Lancashire and Cumbria days out. Two photos of Spike, a blonde haired brown eyed preschooler enjoying Lowther Castle and Mrs Dowson's Farm
Days out,  Family,  Home,  Travel

Our favourite North West Days out around Lancashire and Cumbria

Lancashire and Cumbria are awesome places to explore and while a lot of attractions are currently closed, it still has a whole host of places to enjoy for walking and playing in nature. We’ve been talking a lot about our favourite attractions and walks in and around Lancashire lately, to put onto our Lockdown wishlist and I thought it would be good to do a little round up of some of our favourite Cumbria and Lancashire days out!

Free days out

I’ve a whole blog post about free Cumbria and Lancashire days out from a few years ago, but to be honest we hadn’t even gone that far when I wrote that post and we’ve got so many more to add to it since then! Some will appear there and here, but I think most of our favourites are relatively new to us.

Williamson Park

Williamson Park is our ‘local’ park now we’ve moved house and its a gorgeous park to walk round. There are so many fun parts of the woodland to escape into. With rock faces, duck ponds and plenty of huge trees to hide behind its like a play area without the need of any equipment. The play areas that are there are a little basic though to be honest. There is an under 8s and an over 8s area, which is better than it used to be, but Spike prefers the over 8s! There are big plans to create a really awesome play area as part of the paid part of the park though.

Cuerden Valley

Cuerden Valley Park was mentioned in the past post but I didn’t appreciate it as much then as I do now. Plus its had a lot of work put into it by the Cuerden Valley Trust. It now features a cafe, visitors centre and toilets and there’s events put on often. The ford in the middle of the park, the stepping stones and the off-the-beaten-track walks are our favourite features of the park. There’s also a tree sculpture trail I believe, but we haven’t done that yet!

Garstang

There are events held throughout the year at Garstang and every time we’ve been we’ve felt welcomed by the locals. There are little shops and cafes to enjoy, play areas to visit and the walks by the river are simply gorgeous. We loved our recent visit when we walked the Greenhalgh Castle circular.

Our favourite beaches

Lancashire and the North West has some amazing beaches. Last time I mentioned our favourite St Annes, with its amazing facilities right on the beachfront and our favourite bookshop on the high street. We’ve spent a little more time at Morecambe Bay since we moved and love our walks along the prom there, with its mini play areas for the kids. However I think our favourite recent visit was to Bardsea in the South Lakes in Cumbria. Its a stunning beach, quiet with loads of space and a really nice family friendly walk nearby. Grange Over Sands was beautiful too and we love that at both beaches we can look over the Bay and see signs of home we’re so close!

Paid days out

When the funds allow it, we love to pay a visit to our favourite nearby attractions. There are lot though, so we have to limit what we do otherwise we’ll go bankrupt! Some of these I heard about by chance too, and am so glad I did. Be sure to check out these Cumbria and Lancashire days out attractions when you are in the area.

Butterfly house and Mini Zoo

This is essentially an extension of the mention of Williamson’s Park above as this attraction is within the park. Now, I’m terrified of butterflies, but I faced my fears for Spike and she absolutely loved the Butterfly House and Mini Zoo. So much so she asked to go there for her birthday. We were going to have her party there but obviously lockdown stopped that from happening. Even with my irrational fear of butterflies I had to include this attraction as it is a cheapish day out for the whole family. The mini zoo is a really nice addition to what used to be just the butterfly house and I think most kids will love it. The gardens you walk round for the mini zoo are pretty, you can meet lovely small animals. Plus, you get to see meerkats.

Lowther Castle

We visited Lowther Castle for my birthday a few years ago and I fell in love. Its near Penrith so easily the most northern attraction on this list. But it’s a gorgeous half ruined castle with some amazing grounds. Plus, its got a replica wooden version of itself in the grounds which is a massive play area for the kids. There are balancing beams throughout the woods, beautiful views across the Lakes and they’re continuing to make it even better with new developments all the time.

