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Inspiring places to visit

The great houses, traditional buildings, beautiful gardens and industrial landmarks that bring Lakeland’s past back to life

The Lake District’s landscape has inspired many of the world’s great artists and writers. But it’s also surprising to remember that the early industrial revolution began in Lake District’s coppices and mines, and that many parts of its towns and villages were built for rich industrialists and factory workers to holiday in.

Here are a few of our favourite Lakeland places that bring this rich heritage back to life, and which have inspired us too.

Great Houses

blackwell

Blackwell

Britain's finest Arts & Crafts Movement house was designed in 1898 by Hugh Bailey Scott as a holiday retreat for the Holt Manchester brewing family. The interiors are a rich blend of beautiful carved oak panelling, plasterwork, painted tiles, stone arches, stained-glass galleries, and painted silk wall coverings. Colours, patterns and textures change from room to room, blending with each other, and with the superb views across Lake Windermere. There's a shop with a good selection of Arts and Crafts books, a small exhibition area, and a stylish tea room with a terrace overlooking the lake. Blackwell is a favourite with our own family visitors – we've been dozens of times, and we always love it.

  • About 15-minutes drive from Fellside Studios, about a mile south of Bowness, just off the A5074.
  • Admission: £8.50 adults, children free.
  • Open every day from 10.30am to 5pm (4pm in winter).
  • Tel 015394 46139.
  • Web: www.blackwell.org.uk


brantwood

Ruskin's Brantwood

Ruskin was an artist, writer and thinker who changed our world. His ideas influenced Tolstoy and Ghandi, and his art inspired William Morris and Frank Lloyd Wright. So it's no surprise that his home for the second half of his life should have a resonance to still affect us all. Set in newly-restored gardens looking across Coniston, Brantwood allows us to experience Ruskin's art and words in the rooms where he lived and worked. We love everything here: the house, the exhibits, the wonderful gardens, the magnificent views, and Jumping Jenny's café.

  • East side of Coniston Water, 2 miles from Coniston, off B5285 towards Hawkshead.
  • Admission charges £5.75 adults to house and gardens, £4.00 adults to gardens only.
  • Open every day, 10.30am to 5pm (4pm in winter).
  • Tel: 015394 41396.
  • Web: www.brantwood.org.uk


Inspirational Cottages

hilltop

Beatrix Potter's Hilltop, near Sawrey

Beatrix Potter faithfully copied the interiors of many traditional Lakeland farms and cottages as the basis for her children's book illustrations, and here you can see her own original farmhouse that she lovingly restored and worked on for almost 40 years. It's now a shrine to Beatrix Potter – but one that she set up for herself, with all her treasured possessions preserved exactly as she wished. Only six rooms, but a great deal to see: carved oak furniture, china, local paintings, William Morris wallpaper, and even the dolls house that appears in The Tale of Two Bad Mice.

  • Follow signs from Hawkshead village, on B5285, about 5 miles from Ambleside, or take the ferry across Windermere.
  • Open April to end of October, 10.30am to 4.30pm Saturday to Wednesday only.
  • Admission: Adult £9.50, children £4.75, and families £23.75
  • Very busy at times. You can't book, but you can buy timed tickets on the day.
  • Tel: 015394 36269.
  • Web: www.nationaltrust.org.uk

dove-cottage

Wordsworth's Dove Cottage, Grasmere

The simple and tiny cottage where William Wordsworth lived with his sister Dorothy from 1799 to 1808, and where he wrote much of his greatest poetry. A truly magical place. Can be very busy in summer – next door is the Wordsworth Museum and Jerwood Centre, a modern extension with a terrific exhibition and events program reflecting the Lake District's major significance in English poetry and literature.

  • About a 20-minute drive from Fellside Studios (or a good afternoon's walk!)
  • At the entrance to Grasmere village on A591 Ambleside to Keswick road.
  • Open every day, all year, 9.30am to 5pm in summer, 9.30am to 4pm in winter .
  • Admission: £7.50 adult, £4.25 child with discounts for families – can be booked online.
  • Click here for details of The Wordsworth Trust's exhibition and events programme.
  • Tel: 015394 35544.
  • Web: www.wordsworth.org.uk

Beautiful Gardens

holehird-gate

Holehird Gardens, Troutbeck

A secluded delight, with breathtaking views across Windermere and the Southern Fells, quietly situated just off the Patterdale Road about a half hour walk from Fellside Studios. There's a classic walled garden, several Victorian alpine glasshouses, a pond, a cascade and a tarn, and countless (carefully labelled) varieties of shrubs, flowers and trees, including several National Collections – all maintained by volunteers. There's absolutely nowhere else like it. It's open all hours, every day of the year. It's completely free, just a donation box, and it's often blissfully quiet.

