Family travel with flair

Review: Jumping in the trees with Windermere Treetop Nets

Treetop Nets Lake Windermere

Climbing on the nets, preparing to slide with plastic bags and in the Caterpillar slide

Kids can sometime drive us up a tree. I discovered on a recent trip to Cumbria that Treetop Nets at Lake Windermere is a great chance to return the favour.

This activity centre features actual nets strung up in the trees with walkways, tunnels and slides to play in. When fellow family traveller Kirstie from Family Adventure Project heard I was making the trek up to the area from London with two girls, Treetop Nets was one of her suggestions, as a variation on the high ropes experience, which we love but have done a number of times at various locations. Here, you are running around without guidelines, in the nets, which nets are bouncy, but space-walk buoyancy rather than trampoline-boingy.

I visited with my daughter and a friend of hers on a weekend trip to Cumbria. We were staying at the gorgeous Swan Hotel & Spa at Newby Bridge (see pictures and my full review here) and explored the area around Lake Windermere.

Where:

Treetop Nets is located in the Lake District Visitor Centre in Brockhole. A “visitor centre” can conjure the image of a basic hut with a few maps, a nice geriatric volunteer and a tea hut. Not so here.

 

Brockhole Visitor Centre

The delights of the visitor centre, including a selfie with a famous local celebrity

This is an all-singing, all-dancing visitor centre: Besides the Treetop Nets, there’s a high-ropes Treetop Trek adventure, a well-stocked café with ample seating serving hot soups, sandwiches and drinks (including herbal tea, yay!), an adventure playground and nature trail. You can hire canoes and kayaks, do archery, play mini-golf, ride ponies, wander the gardens or peruse the exhibition in the Visitor Centre.

Basically you race round, clamber into a vertical tunnel and climb down, and zoom down net “slides” in a durable plastic bag. In a way it’s hard to describe the kind of fun you get up to at Treetop Nets — it’s basically freeform jumping, running, climbing and horsing around but high in the trees.

skinny nets at Treetop Nets Windermere

A tight squeeze

 

nets at Treetop Nets Windermere

A view of the nets from the ground

 

girl smiling at Treetop Nets Windermere

Expect smiles like this one

 

people at Treetop Nets Windermere

Big exercise balls make for fun play

 

Adventure Playground at Brockhole, next to Treetop Nets

Younger kids will want to stop off at the adventure playground, too, just beside the nets

 

How to get there:

We drove up from Newby Bridge, which was a quick easy hop. There is a car park with paid parking. One of the coolest things about this visitor centre is you don’t only have the option of arriving by car; you can take a Windermere Lake Cruise boat and combine an hour in the treetops with some time on the water. A word to the wise if you do park in the lot, be careful of the speed bumps: My daughter’s takeaway cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows ended up all over her jeans and soaking into the seat thanks to her mother’s speedy approach to the exit.

There is also a location at Ripon, Yorkshire.

 

Areas for younger and older kids:

There’s an area specifically for younger children; if your child is under age 6 you need 1 participating adult for every 2 children. On our visit there were no younger children taking part, so our group — which included tweens, teens and adults — had run of the place. The grown-ups were shrieking and laughing just as hard, maybe harder, than the under-18s.
The rules for supervision vary according to children’s ages. Parents of children ages 7 to 11 can supervise from the ground onsite but are encouraged to take part. The parents of children aged 12 or over have to attend the safety briefing with their children but can retire to the cafe while the kids play, as long as they remain on-site at Brockhole.

 

What we thought: 

The more people involved, the better. It’s all about goofing off, being silly and frequently falling over in comic ways. “Sumo wrestling with the gym balls was really fun,” my own personal teen says. Pay attention in the safety briefing — it’s not just “don’t break your arm” advice; they provide helpful tips for the best way to go through the course, such as leveraging yourself down the vertical tunnel and going down the slides. A word to the wise: The “caterpillar” slide was an experience, but having to “wriggle out” at the bottom was less fun than expected. I had to drag the girls out by their feet.

Booking is recommended.

Tip:

Definitely wear a waterproof outfit — both trousers and top — if the weather is anything but bone dry. It had rained the night before we arrived and the nets themselves had absorbed enough water to leave them soaked. A spare set of clothes in the car were welcome.

Fun fact:

The nets are sewn by French ex-fisherman (those guys!) and used to help scientists study the Amazon rainforest, according to the Guardian.

Eating:

The cafe, as described, is a great option on the premises. We preferred to drive back into Bowness, where we had ambled back to the Old Pump House Coffee Shop and warmed ourselves with delicious soup and hot drinks.

The details

Treetop Nets
Brockhole
Windermere, Lake District, LA23 1LJ
01539 447186
www.treetopnets.co.uk

The Old Pump House Coffee Shop
Glebe Rd, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3HE
015394 47411
theoldpumphousebowness.weebly.com

 

Have you been to Treetop Nets or do you have other suggestions in the Lake Windermere area?

 

 

MummyTravels

 

14 Responses to “Review: Jumping in the trees with Windermere Treetop Nets”

  1. Oh dear – those speedbumps! Despite the soggy lap, this looks great fun. And less daunting than high rope challenges – I think I’d feel slightly less terrified with a net there, and rope handles to hold onto. #citytripping

    • Nell, it *is* really good fun. Plus, once you’ve been in, you can go grab a coffee/hot chocolate, then come back out. There is so much to do at Brockhole, you could turn it into an entire day’s outing.

  2. fun activity for sure! #citytripping

  3. Top tip from Kirstie, this looks fantastic fun

  4. That looks hilarious- I would definitely not be persuaded to stay on the ground. Good tips about spare clothes and those speed bumps: I can imagine hot chocolate was doubly welcome after the damp nets so doubly gutting to miss out! Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  5. This looks like a lot of fun! I may have to wait until my two are older but I wouldn’t say no to a cruise on Lake Windermere. The Lake District is on my travel wishlist for this year. #citytripping

  6. Looks like a lot of fun! You can get to Treetop Trek by boat on the Red Cruise from Bowness or Ambleside or the Green Cruise from Wray Castle (Easter-October). Hope this helps in planning your big Windermere day out!

  7. Oh this sounds excellent, definitely the sort of thing we’d do if we visited, love that young children can do it too, mine love climbing trees but often aren’t allowed to take part in this sort of thing.
    Nat.x

    • Plutonium, they’d love this then. First you do the Treetop Nets, then you have a play at the playground which is literally next door, then hot chocolate or a snack at the visitor centre. Perfect!

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