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Family Activities

There’s so much to do on the estates: hiking, exploring, playing in the streams, going for a picnic or just running around in the gardens. But if the weather turns, take a look at this list…

Penrith Leisure Centre & Eden Climbing Wall

Southend Road, Penrith CA11 8JH

Eden Climbing wall, gym, 25 meter indoor pool, 13 meter indoor learner pool, indoor bowls. Pay by activity available (no fixed membership necessary & very reasonable prices for activities). Please call to check times and activities.

01768 863 45

Penrith Alhambra Cinema

Middlegate CA11 7PT

This small local cinema has Dolby Digital projection and digital sound. In addition to offering a range of mainstream film options, the cinema also does live satellite screenings from the New York Met Opera and the London National Theatre.

01768 862 400

Hadrians Wall, Roman Vindolanda & The Roman Army Museum

Between the A69 & the B6318 near Haltwhistle
(NE47 7JN for the Vindolanda excavations & CA8 7JB for the Roman Army Museum)

These two historic sites are located along Hadrian’s Wall. We spent a great day doing a guided tour of the ongoing excavations at Roman Vindolanda and seeing the small museum there, as well as visiting the larger Roman Army Museum which has a great 3D movie called Edge of Empire about Roman history & Emperor Hadrian. All this as well as walking along a section of the wall. This is a car journey from the Rowley Estates properties but well worth the trip for the history and amazing archaeology. There is also a lot of room for young ones to run around and enact life as a roman soldier etc.

01434 344 277

Aira Force National Trust Waterfall walks and Tea Room

Watermillock, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0JS

The National Trust Aira Force Waterfall is delightful rain or shine and all times of the year. If the sun catches the mist coming off of the 65 foot falls, the priasmatic effect causes the famous Aira Rainbows. You can even take a pushchair up the first section or extend out up and over Gowbarrow Fell for a more challenging hike and fabulous views over Ullswater.

Local legend has it that a knight called Sir Eglamore lived as hermit by the side of the falls after losing his beloved Emma who slipped from the rocks at Aira Force whilst awaiting his return from war.
We have set out a map showing three routes starting at the National Trust carpark at the base of the falls & finishing back there within the walks section of our website here. We recommend going straight to the welcoming tea shop just near the car park after your hike.

A new pier at Aira Point has just opened, allowing visitors to sail from Glenridding to Aira Force. This is the ultimate day out, with a walk up to the waterfall and lunch at the café, before walking back to Glenridding on the new off-road footpath, or heading back on the boat.

Aira Force is located near Watermillock on the road running between Pooley Bridge and Glenridding. Along the way in the springtime, the fields between this road and the nearby lakefront are covered with Wordsworths daffodils. This is a great drive as well as a great walk.

017684 82067

Whinlatter Forest near Keswick – Go Ape high ropes course, Cyclewise and adventure playground

Braithwaite, CA12 5TW

The Go Ape high ropes course running through the high larch pine trees at Whinlatter, England’s only remaining mountain forest is great fun and a majestic place to visit. The team at Go Ape are very friendly & safe with detailed instructions. We found this exhilirating and were so surprised at the end by how comfortable we were doing zip lines and climbing across obstacles at up to 14 meters above ground. Go Ape’s rope course is offered to kids over 10 with an adult to accompany them. They also do a lot of adult groups. It takes 2 – 3 hours to go around the course which is fun to do even on rainy & cool days because you are down in the pine trees. They also sell inexpensive grippy gloves which are handy when it is cool & a bit damp. There is also a lovely cafe serving hot drinks, meals etc. next door. It is definitely worth reserving a slot

0845 643 9215


Next door to Go Ape is one of our other favourite days out – mountain bike rental from Cyclewise. The friendly team at Cyclewise rent out mountain bikes & other safety gear, set them up for you to size, help you test them out near the shop and suggest some great cycle trails through the woods. They also run mountain biking courses. The Quercus trail is a 7.5 km “blue” graded run and the 19 km Altura trail which is divided into two loops is “red” graded. Visitors can also download a bike and walking trail maps directly from the Forestry Commission website which saves buying them on site ( under the downloads button at the top of the home page).

01768 778 711

Adventure Playground

The Forest at Whinlatter is an amazing woodland based playground which opened in 2011. It is 600 meters long and connects via the trees to nine different play areas including stream based play and a great low level climbing wall. There are also maps available at the Visitors Centre for the Squirrel Scurry Trail & Tracks Trail at Whinlatter which take about an hour to complete.

Tullie House Museum and Art Gallery & Carlisle Castle

Tullie House is on Castle Street CA3 8TP and nearby is Carlisle Castle on Castle Way, Carlisle CA3 8UR. They are an easy walk apart in the more scenic part of Carlisle.
Carlisle Castle is managed by English Heritage and still in use as a working barrack., There is lots of history here on the turbulent part of England. For 500 years until the English and Scottish crowns were united in 1603, Carlisle Castle was the principal Northern fortress for the English. It was held to siege ten times in its history & is the most besieged place in the British Isles. Since it is still a current military installation, there are parts which cannot be visited & the castle is only open for tours between end March and end September. They have a Medieval Castle Family Fun Trail running from 20 July – 1 Sept and offer guided tours throughout the day.

01228 591 922

Tullie House is located in a Grade I listed Jacobean mansion housing a collection of historical artifacts, an art collection and local nature exhibits (fire a Roman weapon, climb a life sized section of the Roman Wall, visit a badger sett). We have enjoyed an afternoon roaming around this eclectic mix of exhibitions combining sections over the generations of the best of the North West. It is well curated, kid friendly and a partner with the British Museum. Check out the Trip Advisor reviews for more feedback on the museum. It has an excellent Garden Restaurant.

