Lake District Holiday Cottages

Of all the places to stay with children in the Lake District, cottages are a super popular choice. Often more flexible than hotels, with enough living space for the whole family, it’s easy to see why families often choose a cottage for their stay.

It is so important to choose the right cottage for you, as a great cottage can make your holiday extra special. Here, we’ve thought about all the things to consider when you’re choosing your holiday cottage in the Lake District, especially when children are a very important part of the plan!

We’ve also used our knowledge of the area to make some suggestions for cottages too. Happy browsing!

Location

Would you like your holiday cottage to be located in a village or town centre, close to amenities and some activities? Or would you like to be out in the countryside, away from it all in the peace and quiet?

Staying in a village centre has advantages – you’ll probably need to use a car less, and you’ll find restaurants, shops and some attractions in walking distance.

However staying out in the sticks also has some advantages – the peace and quiet can help at nap times/bedtimes, and obviously staying in the middle of the beautiful Lake District gives you amazing views everywhere!

Along with this, you’ll need to consider where in the Lake District you want to be. The villages are all lovely but they are different from each other, and offer different things. The main larger villages are:

Windermere and Bowness

Bowness on Windermere and Windermere village both have a lot to offer. They are close to lake Windermere, with access to both the lake shore and opportunities to get on the lake with Windermere Lake Cruises. There are plenty of local walks and lots of visitor attractions nearby, such as the World of Beatrix Potter and Windermere Jetty Museum to keep everyone busy.

Windermere Jetty Museum

There is loads of choice when it comes to holiday cottages in Bowness and Windermere. This cottage in Windermere is great for families and offers a brilliant garden and parking for the location.

Right in the heart of Bowness, this cottage sleeps up to 6 and is located in walking distance of cafes, restaurants and tourist attractions.

And this cottage is perfect for larger families, also in walking distance of Bowness and all it offers.

For a family friendly stay out in the countryside, but within easy reach of Bowness, Windermere and Ambleside, this barn is a super cool choice.

Keswick

In the north of the Lake District, Keswick has an outdoorsy reputation, and is brilliant for families who want to make the most of what the Lake District does best: lakes and mountains. There are plenty of opportunities for hiking, mountain biking and watersports in the area, with Derwentwater right on the doorstep and Bassenthwaite just up the road.

Keswick town itself is fab, with plenty of places to stay and to eat, as well as activities such as the Puzzling Place, Derwent Pencil Museum, and the Theatre by the Lake.

Theatre by the Lake

This delightfully named dog friendly cottage is in a peaceful area, close to the Keswick-Threlkeld railway walk, but still very close to Keswick town centre.

Another town centre choice is this traditional slate cottage, which is perfect for a family of up to 4.

If you’re looking to really find yourself out in the countryside, this cottage sleeps 5 and is in Borrowdale, a short drive from Keswick and one of the most beautiful parts of the whole county.

Ambleside

Ambleside is really beautiful and a fab central location. The village itself is small but punches way above it’s weight for cafes and restaurants, and has lots of cool little shops to explore. There is also a great play park, and our absolute favourite; the Rock Shop.

Stock Ghyll Force in Ambleside

Ambleside gives great access to Lake Windermere, with the Lake Cruises that take you down to Bowness and across to Wray Castle. It’s central location also means that plenty of walks, lakes and attractions are withing fairly easy reach.

This beautiful cottage is in walking distance of Ambleside, and is pet and baby friendly.

With bike and canoe storage, this eco-friendly cottage is perfect for active families. It also comes with access to a local health club, with a pool, sauna and steam room.

For balcony mountain views in easy reach of Ambleside, this house is perfect for families, and accepts 2 dogs too.

Grasmere

Grasmere is much smaller than some of the other Lake District towns, but it is one of the most beautiful. Famous for Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread (highly recommended), the village offers a selection of cafes, restaurants and shops.

Grasmere village is also close to the lake of the same name, which is a brilliant place for paddling, swimming, kayaking and stand up paddle boarding.

Swimming in Grasmere

This cottage is in the heart of Grasmere village and has the most beautiful garden with views.

The views over Grasmere lake make this cottage in the countryside a beautiful place to stay.

If you’re bringing your four legged friend, this cottage in the centre of Grasmere is dog friendly.

In addition to the usual Lake District hotspots, here are some locations you might not have thought of…

Ulverston

Ulverston is a market town in the South West of the Lake District. It’s a bustling town (less of a holiday town than the previous suggestions) with lots going on.

Being located in Ulverston means you’re ideally located to explore the coastline in that area, including Bardsea and Roanhead, both of which are beautiful spots. It’s also in easy reach of lake Coniston, and of plenty of walks to suit all ages.

