The Lake District’s dramatic glacial landscape is a haven for walkers, cyclists, sailors and climbing enthusiasts. Only one body of water, Bassenthwaite, is actually a lake. The bigger bodies of water in the Lake District are generally named as a mere or water, while smaller ones are denoted by tarn. Some refer to Windermere as Lake Windermere, although that is not strictly correct. Well-known waters in the area besides Windermere include Brotherswater, Buttermere, Coniston, Derwentwater, Haweswater, Thirlmere, Ullswater and Wastwater, each of which has its own unique character and charm. Our favourite is Buttermere because the best walk in our opinion is over Red Pike and Haystacks.
Linthwaite House, with its convenient location alongside key transport links and close to all the major heritage attractions, is an ideal base from which to explore the Lake District and outlying areas.
Blackwell is one of England’s most important surviving houses from the turn of the 20th century. Designed by M. H. Baillie Scott between 1897 and 1900, it is a superb example of Arts and Crafts movement architecture. It occupies a stunning position overlooking Windermere and has recently been restored and opened to the public as a gallery for craft and applied arts. Opens February – December (check which dates – they vary each year) Open 7 days a week from 10.30am – 5.00 pm. In November, December, February & March closing time will be at 4.00pm. Run by the Lakeland Arts Trust which also operates the Abbot Hall Gallery in Kendal, hosting many groundbreaking art exhibitions.
The home of the Strickland family for over 760 years, the medieval castle was extended in Elizabethan times and has an exceptional series of oak-panelled interiors with intricately carved chimney-pieces and early oak furniture, culminating in the magnificent Inlaid Chamber. The castle is surrounded by handsome gardens which include a particularly imposing and beautiful rock garden. The estate has flower-rich limestone pasture and ancient woodland supporting numerous species of butterfly. Open until 31 October, Sunday – Thursday. House: 1pm – 5pm. Cafe, Shop & Gardens: 11am – 5pm. Estate: 9am – 5pm.
The Hall is a magnificent Elizabethan mansion built around a 13th century pele tower. It is the family home of the Bagots and contains a collection of Jacobean furniture, fine paintings, the earliest English patchwork and many beautiful objects. The world famous award winning gardens were laid out from 1694. The Topiary, beech hedges and colourful seasonal bedding create a stunning visual impact. Open until 10th October, Sunday – Thursday. Garden 10am – 5pm. House 12pm – 4.30pm, last admissions 4pm.
The home of John Ruskin from 1872 until his death in 1900. A poet, artist and critic, he was also a social revolutionary who challenged the moral foundations of 19th-century Britain. The house is filled with his drawings and watercolours, together with much of his original furniture, books and personal items. Open daily until end November: 10h30–17h00. Open Wednesday to Sunday from end November 2016 to mid-March 2017. Check website for details of opening times.
The home of Lord and Lady Cavendish, displaying grand architecture and furnishings. It has 25 acres of national award winning gardens; including water features, rare plants, trees and shrubs. The Annual Garden Festival is an event not to be missed: hosting displays many direct from Chelsea, to the wonderful Festival Show Gardens, to hundreds of quality Trade Exhibitors, the Floral Art Marquee, Fine Foods and Fine Crafts. Open until 3rd November, Sunday – Friday. Hall: 11am – 4pm. Gardens: 10.30am – 5.30pm. Gift Shop: 10.30-5.30pm.
Ancient oaks and the high enclosing walls of this delightful garden keep out the extremes of the Cumbrian climate, resulting in a spectacular display of shrubs, roses and herbaceous borders. Sheltered orchards contain a variety of traditional fruit trees and the famous herb garden is the largest collection of medicinal and culinary plants in the North. A circular woodland walk runs along Crowdundle Beck to Acorn Bank watermill, which although under restoration is open to visitors. Open 29 March – 2 November daily 10.00 – 17.00. Closed Tuesdays.