Being lucky enough to live in the Lake District, I’ve always enjoyed spending time outdoors with my family. Whether we head over to Crummock Water or to Rannerdale to see the bluebells in May, walking together is something we’ve always enjoyed doing. For those days when it’s pleasantly warm, we have the whole day free, and the kids are full of energy, then we’ll often head over to Mirehouse Gardens.
Why do we love it? It’s got several perfect picnic spots (such as the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake above); great adventures for the kids (whatever their age) and beautiful gardens that will take your breath away. I’ve been visiting since I was a child, and it’s a joy to see my children enjoying it as much as I always have.
When you first enter the grounds of Mirehouse, you’re met with beautiful, fragrant gardens. Large trees and rhododendrons line the pathways that lead to the different adventure playgrounds made for big – and little – kids to enjoy.
There are four playgrounds in all, which offer activities for kids of all ages. These include
- “The Steeplechase” – a selection of obstacles that you need to balance on, jump over or crawl under
- “The Forest Castle” – a wooden tree house that kids can climb into
- “Squirrel Island” for younger kids, and
- The “Forest Hazard Course” – an assault course .
This last course is generally the favourite for my kids, though they do like to explore everything.
The playgrounds offer everything from swings and rope bridges to balance beams across streams and scramble nets. One of our favourite’s is the zip wire.
After having a good play in the playgrounds and exploring the other trails, the path takes you along woodland trails until you reach the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake. We often stop here to eat our picnic, to admire the view and to feed any ducks or geese that may be passing. On a nice day, the kids will have a good play here…simply paddling, throwing in stones or just chilling out and talking under the trees. After this, we complete the circular route and head back to the starting point. It’s a short walk through a field, often full of sheep, through the woodland and you’re back where you started.
At the time of writing, tickets to the gardens, the adventure playgrounds and the lake walk are priced at £4 per adult and £2 per child. You can also visit the Historic House and there are more demanding hillside walks on offer. (I’ve not tried these yet, though I hope to visit again, soon). Lakeside, flat, relaxed walks are our favourite…especially on warm, summer days if you’re walking with children. I’d love to hear about some of your favourite places to visit, or ideas on how to entertain the kids during the summer holidays, in the comments below.
If you’d like to find out more about Mirehouse Gardens, you can find a link to their website here.