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As well as its beautiful natural sites, the Lake District has a rich mix of heritage, cultural and family-friendly places to visit. Listed below are just a few of them. Please visit the websites or call the numbers provided for up-to-date information and opening times.
Swing through the canopy at Whinlatter Forest and see all the way to Scotland. A day out for the whole family, enjoy a Tree Top Adventure in the beautiful forest and ride zip slides through skies and over water in England’s only true mountain forest. If that’s not enough fun for one day, you can also get off road and enjoy an epic forest adventure with Go Ape Forest Segway – an awesome segway experience in the Lakes with a down to earth twist.
Take the Ullswater Steamer to the new pier at National Trust-run Aira Force. Tackle the towering peaks, watch the tumbling waterfall, paddle, picnic, or admire the views from the tearoom – there’s so much on offer for all ages at this must-visit Ullswater gem. For opening times and more information, head on over to the website.
The Dalemain mansion and gardens, two or three miles from the Pooley Bridge end of Ullswater, have been in the Hasell family since 1679. The family still lives there today but visitors can stroll through the property to discover fascinating interiors and historic parkland. Homemade food is served in the Mediaeval Hall Tearoom. For opening times visit the website. (017684 86450)
About seven miles from Aira Force on Ullswater is the historic home of Lord and Lady Ingelwood. The house is chock-full of fine furniture, tapestries and portraits, while the grounds include a walled garden, topiary terraces and a woodland walk. Click on the link for opening times and visitor information. (017684 84449)
The Rheged Centre in Redhills is a grass-roofed heritage centre focused on family, food, arts, culture and the outdoors. It houses a huge 3D cinema screen showing epic adventure movies daily. There is also an indoor soft play area, an art materials shop, a café, a changing calendar of exhibitions and more. Visit the website to discover the latest. (01768 868000)
The Alpaca Centre is a working farm breeding and rearing alpacas, about three miles from Pooley Bridge on the road to Penrith. The only farm of its kind in Europe, visitors can view the alpacas from the edge of their paddock or the tearoom. There is also a gallery and shop selling clothing from the exceptionally soft alpaca yarn. (01768 8911440)
This farm in Patterdale by Ullswater uses fleece from its flocks of Angora goats and Herdwick sheep to create a range of mohair and wool products. Socks, scarves, rugs, natural and hand-dyed yarns are available to buy from the farm shop. If you wish to visit the farm or its shop, phone ahead to make an appointment. (017684 82742)
Having been abandoned 70 years ago, Lowther Castle and Gardens is undergoing a restoration programme designed to preserve the rich wildlife that moved into the ruins and vast gardens. It is open to visitors every day (01931 712192). In the Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre in the castle’s walled garden is a collection of eagles, falcons, hawks and owls. (01931 712746)
This medieval castle is about two miles south east of Penrith and near the crossing of the rivers Eamont and Lowther. Founded in the early 13th century by Robert de Vieuxpont and restored by Lady Anne Clifford four centuries later, the castle is a maze of passageways and spiral stairways. The castle is great fun to explore, while the riverside grounds are a good picnic spot. See the English Heritage website for opening times. (0370 333 1181)
Between the village of Orton and the hamlet of Raisbeck is the Bronze Age Gamelands stone circle. An oval enclosure of around 40 large stones and three smaller ones, the stone circle is one of the largest in Cumbria. All the stones appear to have fallen over, so that none are more than a metre high.
This stone circle near Penrith consists of around 59 stones, 27 of which remain upright. An oval shape measuring 100 metres at its longest, Long Meg and Her Daughters is the second largest stone circle in England. Long Meg is an outlying stone of red sandstone marked with examples of megalithic art.
Red Barn Gallery exhibits contemporary painting, sculpture and jewellery from artists in the UK and Europe. The lower gallery space sells art, accessories and furniture for home and garden. On the same site as Larch Cottage Nurseries, Red Barn Gallery is in Melkinthorpe, a hamlet in the Eden Valley. Both the gallery and the nursery are open seven days a week throughout the year. (01931 712767)