5 October Half Term Lake District Adventures

Let Off Some Steam in the Lakes this Half Term

Autumn is when the outdoors really comes into its own in terms of family school holiday entertainment.

Yes, it’s nearly October half term and we’re thinking leaf throwing and printing, nature bracelet and crown creating, awesome den building, cool conker collecting, creepy crawly hunting, pumpkin picking, carving and eating as well as apple harvesting! Oh, and of course, this is the Lake District, so some mud and some fun water play too!

Hope you’re as excited as we are. In this blog post we run through some of the top family activities this October half term in some of the region’s most popular locations and here are our October Half Term Holiday Cottages that are all close by.

Wray Castle, The Pencil Museum, Grizedale Forest and GoApe, Windermere Lake Cruises, The Lake District Wildlife Park – there’s lots to jump for joy about this October half term in the Lake District.

Also, look out for our spooky blog post  – “Top 5 Half Term Spook-fests and Fright-nights” –  coming soon, for things that will make you jump with fright this half term and Halloween.

1. Windermere – King of the Castle and Queen of the Woodland Fairies 

All of October. 

Start your regal adventure on Windermere Lake Cruises, where your destination is the impressive Wray Castle (you can depart at the jetty here), on the quiet western flank of lake Windermere.

Running for the whole of October at National Trust owned Wray Castle, all the family can pick up a specially created, beautiful, willow crown, designed to be decorated with autumn colour.

With your best crown forward, head into the castle grounds and become woodland kings and queens, wearing your trophy’s with pride –  build dens, take the family trail and take the rope swing, if you dare. The gardens here are famed for their special tree collection – Wellingtonia, Redwood, Ginkgo Biloba, Weeping Lime and varieties of Beech – so be sure to find a leaf from each to pop into your crown to take home.

Inside, the Peter Rabbit Adventure rooms are the Trust’s hands-on activity spaces designed for 0-12 year olds, and are superb fun. Both the steamer, Wray Castle and the grounds and walks along the western shore of Windermere make for a superb family day out in the Lake District this half term.

Holiday cottages in Windermere. 

Willow crown making at Wray Castle, Windermere. Image copyright The National Trust.

2. Langdale – A Grand Day Out in Cumbria

Saturday 21st – Sun 22 Oct 

Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Day Out involved building a rocket to sample some moon cheese, of course. Whilst the craggy volcanic rocks of the Langdale valley does have a moonscape resemblance, you’ll not find any cheese up Stickle Ghyll. What you will find, over this half term weekend is the National Trust owned Sticklebarn Tavern hosting the Lake District’s very own Grand Day Out in Cumbria. This has a somewhat more sporting vibe than Wallace is perhaps used to. But, we’re pretty sure that after a weekend of family orienteering, fun runs, a ‘grinding’ uphill fell race, guided walks and bike trails as well as some photo walks, with James Kirby, he’d enjoy settling down in the Sticklebarn to a series of short family adventure films from Kendal Mountain Festival (suitable for age 4+).


Holiday cottages in Langdale. 

Join adventure sports photographer, James Kirby, for A Grand Day Out in Cumbria 2017 photo walks.

3. Keswick – BEAST of Bassenthwaite Lake

Thursday 16th – Tuesday 31st October

The only true lake in the Lake District, Bassenthwaite Lake is gaining a reputation for something somewhat more mythical. Is there a mysterious brachiosaurs-like creature lurking beneath this quiet and secretive lake? Leave school behind and head to the Lake District Wildlife Park, north of Bassenthwaite and less than 10 miles from Keswick, this half term for their special interactive display. Find out more about this long-necked “Bassenthwaite Eachy” that has been spotted since Victorians started visiting the lake.

Despite being the shallowest of the region’s 13 waters, Bassenthwaite is a protected Natural Nature Reserve, and so I guess if we were choosing somewhere to take up residency as England’s Loch Ness Monster, we’d choose Bassenthwaite Lake too, where there’s lots of fish to eat and very little boat traffic. Plus, you’ll be in good company as Bassenthwaite is also home to some other interesting creatures, including the UK’s “rarest freshwater fish”, the vandace, which dates back to the ice age, a snail eating fly and of course the 5ft wingspan of the majestic Osprey, which return to nest at Bassenthwaite having spent the winter in Africa.

Of course, there’s over 100 other animals to see up-close at the Wildlife Park, a covered outdoor picnic area and play frames plus tearooms. As a treat for parents, this half term “kids eat free” at neighbouring Lakes Distillery (21st – 29th October 2017). It is England’s largest whisky distillery, set in an area of unimaginable beauty and their Bistro features in the Michelin Good Food Guides 2016 and 2017, so you won’t be disappointed.

Meet the friendly Aplaca’s at Lakes Distillery, where “Kids eat free” this October half term.

Holiday cottages in Keswick. 

4. Hawkshead – Gruffalo and GoApe at Grizedale

All October until 5th November. 

So, you’ve got little legs that need wearing out this half term? Then Grizedale Forest, in the heart of the south Lakes is just the answer. This is one for cycling families. Bring you bikes with you and go car-free. Whether you stay in Coniston, Hawskhead or over Lake Windermere in Bowness or Windermere, cycling means you can explore further with little ones rather than relying on leg power alone. Use the ferry to cross from Bowness to Hawkshead, or Windermere Lake Steamers to explore Ambleside, Brockhole and Wray Castle. Grizedale Forest is famed for its outdoor sculptures and has a beautiful exhibition room also. And running until 5th November is the Gruffalo Spotters Trails. Download the app and bring characters to life as you follow this interactive trail through the forest. If that’s not enough, there’s the award-winning GoApe adventures too!

Holiday cottages in Hawkshead. 

5. Keswick – The Family Drawing Circus

Thurs 26th October.

Where better than the home of the pencil, Keswick in the north Lake District, to join The Big Draw festival this half term. Yes, pure graphite, used in the pencil industry since the 19th century, was first discovered in Borrowdale back in the 16th century, where it was initially used to mark sheep. And this half term the Pencil Museum, located opposite the former site of the Cumberland Pencil Company (since moved to West Cumbria) are hosting a Family Drawing Circus. The spectacle will be ‘led’ by renounced artist Jake Spicer with a troupe of elaborately costumed artists and some beautiful Derwent colouring pencils. The silent circus will tell a story through their poses and the event encourages all ages to try their hand at sketching. In fact, Jake claims to be able to teach anyone how to draw, so adults will enjoy this too.

Forget GIFs and other digital imagery, bring your lines to life with a flip book or magic lantern technique. There’s lots of ideas over on The Big Draw Living Lines web pages.

Also, there’s lots to see at the Pencil Museum. Of course there is the monstrous 7.9m long pencil but one of our favourite exhibits is the ‘secret map’ pencil, commissioned by MI6. In fact, the MI6 agent who thought up the pencil that contains a tiny map and minuscule compass for fighter pilots that found themselves in enemy territory during WWII, was the inspiration behind Jame Bond’s likable character ‘Q’.

#livinglines #thebigdraw


These are a highlight of some of the events that we’re looking forward to in popular locations in Lake District this October half term. But, browse our October Half Term Holiday Cottages collection, and there is sure to be adventure just around the corner, whichever cottage you choose.

Do let us know if you visit any of these events. We’d love to see some snaps over on Facebook

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