Here in Cumbria we are fortunate enough to have an abundance of family friendly walks on our doorstep. However, we also have a huge array of fantastic day trips that really should not be missed. As half term approaches I have listed a few of The Hiking Households favourite Cumbrian days out that, we think, are worth an explore!

South Lakeside Railway & Lakes Aquarium:

For any families wondering how to spend a day together this is a really lovely little day trip!! There is a pay & display car park within walking distance, postcode LA12 8AS. You are able to visit the Aquarium and then hop on the steam train to Haverthwaite, the journey is approximately 20 minutes. There is a fantastic cafe and play park at Haverthwaite. For full details click here.

Grizedale Forest:

Grizedale Forest offers a fantastic day out for everyone, there are multiple walking trails to choose from – ranging from easy to hard. There is also a visitors centre, play park, GoApe and cycle centre. Car parking is available, postcode is LA22 0QJ and there is a pay on exit car park. If you have children of all different ages then this is a fantastic day trip as it can cater for all! If you would like to view the walk that we completed on our visit, please click here.

Piel Island:

Piel Island is on the tip of the Furness peninsula and was well worth the drive, postcode LA13 0QN. The island is only very small with a castle to explore and a pub for refreshments. You can also camp on the island which we will certainly be doing when the children are older! The highlight was certainly the boat trip.There are so many other things to see, and do, in South Lakes that you could easily link a trip to Piel Island with many other excursions such as South Lakes Safari Zoo or the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway that we mentioned previously. 

The Launch, Keswick followed by a trip to The Theatre by the Lake:

This is a classic day trip for my family and I, we have been visiting here since I was a little girl. In fact one of Daniel and I’s first dates was a trip on the Launch ? A day trip to Keswick is always a good idea, our children love nothing more than a round trip lake cruise on Derwentwater, followed by a walk to Friars Crag (for full details click here) and a trip to The Theatre by the Lake. They are showing Pinocchio this February half term, we cannot wait.

Askham Hall Gardens followed by Lowther Castle: 

Askham Hall is situated just outside of Penrith in the village of Askham, it is also very close to Lowther which is home to Lowther Castle – another fabulous family day out! Askham Hall Gardens is a stunning place to visit. There is a car park within the courtyard and you are able to stroll all 12 acres of the gardens, please note there is a small garden entry fee. The children particularly loved the map that they received on entry and enjoyed navigating through the different trails. If you wanted to make a full day of your family trip you could link this visit with a walk through Eamont Bridge (link here) or if you had time you could even head up to Lowther Castle – home to one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds! There really is so much to see within this area to keep you busy all day!


Mirehouse & Gardens is situated by Bassenthwaite Lake. The gardens here are wonderful, they provide a natural playground for the children to explore, climb and have fun in. There are multiple trails that you can choose from, we picked the 3 mile lakeside loop that is pram accessible – some sections are rocky so we used the all terrain pram.
There is a pay & display car park within Dodd Wood, across the road from the entrance to Mirehouse. There is also a lovely little cafe here and toilet facilities. If you were feeling particularly energetic there are plenty of walks that begin at this car park, we have even completed the Wainwright here (click here to read more about Dodd Wood).

Overall, a fantastic day out in the great outdoors allowing the children to really explore and play in their natural habitat.


For those with slightly younger children we would highly recommend:

 – Rookery Wood, Keswick: 

Rookery Wood is an adventure play area designed for the younger adventurer and is ideal for anyone aged 8 and under. There are SO many activities for the children to get involved with: climbing, zip wire, archery, orienteering and much more. You can find Rookery Wood at Keswick Climbing Wall, Goosewell Farm, Keswick CA12 4RN. To find out more click here.

Please note Rookery Wood is currently closed due to storm damage, it is to reopen for February half term.

The Lake District Coast Aquarium, Maryport:

This very small aquarium is perfect for those very little legs that can’t manage a long walk, yet no longer go in the pram! We often found ourselves here on rainy days when our children were younger. It is a safe space for them to walk around, and all under 3’s are always fascinated by fish tanks! My older boys still enjoy visiting here, there is an outside play area and a great stingray display! For an added extension to your day you could enjoy a lovely walk around Maryport harbour, or visit the Clip n Climb climbing wall which is just a short distance from the aquarium.  

Tullie House, Carlisle:

A classic! Tullie House never gets old for our family, we have been visiting here since my husband and I were children. There have been some fantastic interactive exhibitions on recently and we are always looking out for the next! At present they have Paddington: The Story of a Bear showing until 20th February 2022. This family friendly touring exhibition features books, film clips and interactive areas. An easy, enjoyable family day out. Why not pair this with a trip to Rickerby Park, the Carlisle Library or a bite to eat in Carlisle City Centre?

So there you have it, our top family days out within Carlisle. There are so many more that we could have mentioned! Keep a look out on our Instagram page, the website or sign up to our newsletter if you’re interested in keeping up to date with our family excursions! 

Please note, due to the nature of the weather here in Cumbria some of the trails can get badly damaged during storm season. Don’t forget to check up to date information before heading out, at the time of writing all of these walks are safe and accessible.

hiking household