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Family Friendly Keswick - From Climbing Trees to Exploring Mines

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With outdoors and indoors activities, Keswick keeps children busy and happy whatever the weather might be doing. Surplus energy can be worked off doing water sports, climbing mountains, playing park games, or scaling high-level tree walkways. Indoors, there’s a mine to explore plus interactive museums. There’s even a zoo. JD Wetherspoon, in the town’s former police station and court, is a central, family-friendly pub.

Outdoors activities


Climbing the 451-meter Catbells is a great introduction to fell-walking. The summit rewards with exhilarating views over the lake and hills. To make it more of an expedition, take the Keswick launch to Hawes End Pier where a path starts. Kayaks and canoes can be hired at several places around the lake, if water is more your family’s thing. And if you’ve always wanted to play Tarzan, try the Go Ape treetop adventure course.


Go Ape Whinlatter


Similar to an obstacle course - except with a long drop beneath you - this treetop adventure includes wobbly bridges, moving hoops, Tarzan ropes, and an 89-meter zip line ride to bring you swooshing down to earth.


Whinlatter Forest Park, Whinlatter Pass, Braithwaite, Keswick CA12 5TWTel: +44 333 331 7476


Go Ape Whinlatter website

Explore indoors


Kids are encouraged to get messy at the Cumberland Pencil Museum where there’s a children’s art studio plus arty and crafty workshops. They can have a go on a giant xylophone made of slate stones at Keswick Museum & Art Gallery, dress up in Georgian clothes at Wordsworth House and Garden, or don a hard hat and disappear down a slate mine high up in Borrowdale.


Honister Slate Mine


The green slate of Borrowdale has been prized since the 1700s. Explore deep inside England’s last-remaining working slate mine and experience the dark and difficult conditions in which the miners worked in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick CA12 5XN. Tel: +44 17687 77230


Honister Slate Mine website


Wordsworth House and Garden


One of England’s greatest Romantic poets, William Wordsworth, was born and raised in this Georgian townhouse in the 1770s. Meticulously restored, both house and garden look how they would have done to young William and his sister Dorothy.


Main Street, Cockermouth CA13 9RX. Tel: +44 1900 824805


Wordsworth House and Garden website


Birds and animals


From April to August, you can watch the antics of the wild ospreys which have been returning to Bassenthwaite Lake since 2001. There’s an excellent viewing point, with high-powered telescopes, in Dodd Wood on the lake’s eastern shore. If you prefer, watch them on webcams in Whinlatter Forest where you might also see rare red squirrels. For guaranteed animal-spotting, head to Lake District Wildlife Park, home to more than 100 species from anacondas to zebras.


Lake District Wildlife Park


More a conservation park than a zoo, the birds and animals here have plenty of space to roam. Exotic species include ring-tailed lemurs, gibbons, boa constrictors, tapirs, and meerkats. Don’t miss the bird of prey flying displays.


Bassenthwaite, Keswick CA12 4RD. Tel: +44 17687 76239


Lake District Wildlife Park website