Bardsea, Ulverston

On the outskirts of Ulverston, this family friendly cottage is situated on a working farm.

This amazing cottage is perfect for larger groups as it sleeps 9, allows 3 dogs, has a massive garden and even has an EV charging point.

If you’re looking for a property in the centre of Ulverston, close to shops and restaurants, this quaint cottage is great for families.

Penrith

Penrith is another town that might not spring to mind when you first decide to book a family stay in the Lake District. However, it’s location is what makes it a great choice. Sat outside the National Park, Penrith is close to Rheged, Ullswater lake and Aira Force, along with plenty of walks and other attractions.

Three children looking out over the fells from the bridge above Aira Force
Aira Force

This rural farm stay is in the middle of the countryside, just 8 miles from Penrith.

With an electric charging point, this barn conversion is close to Penrith and is super family friendly.

Just 3 miles outside Penrith, this little cottage in Yanwath is just the cutest!

Grange over Sands

Another choice in the South West of the Lake District, Grange-over Sands is said locally to have it’s own microclimate. I’ve no idea if this is true, but I do know that whenever we venture there, it’s generally not raining which is always a bonus!

Grange over Sands is a small town with a selection of cafes and restaurants. It’s main attraction is the promenade by the sea that runs the length of the town. ‘Grange prom’ as it’s known, is a great spot for a little walk, scoot or bike ride for younger children, or just a nice stroll out for any age. Along the prom you’ll find all sorts of things to do, including a skate park, a cafe, crazy golf, and a play park.

Hampsfell, above Grange over Sands

Grange over Sands also offers plenty of walks in the surrounding areas, and is close to Fell Foot Park, on the shores of Lake Windermere.

In the heart of Grange over Sands, this beautiful cottage has storage for bikes and outdoor gear.

Located just outside Grange over Sands, in the village of Allithwaite, this period cottage sleeps 5 and accepts 2 dogs.

This traditional cottage in Grange over Sands has a lovely garden and is perfect for families.

Budget

This probably should have been the first point, but where would the fun in that be?! Obviously budget is completely personal to each person/family. The great thing is that the Lake District offers so many holiday cottages, there is one for every budget!

Here is a selection to suit a range of budgets.

Budget

This 3 bed apartment in the heart of Grange over Sands is a great budget option.

In the heart of Ambleside, this cottage sleeps 4 and has views over to Fairfield Horseshoe.

This cosy cottage conveniently situated between Kendal and Windermere allows dogs.

Mid-range

This Bowness on Windermere holiday cottage has parking for 4 cars, and amazing views over Lake Windermere

Just 300m from the shores of Derwentwater, this cottage is close to Keswick, and is ideal for a family.

Luxury

In Chapel Stile, close to Grasmere, this renovated historic house sleeps 8 and accepts 2 dogs.

Also in Ambleside, this gorgeous house sleeps 6 and accepts 2 dogs. The house is absolutely beautiful inside and the views from the property are fab.

Amenities

There are plenty of holiday cottages here in the Lake District that will offer a certain something that you might need. Depending on the age of the children you are with, you might need high chairs, cots, or specific cottages to suit a wandering toddler. For older children you might want bunk beds, a pool, gaming equipment, outdoor equipment available, or even a hot tub. Here are some options with specific amenities.

Cottages with a hot tub

Close to Ulverston, this family friendly barn conversion sleeps 6 and has a hot tub to enjoy.

Cottages with a pool

This absolutely amazing house in Elterwater provides complimentary membership to the nearby Langdale Hotel and Spa. The house itself also sits within 2 acres of gardens with a stream and a shallow pond – so this property is more suited to older children.

Cottages with a games room

This one is a bit different. On the ground floor of a Grade II listed building, this super cool apartment in Ulverston has football and pool tables, along with storage for walking boots and gear.

Cottages for larger groups

Just 1 mile from the centre of Keswick, this family friendly house sleeps 18!

Looking out over Lake Windermere, this spectacular manor house sleeps 18, accepts dogs, and I think you’d never want to leave!

Log Cabin

This brilliant log cabin sleeps 4 and has a patio amongst the trees, with walks and bike rides directly from the door.

So with all this choice, the perfect holiday cottage for you and yours should be out there somewhere! Happy planning!

If you decide that camping is more your style, here’s my guide to the 21 Best Family Campsites in the Lake District.

About the author

I'm Michelle, Lake District resident and founder of this site. You can mostly find me up a hill, on a lake, or enjoying a hot chocolate by the fire. Feel free to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

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