Billy Bobs Parlour, Myerscough

Now technically I haven’t been here. Spike and Daddy had a fun day out here last year on one of their Bank Holidays when I was working. I was gutted to have missed out and I will definitely be going back very soon. It was on the list of places to visit when the weather got nice in 2020 but we might have had summer when everything had to be shut. We’ll see. Its a huge play area with barn and burger and ice cream bar. You can sit in an American style school bus to eat too. It looks awesome! Its a smaller version of the original Billy Bobs site in Skipton which sounds even better and is on the list to visit too… but technically thats North East not West…

Blackpool Zoo and South Lakes Safari Zoo

I’ve bundled these in together but they are pretty darn different even though they are both zoos. Blackpool Zoo was were we spent Spike’s 1st Birthday and I have a lot of very special memories there. The dinosaur area is awesome and I love seeing all the animals.
However South Lakes Safari Zoo is in a world of its own. It had some bad press a few years ago but with new management its becoming a special place. You get closer to the animals, with a wallaby/kangaroo area that you literally walk through and all the enclosures feel close by. I even got to feed the giraffes when we want in February!

Lakeland Maze Farm Park

With its own Maize Maze every year, Lakeland Maze Farm Park is so much more than a farm. Its full of fun at every turn. Just don’t try and attempt the Maze in ridiculous heat in September without proper clothing and drinks! We were totally unprepared. The maze is rebuilt every year so has a different theme and I loved the cafe where you can see aerial shots of all the past mazes! There are trampolines, a great play area, outdoor games and tractor rides to enjoy. As well as bouncy castles and of course animals to meet.

Mrs Dowson’s Farm

We had Spike’s birthday party here when she turned 4 and it holds such special memories. Its a gorgeous little farm, meaning its a little cheaper than others, which is fully working. It manufacturers its own ice cream from the cow milk and its worth a visit just for that in all honesty!

Lakes Aquarium and Newby Bridge

A cute little aquarium on the edge of Lake Windermere, I wasn’t expecting a lot from Lakes Aquarium. But it pleasantly surprised me. If you’ve been to sea life you expect an al singing, all dancing aquarium and Lakes isnt. But its still fun, with lots of activities for the kids to enjoy. And its location is definitely worth the visit. Lakeside in Neby Bridge is gorgeous and while there you can travel on the Windermere Ferry and the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway too.. There are combo tickets for all the attractions available.

Wray Castle

Another in Cumbria, Wray Castle is a National Trust site with loads of gorgeous walking routes to enjoy. But within the castle itself there are lots of lovely child centred play rooms. There are Peter Rabit themed rooms, a soft play room where you are encouraged to build your own castle and dress up rooms. Spike loved our visit and it was just a really nice place to walk around for us too. There are gorgeous views over the lake and nice picnic places too.

Food and drink you don’t want to miss in Lancashire and the north west

So sometimes, you just want to go somewhere nice to enjoy a bit to eat, or a treat. Thankfully we have plenty of these nearby and I’ve never appreciated them as much as I should. Lancashire days out in particular include some great cafes, restaurants and more.

Wallings in Cockerham

Until I lived and worked in Lancaster I was unaware of Wallings. Until we managed to move, I had never visited even though my workmates kept telling me to. Now I want to move in next door and eat all the ice cream I can! Wallings is a cafe on a farm in a quiet village near Lancaster. In addition to the cafe they have a takeaway ice cream parlour and seating areas outside to enjoy it. There are literally dozens of different flavours of ice cream to choose form and you get plenty for your money. I haven’t had a bad Wallings ice cream yet, but I’m not done with them yet! Its easy to park at the site, unless its horrendously hot, and they manage the queues well, opening the ice cream van in the car park if they need to! It’s also Spikes favourite ice cream place because they do teddy bear shaped wafer cones!

Fredricks in Chorley

Can you tell we love ice cream? Before we moved to Lancaster Fredricks was our ice cream go to. They are in Chorley near the canal and theres a really nice little walk you can do with your ice cream. Again, there are loads of different types of ice cream to choose from. If its hot though be prepared to queue hours and not get parked anywhere near!

The Barn at Scorton

The Barn is a garden centre, gift shop and restaurant in a beautiful little village called Scorton. Between Lancaster and Preston its easy to get to. The restaurant has some amazing food but its known for its great cakes the most! Plus, it sells Wallings ice cream if you fancy that after actual food! We loved the little gift shops within the centre and the food in the restaurant. It would make a really nice day out for the extended family for sure.

Food drink and coffee shops in Lancaster

In all honesty, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to places for good, well sourced food and drink in Lancaster. There are so many gorgeous cafes and coffee shops that days in the city can easily be taken up with just visiting them. My favourite coffee shop would have to be The Music Room and my favourite cafe so far would have to be Journey Social. Check them both out when you can but I think cafes and coffee shops in Lancaster needs its own post to do it justice!