. This was wonderful. I loved visiting her home and farm. I was transported back to her life and inspiration. Her home and treasures are beautifully preserved and the garden is full of fruits and vegetables. The guides are knowledgeable and friendly. It’s so good! If you love Beatrix Potter this stop is a must.
I wish we could have stayed longer in the Lake District. There is mountain biking and rock climbing and much more hiking. We barely scratched the surface. At the same time, it is fun to know we enjoyed this beautiful part of the world and would like to come back!
Have you been to the Lake District? Do you want to go? Tell us more in the comments. We would love to hear from you.