Visitor Attractions

Looking for visitor attractions to visit in the Lake District with your family or friends? We have a great selection of things to do on any budget. We can also help if you are looking for things to do for free in the Lake District and have fantastic ideas if you need ideas for things to do when it’s raining.

This page includes:

  • Animal and Aquarium Attractions
  • Historic Houses
  • Steam Railways
  • History Alive
  • Other Attractions

Animal and Aquarium Attractions


The Lake District Wildlife Park (formerly Trotters World of Animals, Bassenthwaite Lake)

Over 100 species and great fun for the children and good value for money.  previously –

Eden Ostrich World, Langwathby

is also worth considering. (no longer working) – Orstrich world has unfortantly closed

Walby Farm, near Carlisle

Family ticket £21 – Not as many animals in the outside areas as Trotters.  Tractor rides and traditional farm animals, which can be fed in a large barn.  There’s a large indoor play area with further play equipment outdoors.  It’s geared up for younger children – they’ll be guaranteed to have lots of fun.  This is a good choice to combine with a visit to Carlisle or Hadrian’s Wall.

Safari Zoo Cumbria (Previously South Lakes Wild Animal Park, Dalton in Furness)

The park contains an exotic collection of larger animals, which includes: lions, tiger, monkeys, bears, rhinos and giraffes. The highlight of the day is the tiger feeding where you can witness the power of these awesome animals as they bound up the poles to grab their dinner. (previoulsy

Lake District West Coast Aquarium on Maryport HarbourWest Coast Lake District Aquarium, The Harbour, Maryport

This is a popular attraction, winner of Cumbria’s small visitor attraction of the year 2010, interesting and fun for both young and old.  At £18.95 for a family ticket (in 2010) it also represents good value for money.  There’s also crazy golf and a free adventure playground (Shiver me Timbers) located next door.

Aquarium of the Lakes, Lakeside, Newby Bridge

Located on the southern edge of Windermere, this is South Cumbria’s alternative to the aquarium in Maryport.  It does have an underwater tunnel but is a little more expensive at £26.95 for a family ticket (in 2010).

Historic Houses

Muncaster Castle, near Ravenglass

This is much more than a historic castle: it’s a world owl conservation centre, with daily displays, and there’s also magnificent gardens and the indoor Meadowvole Maze (for young children).  The best time to go is in the afternoon when wild Heron swoop in for a feed.

Meadow at Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, Lake District
Also consider:

Sizergh Castle and Gardens, near Kendal

Levens Hall and Gardens, near Kendal

Holker Hall and Gardens

This also has a deer park


Steam Railways

La'al Rattie, Ravenglass and Eskdale RailwayRavenglass and Eskdale Railway (La’al Rattie Steam Railway)

It runs seven miles from Ravenglass to Dalegarth Station for Boot; doorstep to England’s highest mountains.  Its our favourite and for a top day out combine it with one of the two of walks shown on this website: Muncaster Fell and Ravenglass Beach.

Also consider:

Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, near Newby Bridge

South Tynedale Railway, Alston

Alston is England’s highest town –

History Alive

William Wordsworth – Cockermouth, Rydal Mount and Grasmere

No trip to the lakes would be complete without a discovering more about our world famous poet, William Wordsworth.  His birth place can be visited in Cockermouth (National Trust site) (previoulsy – and there is one of his later homes at Rydal Mount and the attraction at Grasmere (

Senhouse Roman Museum, Maryport

The Senhouse Roman Museum in Maryport explores the importance of this port in the supply chain for Hadrian’s Wall.

Tullie House, Carlisle

The Roman theme continues at Tullie House, Carlisle where you learn about the Border Raiders and how one of Britain’s oldest cathedral cities developed.

Dock Museum, Barrow-in-Furness

Barrow-in-Furness’s Dock Museum (free entry) is an exciting attraction and well worth a visit to learn about Barrow’s incredible shipbuilding heritage.

Maritime Museum, Maryport

Similarly, the Maritime Museum in Maryport provides an insight into the town’s rich nautical past.  Learn about local people: Thomas Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line, and Fletcher Christian, Mutineer of the Bounty.

Whitehaven Harbour statueWhitehaven – The Rum Story and Beacon

In Whitehaven, there is ‘The Rum Story’ where you can learn about Whitehaven’s dark spirit and the Beacon attraction.

Laurel and Hardy Museum, Roxy Cinema, Brogden Street, Ulverston

Arthur Stanley Jefferson was born in Ulverston.  He would later change his name to Stan Laurel and, with Oliver Hardy, would become possibly the best comedy duo of all time.  Learn more about the famous duo at this museum, which is great value at only £8 for a family ticket (2010 prices).


Other Attractions

Go Ape! at Whinlatter and Grizesale Forests

Older children may appreciate Go Ape!  The high wire forest adventure is located in the Whinlatter Forest, near Keswick and the Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead.  It’s lots of fun for older children but expensive.  There’s also free adventure playgrounds for younger children.  In the summer months at the Whinlatter Centre there is a live TV link to the nearby Osprey nest, which were reintroduced in England several years ago.


Children will find the adventure playground at the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole the best in the county and it’s free!  However, car parking is pay and display.  There’s other activities in the grounds including an occasional zip wire (small charge) and walks in the grounds.


The Rheged Centre, Redhills, Penrith.  A good choice for a wet day, or if the rain cuts short a visit to nearby Ullswater.  There are indoor and outdoor play areas and activities, specialist shops and short 3D Films for the whole family.  In 2010 films cost £19.50 for a family.

Go Karting

West Coast Indoor Karting, Solway Trading Estate, Maryport.  Become Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button!  There’s a 520m full indoor racing circuit; 40mph adult karts and 25mph kids karts.  Safety clothes and helmets are provided.  In 2010: Adults £16; children £14.

Beatrix Potter

The World of Beatrix Potter, Bowness on Windermere.  Aimed at younger children; those who enjoy reading about Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Tom Kitten and co will enjoy this attraction.  There are various scenes from the stories which are brought to life.  Our children really enjoyed it but it does not take very long to get round, so won’t fill much time on a wet day.  However, at £18.00 for a family ticket it’s not going to break the bank.

Honister Slate Mine, Honister Pass, Borrowdale, Keswick

Visit a working slate mine high up on Honister Pass, which runs several different guided tours daily.  If you’ve got a head for heights and looking for something different then there’s also the Via Ferrata and zip wire on a better day.

Lakeland Motor Museum, Backbarrow, Newby Bridge

Cumberland Pencil Museum, Keswick

The world’s longest pencil and, history of pencil manufacture and activities for children.

The Puzzling Place, Keswick

Images and sculptures to fool your mind.