Kick things off for kids in the Lakes with a trip to the Penrith and Eden Museum, home to an array of interesting local artefacts including pottery from the Plumpton Roman Fort and historical and contemporary art. Or how about the Lakeland Motor Museum, with its full-size replica Donald Campbell Bluebell car?
Ride the rugged landscapes with Happy Hooves. In summer, jump into the heated pools at Askham or Lazonby. Climb to the falls at Aira Force and plan a picnic on the rocks. Keep going to meet Long Meg and Her Daughters. Or meet the donkeys, hand-feed the lambs, groom the ponies and watch the goat-racing at Walby Farm Park.
If that’s too tough, you can walk the 1.3-mile circular path at Talkin Tarn Country Park, with its fairytale mature woodland and gentle meadows around a glacial lake. Or take a steamer ride on Ullswater and explore the ‘Dark Lake’. Watch out for red deer, red squirrels and goosanders on the banks, plus legendary monsters beneath the waters.
At Predator Experience, walk a hawk, handle an eagle, join a wolf pack wandering through the countryside or step inside a fox enclosure. Experience life in the woodland canopy on 35 daring challenges at Treetop Trek Windermere. Or head to The World of Beatrix Potter to see favourite characters such as Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-winkle.
You’ll love it here – the peace, the privacy and the chance to boot up and climb the fells, or just reboot. But you might make the Shepherd’s Inn your second home for a posh pie and a pint. You’ll also want to frequent the Old Village Bakery and the Holberrie boutique with its summer tea garden and cosy fire.
Footpaths over the Pennines begin at the gate, including Blencathra, with its six summits. It’s just a short trip to Aira Force waterfall, while Long Meg and Her Daughters has lived too long in the shadows. ‘Next to Stonehenge it is beyond dispute the most notable relic that this or probably any other country contains,’ wrote Wordsworth.
Take the lake steamer around Ullswater. Explore the crystal-clear waters by kayak. Or grab some high-end deli from the Rheged Centre. Spa-seekers should head to the North Lakes Hotel and Spa in Penrith, for innovative vinotherapy treatments. That’s all the benefits of wine and none of the drawbacks.
Shoot some clay, ping some paintball, zorb, quad or sumo at Cumbria Adventures. Quadbike at Rookin House. Shoot 18 holes at Penrith Golf Course. Or just shoot off around the country lanes on two wheels care of Cyclewise. Fish at River Eden or Whin’s Pond, Go Ape at Whinlatter or set sail with Glenridding Sailing Centre.