5 Best Family Spots: Peak District National Park

5 Best Family Spots: Peak District National Park

1. Ridge Walk Mam Tor to Losehill is an ideal family walk. An easy stretch of five miles and taking around two and half hours to complete. The walk is along simple well laid footpaths most of the way and the ascents are fairly easy. You will head over Mam Tor then follow the crest of The Great Ridge who's grand profile separates the beautiful Hope and Edale Valleys until you reach its end at Lose Hill, another hill with an interesting history. This walk is an amazing mix of natural history combined with vast and beautiful panoramic views into the heart of the Peak District.

2.  Chatsworth House is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family. The house is renowned for the quality of its art, landscape and hospitality, and it has evolved through the centuries to reflect the tastes, passions and interests of succeeding generations. Take time to wander through the incredible home and you may be lucky enough to catch an exhibition. For children, Chatsworth has a fantastic farmyard where they can meet ponies, lambs, take a trailer ride and then head to the outdoor play park where they can swing, climb and make a splash. 

3. Take your kids underground and treat them to a tour at Treak Cliff Cavern. Having started as a Blue John mine over 300 years ago, Treak Cliff Cavern continues to mine, process and manufacture ornamental items and jewellery from Blue John Stone today. On the 40 minute guided tour visitors can see the most abundant veins of Blue John Stone in the world and some of the 'finest stalactites' in the Peak District.

4. Chestnut Centre, Otter Owl and Wildlife Park. The Chestnut Centre is an escape from the bustle of life, in a secluded natural valley in the Peak National Park. The centre is home to 4 species of otters including the rare Giant Otter, 15 species of owl, tame fallow deer in the deer herd, foxes, pine marten and the elusive, endangered Scottish Wildcat etc. Truly a ‘Hidden Gem in a Hidden Valley”.

5. Really treat yourself and the family by taking a canal boat tour with Wandering Duck. Wandering Duck is the unique canal boat experience. They offer day tours for small groups of up to 8 people. Their day tours are hands-on; have a go at steering their 69ft Narrowboat, or help work the locks. You can take a day tour or even stay on board for three nights. 

5 Best Family Spots: Dartmoor National Park

5 Best Family Spots: Dartmoor National Park

For today our third National Park is Dartmoor in Devon. You're likely to have heard of Dartmoor ponies (they're wild and tiny!) but this national park is jam packed full of great things to do as a family. Once again, we've picked our top five places and activities to do with your children. 

1. Become and Otter Spotter! A wonderful activity to take on with your children. There are 100 Moor Otters that have been hidden around Dartmoor, gateway towns and other surprise locations. All you have to do is spot them. Pick up an otter spotter guide from one of the Visitor Centres and head on your way. If you can find more than 20 otters (remember to note their name and code from the plinth, fill in your details and return it to either the visitor centre at Haytor, Princetown or Postbridge to get your badge. 

2. Sticking with the otter theme, because let's be honest, they're wonderful animals. Make time during your visit to take a trip to Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary. See the otters up close and learn all about these incredible creatures. A small and family run centre, education is a priority, but don't worry, fun is on the agenda too. In the otter sanctuary you can see the native British otter, the playful Asian short clawed otters and the large North American river otters - apparently, they like to show off! The sanctuary works on a sustained breeding program and rehabilitates the animals in their care. Conservation is critical and your children are going to love learning what they can do to help otters and butterflies in their futures. 

3. Pennywell Farm is a must visit for animal lovers. Can you see our theme here? With four free rides and hundreds of friendly animals, play areas and games you'll be hard pushed to find anything that your children won't like about the place. You can collect eggs with your activity farmer, have a go at goat milking, bottle feed the goat kids, cheer on the miniature pigs as they race at 2 pm and have a cuddle with them at their tea time. Come together as a family to enjoy the tractor and trailer ride, see the most scenic part of the farm and soak in the views across Dartmoor from the comfort of your seat. 

