‘Clarty’ is Cumbrian for getting a ‘bit mucky’, and that’s what February half-term in the Lake District with kids is all about. There will likely be muddy puddle jumping, lake splashing and stick playing, but there will certainly be beaming smiles and belly-filled laughter.
There are endless things to do to tire out our lovely, energy-filled families… and keep parents sane during the half-term break. Here’s a whistle-stop tour of what’s on in the Lake District for the kids this February half term.
Brockhole house and gardens are the place to head to for activities for all ages and all the family. They do school holidays particularly well, with lots of additional activities and a great social buzz where kids make new friends. Brockhole is easily accessible if you’re staying in and around Windermere, Bowness and Ambleside as you can hop on a lake cruise so no car journeys with whining backseat drivers – not that we ever have any of those! Thursday 13 February is the date that Brockhole opens again following refurbishment over the winter season, and a popular activity to book is TreeTop Trek. Little monkeys of 5 years and older can enjoy the net activity without grown-ups and as young as 3-year-olds can have a go with mum or dad in tow.
The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness
Let imaginations run wild at the enchanting World of Beatrix Potter in Bowness. This attraction is ideal for babies, toddlers and little ones up to preschool age. Get to the World of Beatrix Potter on foot easily as it is located in the heart of Bowness town. The tea-rooms are currently being refurbished, opening for little bunnies to try in the Feb half term (paws crossed, check the website before visiting).
Midweek, on Wednesday 18 February, pre-schoolers will enjoy free crafts, with the help of mums and dads making a paper snake or heart-shaped mobile – lovely momentos to take home as a reminder of their Lake District holiday. Also, little ones can have their faces painted as one of their favourite Peter Rabbit characters for £2. At weekends, a very special guest arrives at this world-famous Peter Rabbit attraction. Yes, Beatrix Potter invites little people to enjoy a special tea party (additional cost and tickets required) where she will read to the enchanted party-goers after they enjoy a scrummy afternoon tea party.
Put the Mountain back into Biking
Are you a biking household? We’d recommend the BMX track at Fitz Park, Keswick. There’s also a great play park here for ages, from toddlers to teens and it’s just a few minutes walk from the town centre. The BMX track has enough berm corners, rollers and step-ups to challenge advancers riders and is designed for both mountain and BMX bikes.
Whinlatter Forest is less than 5 miles from Keswick, so when you’ve finished training on the Pump Track, it is time for the BMX family to test their metal in England’s only true mountain forest. This is where mountain is put back into mountain biking as you ride 1000ft above sea level, with breathtaking views over Bassentwaite, Derwentwater and Keswick.
There’s also great mountain-biking at Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead.
Lakes Aquarium, Lakeside on Lake Windermere
Adventurers ahoy! The Lake District’s premier aquarium has been open since 1997 and undergone several re-designs. Today it gives visitors a journey around ‘lakes of the world’ so your little ones get to see up-close local marine creatures as well as impressive species from around the world.
Who wants to go and see the cheeky otters, piranha, giant ants, cute harvest mice and lots of weird-looking fish? We do! Plus, there’s a cafe and a gift shop. Top off the fun, by arriving by boat with Windermere Lakes Cruises from Bowness to Lakeside. This is a great all-weather family-friendly activity.
Follow in Bear Grylls Footsteps
Calling all dad-venturer’s, this February half term come to the Lakes and bring your cubs to follow in the footsteps of adventure guru, Bear Grylls. One of the most famous caves in the country, Cathedral Cave (as featured in major box office hits including Snow White and the Huntsman) is being opened up for some terrifying abseiling adventures this February half term. Bear Grylls famously guided Warwick Davis down the 150ft drop at the jaw-dropping Cathedral Quarry site in the Langdales, which is just outside Ambleside. For ages 10 upwards, with a choice of abseiling heights, this is the ultimate Lake District adventure. The ever-so friendly adventures at Path to Adventure will guide little climbers making sure they enjoy this truly iconic experience, taking place on Wednesday 19 February 2020.
Kiddiwinks under 3 are free for many attractions too. If you’re planning on returning to the Lake District, for a summer break, for example, consider buying an annual pass to top attractions like Lakes Aquarium.
As we wait with bated breath for Peter Rabbit 2 hitting cinema screens in March, there’s plenty to keep our own mischievous ones occupied on a half-term getaway in the Lakes.
To book your ‘clarty’ February half-term break in the Lakes: