Situated just behind the pub is Hilltop. Enjoy the tales of Beatrix Potter by visiting Hill Top. Full of her favourite things, this house appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk. Every room contains a reference to a picture in a 'tale'. The lovely cottage garden is a haphazard mix of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead
Step inside this charming old building to enjoy an exhibition of Beatrix Potter's original drawings and watercolours. The building itself is interesting in that it was the former office of her husband, William Heelis.
This Mock-Gothic castle sits on the shores of Lake Windermere with turrets, towers and informal grounds. Wray Castle came to the National Trust without its contents so you will not see a 'typical' house full of paintings, furniture and antiques with an accompanying owner-family history through the ages. What you will see is a 'tired' but fascinating building with hints of its ‘grand’ past and plenty of signs of its varied history (a history that shows in its fixtures and fittings right up to the 1990s, including numbers on room doors and institutional paint-schemes).
Windermere Lake Cruisers
The largest of all the lakes. Cruises run throughout the year, from Waterhead, (Ambleside), Bowness and Lakeside at the Southern end of the lake.
Esthwaite Water is a varied fishery with deep basins and shallow bays. It is a glacial lake set in the Silurian hills of the Lake District. The lake is stocked weekly during the season; it is perfect for pike fishing, roach fishing, coarse fishing and trout fishing. www.hawksheadtrout.co.uk
Grizedale Forest is just 3 miles from Hawkshead, and is well worth a visit. There is a Visitor centre from where guided trails lead to various parts of the forest. Amongst the highlights on these trails are some superb and often unexpected view points, and a number of unique woodland sculptures, some of which can be played like musical instruments. There are also a number of cycle trails and cycle hire is available at the visitor centre.
Go Ape - Swing through the trees at Grizedale or Whinlatter (Keswick).
Few regions of England have a literary heritage that is as rich and varied as that of the Lake District. Writers, poets and artists have long been attracted to the area, and the most famous of these, William Wordsworth, was born at Cockermouth, lived for a short time in Penrith, was schooled in Hawkshead, and for much of his life lived at Grasmere and Rydal.
Consequently there are a large number of sites with direct links to William Wordsworth, and following the Wordsworth trail could take up an entire holiday. His birthplace in Cockermouth, the Grammar School in Hawkshead, and his homes at Dove Cottage, (Grasmere) and Rydal Mount are all open to the public.
Also visit Moss Eccles Tarn a short walk from Near Sawrey and one of Beatrix Potter's favorite places.
John Ruskin, the artist, writer and critic lived for the latter part of his life at Brantwood, which stands on the East Side of Coniston water. The house is now open to the public, and well worth a visit.
Here you can cruise in style on board the world's oldest steam operated yacht, The Gondola. Built in 1860, this fine vessel cruises sedately across Coniston Water, from Coniston village to the East side of the Lake. Here, passengers may disembark to enjoy a walk, or visit Brantwood, the home of the artist John Ruskin. The views from the east side of Coniston are among the finest in the world.
More Places to Visit
There are tigers in South Lakeland, at the South Lakes Wild Animal Park.
If stepping back in time to re-live boyhood memories of days gone by is your idea of bliss, then a steam train ride is probably right up your street. You'll be on the right track in South Lakeland, at the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway, which boasts the oldest preserved steam loco in the world still able to pull a train.
At Ravenglass there is the world's smallest regular passenger railway. The Ravenglass and Eskdale railway serves the communities of the Eskdale Valley, and runs on 15 in gauge track. The seven mile journey from the coast to the foot of England's highest mountains takes about 35 minutes.
The Romans occupied the Lake District for 400 years, and left many landmarks for modern day tourists to visit, including one of the world's most famous historical sites :- Hadrian's Wall. The wall started close to Carlisle, and it's remains at Birdoswald are easily accessible from the Lake District.
Closer to Hawkshead, the Roman fort at Galava, (Ambleside), is still visible today, as are traces of the Roman road that led from Ambleside to Ravenglass. Hardknott Fort is situated at the top of Hardknott pass, the old road from Ambleside to Ravenglass, and at Ravenglass itself are the very well preserved remains of a Roman bath house.
The Lakeland of 200 years ago was a very different place to that which we know today. Tourism, the regions major industry, did not really exist in an economically viable form, and the inhabitants of the region worked the land and the forests in order to make ends meet. Mining was a major industry, with towns such as Keswick and Coniston being major mining centres. The Fells around Coniston are littered with old mine shafts, remnants of the days when Copper ore was mined from these hills in vast quantities. At Threlkeld, just outside Keswick, is a mining museum that provides a unique insight into this long gone industry.
Woodland industries were also prominent, and 5 miles from Hawkshead is Stott Park Bobbin Mill, which was fully operational until the 1960's, and is now a living museum.
There are many large houses in Lakeland, each with it's own family history. Two of the most interesting are Holker Hall, home of the Cavendish family. As well as the house, you can also visit the gardens, and the hall includes the world famous Lakeland Motor museum.
Muncaster Castle, close to Ravenglass, is reputed to be England's most haunted castle. It is open to the public daily, as are the adjoining garden centre, and Owl Centre, which is worth the admission fee in it's own right.
For many visitors Ullswater is the finest of all the lakes, and the views from the Ullswater steamers are excellent. Cruises run throughout the summer and at limited periods during the winter and spring. Boats leave from Glenridding, at the Southern end of the Lake, and cruise to Pooley Bridge, at the northern end.