Last year we enjoyed our first walking holiday in the Lake District and loved it so much we have just returned from another break, but this time in Yorkshire.
We travelled with HF Holiday’s who specialise in walking holidays and have some fabulous Family Walking Holiday’s to choose from. Accommodation is in a country house setting, with all breakfasts & evening meals served at family-friendly times, plus you are provided with a tailored packed lunch for every walk.
There is a choice of up to four guided walks a day for all abilities with experienced and knowledgeable guides leading the way. The shortest walk is a dedicated family walk, which is perfect for little legs and is accompanied by a play leader and further walks progress up the scale by ability.
I will admit that our first walking holiday was a learning curve and we were not quite as prepared as we could be, so this year our motto was “be prepared” and we had a packing list of the essentials we needed to take.
What to pack for a walking holiday with kids
1. Hiking Boots
You will be walking over all kinds of terrain, from concrete paths to fields, uneven ground and even through streams. I highly recommend you invest in hiking boots with a good grip and waterproof ones are even better as the kids automatically radiate towards water. You don’t have to spend a fortune, ours came from Decathlon and Sebby’s were just £4.99 in the sale!!
2. Walking Socks
Walking socks are designed to keep you comfortable as you walk. The correct pair of hiking socks can keep your feet warm, or cool depending on the time of year you are walking and even prevent blisters.
We learned very quickly that getting wet during a walk can be a miserable experience, especially for the kids, so even if the weather forecast is good, take a lightweight set of waterproofs with you. (Trousers and jacket).
Of course you need to carry lunch, waterproofs and first aid supplies so it is important to be able to carry them comfortably, so I recommend you get one with a waist support and that lets air circulate around your back, as there is nothing worse than feeling hot and sticky. Get the kids their own ones too, not only can they help carry their own supplies, but they can use them to collect their treasure too!!
5. Water Bottle
It is vital to keep hydrated when out walking, so a good quality water bottle is a must. Some of the leaders had reservoir systems in their backpacks which meant they didn’t need to stop to have a drink, as the straw fed out and clipped on the shoulder strap and they could drink on the go.
6. A Jumper
We found the weather varied enormously, especially when climbing, and Microfleece is an ideal mid layer for kids, as it is lightweight and highly breathable. Warmth without weight is important, especially during active use, and fleece is ideal for keeping them warm without restricting their movement, plus it doesn’t take up much room in their backpack.
7. A Hat
To protect their eyes and scalp from the sun.
The weather can be very changeable and even if it is overcast, you can still catch the sun. My motto is; If the children are outside, ensure they are properly protected during this time with suncream. Apply before you leave and top up if necessary throughout the day.
9. Baby Wipes / Wet Wipes
I know there is a big furore about wet wipes at the moment, but they are invaluable on a day out with kids for mopping mucky hands and faces, especially when they accidentally roll in sheep poo *cough*.
10. Anti-Bac Gel
In the absence of hand washing facilities, carrying anti-bac gel is the next best thing as the kids just love to say ‘hello’ to various animals along the way.
11. First Aid Kit
When walking in remote areas it is essential that you carry a first aid kit and know how to use it.
As well as lunch, it is a good idea to pack some snacks to keep the kids motivated along the way. Ours loved the trail mix provided by HF Holiday’s which includes nuts, raisins, mini marshmallows and some M&M’s in each packet.
13. Insect Repellant
When walking near water, there are lots of midges so wearing an insect repellant is a must, particularly if they find you tasty!
To take pictures of the world in all its natural beauty, or capture the kids doing something silly.
Not essential, but nice to have items
1. Walking Poles
I am not going to lie, my husband hates them, however, I borrowed one on our trip and it was a revelation. They help to maintain balance and reduce the pressure on achy knees, feet and back and I certainly found it helped when climbing steep hills. They seem to motivate the kids to walk further too – which can only be a good thing, although they were happy with a good, old-fashioned stick.
We spotted a nesting Peregrine Falcon on our travels and having a set of binoculars allowed us to see it and its chicks more clearly.
3. Investigation Pots
Great for nature hunts and investigating your finds along the way.
4. Paint Colour Charts
Make a trip to your local DIY shop and pick up come of their paint colour charts. These are perfect to motivate the kids by getting them to find the different colours in the charts along the walks.
Have you done a walking holiday or go walking with the kids – what is your ‘must-have’ item?