Review: Outdoor Adventures with Children in the Lake District

IN the next month or so, children will be breaking up from school and families will be heading off on their summer holiday. The chances are that quite a number of these will head to the Lake District as part of the 15.8 million visitors who visit each year to enjoy the scenery, peace and quiet and walking but many others who visit specific attractions or take part in an outdoor activity.

A new book from Cicerone will be extremely useful to aid families in activities that they can undertake in the Lake District National Park. The book is divided into two main sections – The Southern Lakes with activities to the west of Windermere and around Coniston Water and The Northern Lakes around Ullswater, Thirlmere, Derwent Water, Buttermere, Bassenthwaite Lake and Ennerdale Water. There are 20 chapters in each of these two areas with activities including Hiking, Cycling, Water Activities, Exploring, Scrambling, Mountain Climbing and Overnight Stays in Bothies or Mountain Huts.

Some of the forty adventures include only one of these activities whereas others include up to four of these. For example the Cathedral Caves visit in Little Langdale includes Cycling, Hiking, Exploring and Water Activities (paddling) all or some of which can be included in this particular adventure. The adventures are geared towards mainly Primary School age children up to the age of 12.

As well as the adventures themselves, there are also chapters about Transport, When to go, Hiking with Children, Biking with Children, Getting Wet, Wild Nights Camping, Bothying & Hostelling, Getting Close to Nature and the Gradings used in the guide. The gradings are colour coded in ascending order of difficulty starting with green and followed by blue, red and finally black.

There are also five appendices – Routes by Activity under the headings of Cycling, On the Water, Mountain Climb, Overnight Stay & Hiking; Where to Hire Bikes & Boats; Attractions & Playgrounds, Outdoor Activity Providers and finally Useful Contacts.

This is an excellent book, well written by Rachel Crolla and Carl McKeating and one that I am sure will be invaluable for any families with children from the age of five to 12. All the activities have been rigorously road tested by this couple and their children and I only wish that it had come out 25 years ago when my own children were in this age bracket as there are some cracking activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Published by Cicerone ( and priced at £12.95.

by John Burland