01228 618 718

The Puzzling Place in Keswick

9 Museum Square, Keswick, CA12 5DZ

Keswick is a charming Lake District Village and we have spent many pleasant afternoons there wandering around the shops and enjoying the traditional tea rooms. Market days are on Thursdays & Saturdays and there are always some interesting local crafts and items for sale in the stalls in the central square. The Farmers Market is on Mondays. Moot Hall, in the central square, is a very helpful visitor centre for the local area.

The Puzzling Place is an intriguing small attraction located near the town centre which has a collection of amazing illusions including the Anti Gravity Room, the Ames Room, the Hologram Gallery and the Eyelusions Exhibition where visitors can actually walk through and participate in the illusions. There is a walk up the stairs to reach it & it is not expensive to visit. Trip Advisor reviews are positive & it is an intriguing place to while away an hour or two during a visit down to Keswick. It is not just for kids…

017687 751 02

The Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre

Lowther, Penrith, CA10 2HH

Situated 1/4 mile from the entrance to Lowther Castle in the grounds of a walled garden, visitors are able to see over 150 falcons, hawks, eagles, buzzards and owls from this country and abroad. These delightful surroundings are a perfect backdrop to the birds displayed and flown in the sport of falconry, and that are exercised daily at the flying demonstrations. The birds are displayed inside the walled area, which provides an ideal location for the aviaries which are designed to suit each bird’s individual needs. There is also a lovely vintage tea room supplying delicious home made cream teas and other dishes, along with a craft and gift shop.

01931 712 746

The Lakeland Pencil Museum

Southey Works, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 5NG

Discover the colourful world that is home to a giant, an escape artist’s pencil, art adventures and the world’s longest colour pencil! Be inspired by professional artists and create your own adventures in art. With workshops in creative crafts from animation, cartoons and illustrations to model making there is something for all the family to create. Discover the secrets behind the fascinating history of the escape artist’s pencil that RAF pilots carried with them during the war to guide them safely home, in the Secret Pencil Exhibition. Let the kids imaginations run free in the Kids Art Studio while the adults relax and have a cuppa and a sticky bun at the riverside location.

017687 73626

Crafty Monkeys

3 Corney Sqr, Penrith CA11 7PX

This is a welcoming pottery and crafts studio in the middle of Penrith which has a range of great activities for kids and adults including pottery wheels, pottery painting, glass painting, mosaic making, build a bear, plant pot painting. It’s not just for kids and groups are welcome.

Tel 07595 901 977

The World of Beatrix Potter

The Old Laundry, Bowness on Windermere LA23 3BX

This is a small charming exhibition starting with a film about Beatrix Potter then leading around the gardens which has installations of the characters from the books. It is a bit of a drive from the North Lakes & Eden Valley but may form part of a fun day out down to Windermere and around to see a part of the Southern Lake District. This is probably best suited to kids up to age about 7. There is a cafe and a little book shop.

0844 504 1233

Tree Top Nets

Brockhole, Lake District Visitor Centre, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LJ

Imagine over 1500m2 of giant trampolines, walkways, slides and tunnels all made from netting. Now picture this suspended between trees up to 9m off the ground and set in beautiful oak woodland.
This is a UK first and is designed to offer an amazing and adventurous way for both children and adults to play up high in the trees. Unlike traditional high ropes courses, you’ll be completely surrounded by 3m high walls of netting which means you are always safe and therefore do not need harnesses. Treetop Treks is also available for ages 5 yrs upwards. Try up to 35 exciting treetop challenges, designed to make you swing, climb, balance and fly through the ancient oak woodland canopy. You’ll be connected securely to the unique continuous safety cable which enables everyone to join in the fun. To top it all off you will be able to race friends and family down the three parallel 250 meter zip wires taking in spectacular views of the fells and Lake Windermere.

01539 447 186

Walby Farm Park

Crosby-on-Eden, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA6 4QL

Walby Farm Park is an award-wining Cumbrian visitor attraction for families and groups.
There really is an opportunity here for everyone to take part in the numerous interactive sessions and facilities on offer from ‘Meet the Animals’, (including many rare breeds), enjoy the thrills and spills of the outdoor play areas or Cumbria’s biggest indoor play area, take a stroll along the farm’s nature trail or just relax in the Curly Tails Café which serves delicious hot and cold home-cooked food. Open year round, whatever the weather. Suitable for all ages and abilities.

01228 573 056

Bitts Park

Carlisle, CA3 8UL

Owned by Carlisle City Council and operated by Carlisle Leisure, Bitts Park is a super fun and largely free day out for all the family! There is a fantastic children’s adventure playground with sturdy modern equipment including a Pirate Ship sand play area, all suited to 3 to 10 year olds. You can also find a Putting Green, pretty good Crazy Golf course, a mini maze and both open air and under cover tennis courts!

They also have a seasonal FunSplash water splash park (from Easter to October) with fun interactive features like spray jets and tipping bucket. There are pleasure walks and the riverside walk to enjoy as well as a stroll through the Japanese Garden. The Hadrian’s Wall Trail also passes through this park. A refreshments kiosk is on hand where any necessary equipment can be hired such as golf clubs and rackets etc. Annual events here include a huge bonfire and fireworks event in November, an ice skating rink during the festive period and a celebration during Love Parks Week in July.

01228 591 628

Urban Adventure, a private a thrilling high ropes adventure course for age 5 yrs+ is also situated in Bitts Park.

0845 519 1782

For further information on family activities in Cumbria see