view from brockhole visitor centre

Brockhole, the ultimate day out for the family

2 May 2018 Local area

Enjoy a fun-filled family day out at Brockhole. There is plenty to do for all the family!

What’s a 20-minute drive from Park Cliffe that has a multitude of activities to keep every member of the family occupied and is constantly evolving?

And no, it’s not found on the App Store or an iPad!

Brockhole. The ultimate day out for the family within close reach of Park Cliffe.

Now, why choose Brockhole?

Well, let me tell you that if you’ve come to visit the Lakes and want to visit GoApe and Grizedale, both very worthwhile trips, you will without a doubt spend a good portion of your day either in the driving seat or moving around in the backseat trying to get comfortable. Getting to any destination in the Lakes in challenging despite the resilience of your Satnav or determination of your children to get there sooner!

Brockhole is the Lake District Visitor Centre and full of tourist information to help you on your way. The Lake District being the first National Park to gain status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, here at Brockhole you can engage with the videos that have been made by local workers to learn about the reasons why the application to become a World Heritage Site was successful!

Brockhole’s established attractions, Tree Top Trek and their impressive adventure playground have been supplemented with some new and exciting attractions. Writing this as a newly established adult, in my younger years where I too had an energy surplus and I thoroughly enjoyed going to the adventure playground and I’ve seen that it has grown massively since I visited and now has even been expanded. There is a new toddler space which has its own Galleon boat as it’s focal point, and for older children there is the unique ‘Mountain Tower’ – to find out more you’ll have to visit! On the other hand, I’m not quite so keen when it comes to climbing over obstacles and moving around 10m in the air, although, I did have a great deal of fun on both the green route (closer to the ground and best for very young children and weary adults) and the blue route which is significantly higher. Having completed a Tree Top Trek there is also a 30m zipline, which is arguably the best part, and having raced both my brother and Dad down the zipline multiple times I can vouch for both its efficiency and potential for awesome fun.

So, before I even get started on the new and long-standing attractions at Brockhole, I already think you should go whilst on holiday with us.

view from brockhole visitor centre

Photo credit: Henry Burrows, Flickr


Here is a brief low down on the attractions available

Smaller people who want to have a ‘big’ amount of fun:

  • Mini golf
  • Beatrix Potter trail
  • Pony rides (2-70)
  • Tree Top Nets (3+)
  • Adventure playground (toddler – teens) FREE
  • Indoor play (under 4s only)


Bigger people who want an experience to remember:

  • Bike hire (smaller children can come along in a ‘tag along bike’ or ‘trailer’)
  • Tree Top Trek (climb and zip – 5+, green trek – 5+, blue trek – 7+)
  • Discovery trail and orienteering courses (both approximately £2)
  • Laser Clay Shooting (10+)
  • Boat hire (we strongly advise visitors at Park Cliffe to refrain from hiring paddleboards outside of the main Summer holiday season because the Lake is cold, at it’s best in July!)
  • Rowing boats
  • Sit on top kayaks
  • Canadian canoes
  • Motor boats
  • Stand up paddle boards
  • * Brave the Cave * New for 2018 (so new I haven’t even tried it!) (5+, under 8s to be accompanied by an adult) Navigate a series of caves to uncover a number of gradually more challenging puzzles!
  • Archery (7+) adult supervision for children under 14
kids enjoying the grounds at brockholes in the lake district

Photo credit: Dave Haygarth, Flickr


Bigger people who have come on holiday to actually take a break:

  • Lake District Art Exhibitions
  • Brockhole Café
  • The Gaddum Restaurant (more indulgent dining shall we say, away from the fun and chaos to be had on the nets or at the playground)
  • The Garden Shed (full of sweet treats and lunch ideas)
  • Lakeshore Café (located beside Windermere itself selling similar delicacies to The Garden Shed)
  • Bring a picnic! This may not be Hyde Park but it certainly is an ideal place to ‘picnic in the park’.
  • Brockhole’s Arts and Crafts garden designed by Thomas Mawson, boasting 30 acres of terrific landscaping and variety of both flowers and shrubs and its own kitchen garden. If you really are an advocate for Brockhole you can make an excuse to visit here at least four times a year to admire the gardens in all four seasons because one must experience it from all angles!


Now I understand that the activities (and yes I am including sitting in a café as an activity) are a little overwhelming so below are a few sample itineraries for a day out to Brockhole.


Example Day 1:

Full Tree Top Trek of both the green and blue route (7+), this takes approximately 2 hours.

Well-deserved break for lunch, if you’ve checked the weather forecast before and it’s a nice day I’d always advocate bringing a picnic to eat in the sunshine! Alternatively any of the cafes are great places to have lunch.

In the afternoon if energy levels are still high the Adventure Playground is not to be missed and if you’re not climbing up the ropes or jetting down the slides there is plenty of seating available to take a break and watch, or read a book.


Example Day 2:

Spending a late morning venturing around the beautiful gardens and taking in the lovely scenery, and if you’re feeling cultural exploring an Art Exhibition within the Visitor Center. Then in the afternoon treating yourselves to afternoon tea at the Gaddum restaurant and watching the world go by as you indulge on delicious sandwiches and scones!


Example Day 3:

If you’re looking for a fun way to see the sights of Lake Windermere then hiring bikes is a great idea and you can take a ride along to West shore by taking a short boat ride from Brockhole to Bark Barn Jetty. Depending on how organised you are a picnic would be a nice option here, to have en route and upon returning the bikes there are a number of trails and orienteering courses for children of all ages that will get the whole family involved.

Walking routes:

Once you have arrived at Brockhole there are also a few walks, and depending on how keen a walker you are there is a choice of length of the walk.

Miles without Stiles – approximately one mile taking in the views around the Brockhole grounds, easy route appropriate for all ages and those who would prefer to have a gentle ‘saunter’ round.

Jenkin Crag – approximately three miles and involves a boat trip from Brockhole to Waterhead at Ambleside. Total duration would be between 2-3 hours and is a moderate walk.

Wansfell Pike – approximately six miles and involves the same boat trip to Waterhead and also has a steep ascent with a slightly daunting number of steps to reach the top when you’re at the bottom! If you have walked up Helvelyn you will be familiar with the vast amount of stone steps to reach the summit, so you will feel quite at home reaching the top of Wansfell.

Details of the routes above and maps are available on Brockhole’s Website.


Top travel tips:

  1. Avoid returning to Park Cliffe between 5pm and 6pm because it is guaranteed you will join the tea time traffic. Before you even set off you can add on an extra half an hour or so to your return journey.
  2. Car share, if you’re holidaying with family/friends, or have made friends on the site. Parking will never be cheap in the Lakes unfortunately and if you have unpacked the cumbersome tent and half your fridge/freezer from your car and have gained 3 more seats make the most of them. *Added bonus is reduced pollution into the environment!*
  3. If you’re staying with us during the holiday periods then a good option is to take the bus from Park Cliffe to Windermere, then to take the open top bus to Brockhole.


Header photo credit: Henry Burrows, Flickr