Whinlatter Forest is a Forestry Commission managed centre nestled deep in Cumbria a short distance west of Keswick. It is labelled as Englands only true mountain forest, and offers a host of family orientated activities to keep everyone amused for an action packed day out.
The day of our visit it was a gloomy, damp typical day in the lakes, and we were concerned the rain would dampen small spirits, but thankfully there was many distractions for that to be the case.
After paying and displaying we checked out the shop and got the low down on the ‘Wildplay’ trail – 9 zones of different activities in the trees designed for kids. With ages 2 and 5 covered, the trail was fantastic, with bridges, slides, carvings, play areas, construction zones, water play, climbing wall and much more, we spent a good couple of hours flitting between the different sections. Even in the rain there was enough to entertain.
The Elf/Fairy houses carved into wooden mushrooms fascinated both the smalls, and eventually we dragged them away for a picnic. The cafe was good, with a good range of hot and cold food, and we perched on a picnic table on the large decking area to fuel up.
Post lunch we decided to go Gruffalo hunting on the Gruffalo trail, which also shared much of it’s route with the Superworm Trail. It was quite lengthy and would have been pretty tricky with a pushchair with some windy, steep and loose surfaces, but we powered on spotting the characters from the book along the way. The beast in question was finally found, and many photos ensued, and we were impressed by the size and authenticity of the wooden incarnation! The return to the Visitors Centre was much shorter and we buzzed down there for some more of the Wildplay stuff.
For those sans children, Whinlatter offers all sorts, Segway rides, Go Ape, walking and running trails, as well as a ‘blue’ and ‘red’ graded mountain bike routes. Be warned though, the blue whilst aimed at beginners didn’t seem suitable for families with trailers etc. With the terrain being fairly hilly, there were no way-marked green family routes. The bike shop, Cyclewise offers bike hire, sales, workshop, courses and schools experiences.
Overall we had a great day out, and would recommend it to anyone visiting.
Get the low down from 5 year old small:
“I liked all of it! The thing I liked the most was the massive massive slide that mummy couldn’t get down because she was too big and the slide was a bit wet which made it sticky. Little bro like the water thingy the most and the little doors in the trees where he thinks elves live. There is a Gruffalo and a Superworm trail. I thought the walk to find the Gruffalo was too long for me but I did like seeing the Gruffalo because it looked real but it wasn’t real like in the story. I would definitely tell my friends to go here.”