Cycling with kids in the Lake District

A Family-Friendly guide with Cycle Sprog!

Discover family cycling adventures in the Lake District with Cycle Sprog! Based in Kendal, they’re your expert guides to the best bike rides for all ages. Over the years, Cycle Sprog has learnt which routes are brilliant for a family day out and which are a little too hilly, long or busy for riding with children.

Exclusive to Herdwick Cottages blog page, you now have access to their top, expertise recommendations. So, saddle up and explore the beauty of the Lakes on two wheels!

You can find all their best family bike rides in the Lake District guide on Cycle Sprog’s website, but below are a few favourites that start close to many of our Cottages!


Lowther Castle nr Penrith:
  • Start point: Lowther Castle
  • Distance: Ranging from 1km to 15km
  • Age suitability: All ages, from balance bikes to mountain biking teens.
  • Bike hire: Arrogans Cycles

Lowther Castle is a brilliant place to visit with children if you are visiting the northern part of the Lake District. Not far from the M6, this would be a great place to visit at the start or end of your holiday, too, if you’re passing nearby.

Lowther Castle has miles of walking and cycling trails, free parking, a cafe, and grounds for children to explore. You can also pay to enter the gardens and adventure play area, which is worth the cost if your kids love slides, swings, and climbing castles!

There is a range of cycling trails, from balanced bike-friendly short loops to longer routes suitable for all ages, including trailer, tagalong, and teenager-friendly trails. You’ll find a mixture of quiet roads, hard-packed gravel trails, and a bit of mud, too! There are lots of interesting points to stop for a picnic with a good view or by a river.

The routes are well signposted, and all start at the castle entrance.

You can bring your own bikes, or bike hire is available through Arrogans Cycle hire, including children’s bikes, trailers and tagalongs.

View more info here | Properties Nearby


Keswick to Threlkeld cycle route
  • Start point: Keswick swimming pool
  • Distance: 5km
  • Age suitability: All ages, from balance bikes to independent cyclists.
  • Bike hire: Whinlatter bikes or E-venture bikes

The old railway that connected Keswick to Penrith has now been tarmacked and made into a wonderful traffic-free family cycling route between Keswick and Threlkeld.

This trail is mostly smooth and flat, with a slight uphill gradient towards Threlkeld, which means getting back to Keswick is a little quicker. The trail is popular with families, walkers, and runners and hosts the Keswick Park Run between 9 and 10 a.m. every Saturday—so make sure you avoid this unless you’re a runner!

The route has beautiful views of Blencathra and Skiddaw and the surrounding fells, as well as tunnels, bridges and spots to pull up next to the river for a play. There is a wonderful community-run cafe in Threlkeld, and usually, an ice cream van is en route.

Once you’re back in Keswick, if your little ones still have energy to spare, the Keswick pump track is brilliant fun!

View more info here | Properties Nearby


West Windermere Way
  • Start point: Bowness Nab- Windermere car ferry
  • Distance: 17km (but can be shortened)
  • Age suitability: Trailer, seat and tagalong are suitable as well as independent cyclists. Can also be shortened for little legs.
  • Bike hire: Windermere canoe and kayak

Starting with an exciting ferry crossing (£2.10 per bike) the trail is undulating along the lake shore but is suitable for trailers, balance bikes, tagalogs and little independent riders. It’s undulating, with a couple of short steep hills, so a tiny bit of walking might be required.

Head north along the cycle path towards Wray Castle. Along the route, there are plenty of places for a picnic or you can stop at the cafe, throw stones in the lake or even have a little paddle.

If you are looking for more excitement, there are lots of activities inside the castle, but admission is charged. Claife viewing station is near the ferry, which also offers some lovely off-bike entertainment.

The castle has a brilliant cafe, and views across Windermere, but if you do not make it that far then this route is still wonderful regardless of where you turn around.

If you’re in Windermere, there is a brilliant little pump track in Queens Park.

If you have younger kids who are keen balance bikers, or you want a shorter, flatter ride, the southern end of Windermere has a short section of gravel trail between Newby Bridge and Lakeside, which offers steam trains, aquariums and ice creams!

View more info here | Properties Nearby


  • Start point: Coniston boat launch carpark.
  • Distance: 5km
  • Age suitability: All ages, from balance bikes to independent cyclists, can be extended using roads and bridleways.
  • Bike hire: Coniston bike hire (adult only)

This cycling route along the Coniston shoreline is brilliant for all ages. From balance bikes to full family bike rides, trailers and tagalongs, it’s a beautiful ride sure to keep everyone happy!

It follows gravel trails and farm tracks out along the shore of the lake and returns along the same way, so you can turn around when little legs have had enough.

The route starts and finishes at the cafe and carpark at Coniston Boating Centre.

There is lots of options to stop and play at beaches and in woodland on the route, as well as watching the boats on the lake, stopping for ice cream and visit the museum in Coniston.

View more info here | Properties Nearby


Three rivers MTB
  • Start point: Staveley
  • Distance: 13km
  • Age suitability: Older independent cyclists who like mountain biking. Equal to red graded technically with a big hill.

A brilliant family-friendly Mountain Bike route. After climbing straight up a big hill, you get rewarded with a section of undulating single track- little legs might need to walk or pack a tow rope and lots of snacks! You quickly feel like you’re in the mountains and on a remote Lake District ride!

The 3 Rivers Bridleway descent is a mixture of grassy, gravel, hardpack, and rock. It is suitable for bikes with suspension or rigid bikes with big tyres and a can-do attitude!

As the name suggests, there are 3 rivers to cross, which adds some splashy fun to the ride!

Once you are back in Staveley, there are lots of options for post-ride treats, as well as a big bike shop and a couple of pubs!

View more info here | Properties Nearby


Grange promenade
  • Start point: Grange over sands/Arnside
  • Distance: 3km
  • Age suitability: Balance bike and little legs

Perfect smooth tarmac for balance bikers and younger kids along Grange Over Sands Promenade with brilliant views over the sea.

The park at Grange also has a brilliant duck pond and LOTS of ice cream shops, making it a wonderful family day out.

There is lots of parking in Grange, or you could get the train from Arnside and make it into a more adventurous day out. The train crosses Morecambe Bay in just over 5 minutes with fabulous views over the Lake District.

View more info here | Properties Nearby


We hope this overview of some of Cycle Sprog’s favourite routes in the Lake District inspires you to have some holiday adventures on two wheels.

The Lake District is hilly, with sections of bumpy trails, so be sure to pack lots of snacks, a puncture repair kit, and a map. Also, make sure the route you pick is suitable for your family and your bikes. If you cannot bring your own bikes, there are many options for bike hire in and around the Lake District.

And if this has got you inspired and you’re wondering how to get started cycling with your kids then Cycle Sprog has a whole host of family cycling advice and information to help you get riding with your family. 

Stacked photos

Join our flock

Let your property with us