Wrap up warm and hop on the Keswick Launch that chugs around Derwentwater, in the heart of the western Lake District. It sets off from a pretty bay near Keswick’s theatre by the lake. There are plenty of jetties to run along and ducks to feed should you be early.
People can hop on and off the boat as they please. Cat Bells (home to Mrs Tiggy Winkle) is the fell on your right as you head towards the first stop, Ashness Gate, from where you can walk up to the much-photographed Ashness Bridge. But children may be less excited about an old stone bridge so best to stay onboard until Lodore, from where you can climb up through the woods to the impressive Lodore Falls.
Our favourite route involves staying put until High Brandelhow. From here we walk a few miles along the lakeside path which takes us through old woodland, across fields, over stiles and bridges to Nichol End. Kids can race ahead, hide in hollowed-out trees, explore the woods, hang off jetties, splash in the lake and check out the huge wooden hand. Dogs (which are welcome on the boat) will have a ball too.
At Nichol End Marina there is a fantastic little café on the lake shore. Great home-made soup and saucer-sized scones await you. After lunch the kids can play on the shore (more jetties and ducks) while parents enjoy a coffee.
The boat stops here before heading back to Keswick. For those with a bit more left in their legs, there is a pleasant walk through the village of Portinscale before joining a footpath which delivers you back to Keswick.
This is a strange hidden gem of a museum. It doesn't really inspire you when you walk through the door but then you begin to look around. It's a free local museum run by volunteers, and kids love the strange and wierd Victorian display, from bugs, cobra skins, lions' teeth and a mummified cat to the man trap and the golden eagle. They can touch and play on a huge victorian stone instrument like a xylophone. It's in a great park with a kids playground so we had well over two hours of fun. It's on the quiet side of Keswick and it is easy to miss but its a great discovery.
Fitz Park, Station Road, Keswick keswickmuseum.webs.com
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