A Day in Rydal, Lake District

With friends over from Holland, this weekend we needed to find a good spot that both showed a glimpse of the beauty of the Lakes, as well as providing easy paths for the three little walkers we had with us. Rydal proved to be the perfect choice… and if you fancy a day here, let me suggest a good itinerary.

Spend the morning discovering Rydal Hall

Brochure: https://rydalhall.org/cms/resources/rydal-hall-2019.pdf

We had read about Rydal Hall from the rather brilliant Family Walks and Pubs in the Lake District blog and decided we should give it a go! We parked in the gardens, you are able to leave your car all day for £5 with a permit from the Main Hall. The grounds aren’t huge, but that suited us fine, and we followed the little route suggested on the brochure. We loved reading the little informative signs dotted about to learn about the trees, and there were plenty of things of interest to keep our young children entertained, including waterfalls and sculptures. In the centre, behind the cafe, are toilets and a baby change.

Enjoy lunch in beautiful surroundings

There are a few options for lunch; the cafe at Rydal Hall is pleasant but doesn’t have the best options for children. You could enjoy a picnic, there are plenty of picnic benches in the grounds or you could head down to the Lakeside and find a spot.

The Old School Room tea shop is also a short walk away and is in stunning surroundings too!

Walk up to Rydal Caves

Another fantastic suggestion on the Family Walks and Pubs in the Lake District blog. We used to walk around here frequently pre-children, so it was great to spot a walk in the area that was suitable for our three year old. We crossed the road from Rydal and across the little footbridge to take the path that joined the White Moss footpath. It’s not suitable for pushchairs, but a relatively short distance.

Remember when you get to them, that the first cave isn’t the main one. Keep going round the corner and climb to see the huge mouth of the cave. Entry is by stepping stones, or scrambling over the stones at the side of the cave- which was our choice with me and the baby carrier and our little one. We were massively lucky to find a choir in the cave itself, and enjoyed the music for a little bit. Just up from the cave was a great viewpoint over Rydal Water, and we took obligatory family photos before heading down.

Finish the day with a wander around Grasmere or Ambleside.

Grasmere is much smaller than Ambleside but has gift shops and cafes to mooch around, whereas Ambleside is much larger with more choice. There is a wide range of cuisines and many leisure activities to choose from.

If you’re in the Lakes for a few days you might wish to visit Grizedale, a fantastic forest with lots to enjoy. There are so many walks to enjoy around the area, if you have difficulty getting your child motivated, read this blog post for tips to keep them going!

Grizedale, nr Hawkshead, Lake District

I’ve always loved the Lakes. When I was growing up, my parents had a static in Keswick, and for three consecutive summers post-uni, I worked in children’s summer camps, including one at Hawkshead. In my previous career as a teacher, I relished the outdoor trips there and since I first met my husband we go as often as we can. It’s safe to say the Lakes hold a special place in my heart, and the walking that I have enjoyed there has not been beaten anywhere in the world.

But for the last three years the choice of walks has been difficult, and much more planning is needed to make sure the walks are child friendly. To be honest I think we didn’t realise how lucky we were on our first family trip away when Jess was just 6 weeks old. In a carrier she was no heavier than a normal rucksack, and we didn’t appreciate that the walking we did in Langdale would be the last of its kind for a good few years!

But today we visited Grizedale. Walking map below;

https://www.forestryengland.uk/sites/default/files/documents/Walking%20interior%20%28A3%29%20VIS.pdf

We’ve been here a few times in our previous life (before Jess) for the superb bike riding, but today was the first time we went just for the trails. We were soooo impressed with the whole set up for children. If you’re looking for somewhere that’s easy to get your bambinos excited about the outdoors there can’t be many places that match this place.

One thing that I will say is that other than the short blue route, and the shortest of the yellow routes, it isn’t particularly buggy friendly. Not that that’s a particular problem if you’re not planning on walking far.

We naively set off on the 2.5mile yellow route with Jess on her balance bike. Naively because it soon became apparent that the path was exactly what it claimed, a walking path and totally unsuitable for toddler attempts at biking. She ended up on hubby’s shoulders for much of the first half, but was eager to get down wherever possible. It was a lovely short circular walk with plenty to see, and finished at the visitor centre, complete with one of the best play areas we’ve tried.

The best thing is the access to all parts of the play area- if you did have a buggy you’d be able to watch your children from the top of the slides- something pretty rare!

There’s also a GoApe centre there (banked that knowledge for future years) and a comfortable cafe.

Once Jess had worn herself out we were able to get her up in the carrier and try out one of the other trails, but with my pregnant belly & achy back stopping me going too far, we stuck to a shorter route (Bogle Crag). Still, another great route through this amazing forest.

If you can make it further than us there are some fantastic viewpoints, so make sure to have a look on what’s on offer!

We finished off our trip with a snack stop up at the picnic area at Moor Top, with the winter sun shining through the trees I couldn’t ask for a more picturesque place to end our visit ❤️❤️❤️