Windermere LA23 1LJ, UK
Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre
The Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre, also known as the Brockhole National Park Visitor Centre, is a visitor centre and tourist attraction managed by the Lake District National Park Authority. It is situated on the shore of Lake Windermere, roughly equidistant between the towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Ambleside.
Entrance to the centre and its grounds is free of charge, although a charge is made for car parking. The centre is situated off the A591 road between Windermere and Ambleside. Stagecoach bus routes 555 (Lancaster to Keswick) and 599 (Bowness-on-Windermere to Grasmere) stop outside the centre. Both these routes also serve Windermere railway station.
Activities include boat hire, archery, bike hire, mini golf, adventure playground, treetop trek, soft play area and many more. There is a cafe and gift shop, as well as Thomas Mawson designed Arts and Craft gardens and grounds.
Town End, Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9SH
Dove Cottage & William Wordsworth Museum
In 1799, William Wordsworth fell in love with Dove Cottage and Grasmere whilst on a walking tour of the Lake District. Within a few months, he had set up home here in the hamlet of Town End with his sister Dorothy. It was whilst living here that Wordsworth produced the most famous and best-loved of his poems and Dorothy wrote her fascinating Grasmere journal.
An entertaining guided tour of Dove Cottage gives a vivid impression of what day-to-day life would have been like for Wordsworth and his family. This traditional Lakeland cottage, still filled with the Wordsworths’ personal possessions and warmed by glowing coal fires, creates an atmosphere that William and Dorothy would recognise as the place where they spent many years of ‘plain living and high thinking’.
Cark, Grange-over-Sands LA11 7PL, UK
Holker Hall & Gardens
Holker is the home of Lucy Cavendish and her husband Tor McLaren who extend a warm welcome to all visitors. Magnificently situated only a short distance from Grange-over-Sands and the expanse of Morecambe Bay, the Estate is set in exceptionally beautiful countryside with gardens that merge into parkland, framed by the Lakeland Hills.
Holker Hall, has never been bought or sold but passed by inheritance through just three families: the Prestons, the Lowthers and the Cavendishes, with each generation leaving its impression by either altering the landscape or by changing the house by adding, refacing, embellishing or even rebuilding, as happened to the New Wing after the disastrous fire of 1871.
The gardens at Holker have evolved over many hundreds of years, under the guidance of generations of the Cavendish Family. Each owner has made their mark, adding new features and plantings, to create a garden that is now rich in character and beauty. At its heart, it remains a family garden and while its scale is grand, it retains an intimacy in its planting and design.
The 23 acres of immaculately kept gardens comprise of a series of formal gardens set within a more informal landscape of interesting trees, shrubs and meadows. They are planted to offer year round inspiration for casual visitors and keen gardeners alike. The spring is a riot of colour with displays of tulips, daffodils, wallflowers and spring meadows, framed by majestic Rhododendrons and Magnolias. Summer brings billowing borders packed with colour and exciting tender plants, and wonderful summer flowering trees such as Styrax, Stewartia and Eucryphia. Autumn brings its own show in the stunning autumn colours across the gardens.
Much of the gardens you see today, were developed by Lord & Lady Cavendish over the last 40 years. They are a credit to their eye for detail, sense of fun and love of exotic plants, which they have brought together to give the garden its unique character.
Lowther, Penrith CA10 2HH, UK
Lowther Castle & Gardens
Of the many treasures waiting to be discovered in the English Lake District, Lowther Castle is a particular gem. Built at the turn of the 19th century, on the site of two previous houses, the castle was a grand affair boasting a room for every day of the year. Its gardens were the envy of the north. But in 1957 the castle was demolished. Just the façade and outer walls remained standing and for over half a century, the place was empty – home only to chickens, pigs and the odd bat. The gardens were lost to wilderness.
Seventy years on from its demolition, Lowther Castle is now one of the most intriguing visitor attractions in the country. Indeed it was voted Large Visitor Attraction of the Year 2018 in the Cumbria Tourism Awards.
Dramatic ruins, gardens within gardens, an adventure playground to rival the best in the land. For visitors young and old (and four-legged), Lowther Castle offers plenty to enjoy.
Lowther Castle is full of stories. Many of these are told in the exhibition, the Story of Lowther. And if you go exploring, through the ruins, through the gardens and woodland, you will find plenty more food for the imagination. The same family has lived here for 850 years and you can see and hear their echoes.
Meanwhile, if the younger members of your team wish to make their own stories, then seek out 'The Lost Castle, one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds. And when all of you are ready for a rest, you can retreat to the café and have some delicious food, before taking to the gift shop and indulging in one last treat.
Near Sawrey, Ambleside LA22 0LF
National Trust Hill Top
Hill Top is a 17th-century house in Near Sawrey near Hawkshead, in the English county of Cumbria. It is an example of Lakeland vernacular architecture with random stone walls and slate roof. The house was once the home of children's author and illustrator Beatrix Potter who left it to the National Trust.
Enjoy the tale 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. Make your way up the garden path to the front door and see for yourself why Beatrix loved this place. Bought in 1905 with proceeds from her first book, the Tale of Peter Rabbit, she used Hill Top itself and the surrounding countryside as inspiration for many of her subsequent books.
Hill Top is a small house and a timed-ticket system is in operation to avoid overcrowding and to protect the interior. Hill Top can be very busy and visitors may sometimes have to wait to enter the house.
Ambleside (Waterhead Pier) - Windermere Lake Cruises Ltd, Waterhead, UK
Windermere Lake Cruises
A trip on the lake with Windermere Lake Cruises will transport you among amazing scenery. You will pass small islands, secluded bays and experience the grandeur of the scenery.
Most cruises usually vary in length from 45 minutes to 3 hours. You can even spend all day on and around the lake with the Freedom of the Lake ticket.
Windermere Lakes Cruises set sail from popular destinations including; Bowness, Ambleside and Lakeside. Parking is available nearby at these locations. Please see their website for more detailed information about all the drop off and pick up points.
Crag Brow, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere LA23 3BX, UK
The World of Beatrix Potter Attraction
The Lake District’s natural beauty and abundant wildlife inspired Beatrix Potter to write her much-loved stories. Come and explore this wonderful landscape where the tales are brought to life.
Allow 45 minutes to one hour to enjoy your walk-through self-guided tour of the exhibition & garden, and a little longer to include time to browse in the shop and have a delicious treat in the Tea Room.