  • Signed entrance off the A592 towards Windermere, about 1 mile from Fellside Studios.
  • There's a protected footpath all the way from Fellside Studios, alongside the A592 (see our walking map), and there's also a small car park.
  • Free admission, and always open.
  • Web: www.holehirdgardens.org.uk

holker-hall-fountain

Holker Hall Gardens, near Cartmell

One of Britain's greatest gardens. Over 25 acres of still evolving, and beautifully maintained formal gardens, set in 200 acres of open parkland. Lovely fountains, fascinating Victorian garden layouts, breathtaking colours (especially in May), a lovely new wildflower meadow and labyrinth, and of course the magnificent Holker Great Lime tree (an awe-inspiring 7.9 metres in girth). You can also visit Holker Hall or its Motor Museum, but we'd more highly recommend the excellent tea room and restaurant.

  • A bit over an hour's drive from Fellside, alongside Windermere on the A592, left onto the A590, then watch out for brown and white signs.
  • Open Wednesday to Sunday, mid-March to the end of October, 10.30am - 5pm.
  • Tel: 015395 58328.
  • Web: www.holker.co.uk

Lakeland Life and Industrial Heritage

museum-of-lakeland-life

The Museum of Lakeland Life

Off the beaten track in Kendal, but well worth a visit, this little museum gives a vivid insight into Lakeland's past. Recreated Lakeland farmhouse rooms and workshops reveal how rural people lived and worked, and how different life was before machines replaced labourers and craftspeople. There are fascinating displays of Arts and Crafts cottage industries, including Langdale Linen, Ruskin Lace, the Keswick School of Industrial Arts, and (Brian's favourite) Stanley Davies furniture. Next door is Abbot Hall, one of Britain's best small art galleries, specialising in painters with Lake District connections, including Romney, Ruskin and Turner.

  • Enter Kendal from the south exit off the A591, follow the one way system, and just past Kendal Parish Church turn right into a car park signposted Abbot Hall.
  • Open Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5pm (4pm in winter). Sundays in summer 12 to 4pm
  • Admission £5 adults, children free.
  • Tel: 01539 722464.
  • Web: www.lakelandmuseum.org.uk

duddon-ironworks

Duddon Ironworks

Also off the beaten track (about an hour's drive from Fellside Studios) this recently restored site is apparently the world's most complete surviving example of a charcoal-fired blast furnace. From 1736 to 1866 it used vast quantities of local charcoal from Furness coppice forests to produce pig iron for ship's anchors in Bristol. Now a peaceful and beautiful place, but once at the very heart of the Industrial Revolution.

  • 1 mile north west of Broughton-in-Furness just off the A595 at Duddon Bridge.
  • Turn right off A595 immediately after bridge over Duddon river, park at lay-by and follow signs.
  • Entrance is free, open all day.
  • Download the excellent LDNP leaflet Mines, Mills and Quarries for more information about the Lake District's industrial past.

stott-park

Stott Park Bobbin Mill

Another reminder of the Lake District's industrial life just 200 years ago. Follow the progress of local coppiced wood on guided tours though this working bobbin mill, one of many in this area which supplied the Lancashire cotton industry in the 19th century.

  • On west side of Lake Windermere, 1 mile north of Newby Bridge.
  • Entrance charges £6.80 adults, £4 children. Open 10am to 5pm daily from April to end September.
  • Tel: 015395-31087.
  • Web: www.english-heritage.org.uk

blackwell-fireplace

A beautiful Arts & Crafts inglenook at Blackwell

wordsworth-portrait

The Wordsworth Trust runs arts events all year – everything from day courses to open-mic poetry evenings

magnolia

The Magnolias at Holehird Gardens are amazing in May

we're highly recommended

Monica & Brian Liddell
Fellside House, Troutbeck, near Windermere, Cumbria LA23 1NN, England
Tel: 015394 34000
Email: brian[at]fellsidestudios.co.uk

we're highly recommended