4. A trip to Dartmoor wouldn't be complete without seeing the ponies. Make time in your schedule to visit the Miniature Pony Centre and fall in love with these gentle creatures. There are indoor and outdoor play areas so you can visit in all weather. Activities and talks run through the day, they include animal feeding, pony grooming, work the front loader of the tractor, meet Buster the shire horse, pony bedtime (adorable) and for £2 you can have a ride on the ponies! 

5. Head to Tree Surfers for an adventure you won’t forget. In the top of the trees you'll cross rope bridges, zip lines, walkways and death drops to challenge and excite you. This is no ordinary family day out. It’s a chance for the whole family to escape. There are four specially designed high ropes courses from junior to the “black run”, plus the exhilarating “leap of faith” and the awesome “big zip”.The fun doesn’t stop there. You can also book an archery session, hire a bike or take a wander on some of the 25km of trails and mountain bike tracks. And there’s our fabulous Beech Cafe for lunches, afternoon teas and delicious home made cakes. Located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, the courses are designed in harmony with the natural environment. It’s a magical place and we promise to keep it that way. Our warm and friendly staff are trained to support you every step of the way. It’s a chance to run wild and have an adventure together.

5 Best Family Spots: Lake District

5 Best Family Spots: Lake District

As part of National Parks week, we wanted to share the best things to do in each one with children. Here at WATCHU we want to get children out and exploring and what better place than the Lake District? As the largest English park, it seemed the best place to start. Covering 912 square miles (583,747 acres) a huge 18.41 million people visit the Lake District per year! 

There's something for children of all ages but we've picked our top five things to do on your next visit. 

1. Treetop Trek! It's as good as it sounds. With 35 tree top challenges, children and parents call all join in to swing, climb, balance and fly between the 250-year-old oak trees. It finished with an incredible 250-metre triple zip from the 14-metre high Treetop tower to the shoreline. Grab your friends and family and race them to the ground. 

You don't need any experience, and there are options for all abilities (or just how long you want to be up in the canopy)! Climb and Zip is recommended for five year olds and up, it takes around half an hour to complete so perfect as a quick activity to break up the day. Mini Trek (Green Trek + triple zip) is for 5-year-olds and up and takes around one hour. Finally, the Full Trek (Green Trek + Blue Trek + triple zip) is for 7-year-olds and up, taking around two hours to complete makes it perfect for your little monkeys. 

Price depends on your age and which course, but prices start from £18 for children and £22 for adults.

2. On the 30th of July, take part with all the family on the Windermere with a View, a guided family cycle ride. An easy-going pace, partly traffic free and partly quiet minor road. Having proved popular booking is essential and the journey is 5 miles long and takes around five and a half hours. For more information click here. Cycling is a great activity for children and parents alike, take in the stunning surroundings and your journey starts by sailing on the unique bike boat from Brockhole to Windermere's western shore. 

3. Ever wanted to try your hand at archery? Well at Greenland Farm Village at Tewitifield you can. Carefully guided at all times by fully qualified "Archery GB" coaches you can learn how to master archery. The 90 minute sessions take place in the woods where you then get to practice your new skills on target faces. Children must be over the age of 8 and all minors must be accompanied by an adult. 

4. Choccobar. Yes, it is as good as it sounds! After all of this outdoor activity put your feet up and enjoy a sweet treat to give you energy for the rest of your stay in the Lake District. With homemade Belgian waffles and churros being a firm favourite amongst guests, you'll be hard pushed to find a tastier dessert. If you have a more savoury tooth then fret not, there's a wonderful selection of hot paninis and toasties to keep your sugar rush to a minimum. Thick milkshakes will keep the kids happy and speciality teas are available for those with a more refined palette. 

5. Take a walk on the real wild side with the Predator Experience. From walking with Wolves to Eagle experiences, this is perfect for any animal lover. Founded by Daniel and Dee Ashman, the duo promotes conservation of birds of prey and other predators through education. Their aim is to inspire the public to protect biodiversity for the future. Take your children and spark their interest in conservation and animal protect for life! 


 For more information regarding the Lake District, click HERE


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