Top 14 places for a Swallows and Amazons adventure

Many of our places in the Lake District appear in the new big screen adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons, in cinemas August 19. To celebrate we’ve picked some of our favourite places for a Swallows and Amazons adventure. They’re perfect for family wild time, and great for experiencing some of our 50 things to do before you’re 11 ¾

Steam Yacht Gondola with steam

Explore Ransome’s ‘imaginary’ lake aboard the Steam Yacht Gondola, Cumbria

It’s arguably the ‘real’ Captain Flint’s houseboat, so hop aboard and puff your way around Coniston Water looking out for the places which inspired Arthur Ransome to write his world famous story. Take a full lake cruise to spot the secret harbour at Wild Cat Island and the Swallows and Amazons boathouses, amidst the backdrop of the mountain which inspired ‘Kanchenjunga’.

Looking down to Barafundle Bay from coast path

Track wild animals at Stackpole, Pembrokeshire

With lakes, woods, beaches, dunes and cliffs, Stackpole is an internationally important nature reserve. The lakes were created over 200 years ago and are where the secretive otters hang out, so don’t forget to pack your binoculars.

Girl jumping over waves

Jump over waves at Compton Bay, Isle of Wight

Compton Bay is a great spot: not too crowded, but with beautiful views towards Dorset and plenty of firm sand for building sandcastles. What’s more, the tide doesn’t go out too far so it’s a great place for little ones to try swimming in the sea.

Children playing at Hoe Fen, Anglesey Abbey

Climb a tree at Anglesey Abbey, Cambridgeshire  

Head into the woods in the grounds of Anglesey Abbey and you'll soon spot the Lime Tree Lookout. This giant two-storey treehouse offers great views through the trees. Find the story telling circle and tell your friends a tale. You can also relax in a hammock, build a den or create a piece of wild art.

Children looking into the stream at Mottisfont

Dam a stream at Mottisfont

Ancient trees, bubbling brooks and rolling lawns frame this lovely old house. In the wild play areas take on the boggy climbing area, attempt to balance on snaky beams and dam the stream in the wild pool.

Visitor watching deer on Brownsea Island, Dorset.

Track wild animals on Brownsea Island, Dorset

With its links to the Scout movement, thriving natural habitats Brownsea Island is made for adventure. Look for the rare red squirrel, Sika Deer and a wide variety of birds, including kingfishers and oystercatchers.

Janet's Foss waterfall at Malham, Yorkshire Dales

Crashing waterfalls at the Malham Tarn Estate, North Yorkshire

The waterfall at Janet’s Foss, hidden in a leafy glade is a magical place to visit, only a short walk from Malham village. Somewhat uneven and rocky towards the end, this walk provides that little bit of excitement to tempt the kids. The secret cave, behind this waterfall is said to be home to Janet, Queen of the Fairies, so keep your eyes peeled.

Climbing an outcrop on the Malham Tarn Estate, in the Yorkshire Dales.

Scrambling over rocks at Longshaw, Derbyshire

Longshaw and the Eastern moors are home to some of the most famous crags and boulders in the country. Whether you try scrambling on the boulders around Longshaw (please take care), or sign up to one of our family climbing sessions led by professional guides, Longshaw’s a great place to try climbing

Children sitting in the grass with barefeet

Barefoot walking at Godolphin, Cornwall

At Godolphin, an ancient and atmospheric estate near Helston on the Lizard peninsula you can experience our first ever dedicated barefoot trail. Here your feet can feel everything from smooth slate, to tickly fir cones, the balancing log and soft sand. In fact there are over twenty textures to explore. All you have to do is follow the foot print signs.

Child enjoying climbing a tree

Tree climbing and zip wiring at Wray Castle, Cumbria

Take the boat across Lake Windermere to this amazing lakeshore castle, then spend a day running wild in its grounds. Our rangers will take you high tree climbing, zip wiring, mini-raft building and barefoot walking. If there’s time to spare, take a trip to our very own, brand-new secret treehouse (tree-castle in fact) in the woods.

Man holding a crab in front of boy over pockpool

Catch a crab at Embleton Bay, Northumberland

With the backdrop of ruined Dunstanburgh Castle, this fine sandy beach is one of the most spectacular in England. At low tide hunt for starfish, sea anemones and crabs in the rock pools - with the right bait and piece of string it’s easier than you think.

A family enjoying a trip in a rowing boat, Fell Foot Park, Cumbria

Take to the water at Fell Foot, Cumbria

If you want to take to the water, you can hire one of Fell Foot’s four-seater rowing boats and spend a relaxing hour or two exploring Lake Windermere and the River Leven. Take in the beauty of the lake and enjoy uninterrupted views of the surrounding fells. Boats can be hired from Boathouse Café.

Child rock pooling at Porthdinllaen, Llŷn Peninsula

Rockpooling at Porthdinllaen, Gwynedd

Once one of North Wales’ busiest ports, these days Porthdinllaen is a peaceful little fishing village perched on a spit of land that stretches into the Irish Sea. The clear, sheltered waters and seagrass beds attract a wealth of wildlife that you can search for in the rockpools, including anemones, crabs, fish and jellyfish.

Pine marten on a woodland branch

Wildlife spotting at Crom, Co. Fermanagh

You haven’t truly experienced Crom until you have taken a boat trip on Lough Erne. There is no feeling quite like sailing down the Lough, stopping off at an island or two. As well as bats, wading birds, pine martens and red squirrels; it also has one of the UK's largest populations of otters, so keep your eyes peeled.

High Strawberry Gardens

Win a Swallows and Amazons holiday adventure 

To celebrate the release of Swallows & Amazons, in cinemas August 19, we’ve teamed up with Visit England to offer the chance to win a stay at any one of our holiday cottages, up to the value of £500.