Fine Houses, Beautiful Gardens
The rich cultural and literary heritage
of the Lake District has provided a legacy of fine houses for
the modern visitor to enjoy.
The Wordsworth Connection
William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth,
went to school in Hawkshead, and spent much of his adult life
living first in Grasmere and then at Rydal. His birthplace in
Cockermouth and two of his homes in the Lake District, Dove Cottage
and Rydal Mount, are open to the public, whilst Hawkshead Grammar
School where he was educated is now a small but very interesting
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Rydal Mount, Wordsworth's last home, also
has extensive gardens laid out by him and now maintained in his
style by head Gardener Helen Green. They are well worth a visit.
John Ruskin was a once described as the
Father of Modern Britain, Ruskin was the most influential
social commentator of the Victorian age. An art critic, teacher,
poet, writer and educational philanthropist, his ideas inspired
the Arts and Crafts Movement and the founding of the National
Trust. When he died in 1900, at the age of 81, he left behind
him collected writings that stretch to nearly 40 volumes, thousands
of drawings and water-colours and a legacy of influence that is
felt to this day. Much of his work is on display at his former
home, Brantwood, which overlooks the eastern shore of Coniston
Brantwood has extensive gardens that are
also open to the public.
Get more informatjon about Brantwood here...
Overlooking the northern shore of Bassenthwaite
Lake is Mirehouse, a large 17th century house and associated gardens
and parkland owned by the Spedding family. The house has many
literary connections and is well worth a visit. It is situated
opposite Dodd Wood, breeding ground of the Lake District's only
pair of Ospreys.
out more about Mirehouse here ...
If you like your stately homes to have character
as well as history then Muncaster Castle is the place to for you.
A wonderful old house that is reputed to be one of the most haunted
in the country, with fine furniture and more than it's fair share
of character. However, there is much more to Muncaster than just
the house. Magnificent gardens, wild trails, the world famous
Owl Centre and Meet the Bird flying displays are all
available throughout much of the year. Add to that a superb calendar
of special events, including the annual Festival of Fools, and
you have one of the finest "must see" attractions in
out the Muncaster Castle web site here ...
Blackwell Arts and Crafts house
If you are a follower of the Arts and Crafts
movement then you will love Blackwell. Wonderfully situated overlooking
Windermere Lake, and designed by Mackay Hugh Baille Scott between
1898 and 1900, the building was occupied by a private school for
girls for many years. It has now been fully restored to it's former
glory, and is open for the public to admire and enjoy.
out more about Blackwell here ...
Holehird is run by volunteers of the Lakeland
Horticultural Society. It stands on 5 acres on the slopes of the
Troutbeck Valley, near Windermere, and enjoys stunning views of
the Lakeland Mountains. It features a wide variety of plants and
habitats, all of which are designed to thrive in the Lake District
Climate. It is open all year round, and is particularly stunning
in early summer.
more details about Holehird here ...
Not far from Holehird, on the opposite side
of the Troutbeck Valley, is Townend, a 16th Century Yeoman Farmers
house that has been the home of the Browne family for four centuries.
Owned by the National Trust, the idea of Townend is to show how
an ordinary Yeoman farmer and his family may have lived and worked
in the past. Unlike many of the region's stately homes there is
no fine antique furniture or rare showcase ornaments. However,
there is an honesty and integrity about Townend that is heartwarming.
more information about Townend here ...
Owned by the same family since the 1670's
Dalemain has a Georgian feel to it, but is actually much older.
The house is only partly open to the public as it is still a family
home. The Norman pele tower contains the regimental collection
of the Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry, whilst the Great Barn
pays homage to the those that created their wealth by tending
the land with a display of agricultural implements. There is also
a small Fell Pony Museum.
The gardens cover 5-acres close to the shores
of Ullswater and are amongst the most stunning in the Lakes, the
highlight being the extensive displays of roses. (some 200 varieties
more about Dalemain here ...
Situated at Cark in Cartmel, on the Cartmel
peninsula, Holker is the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish. Not
only does the house feature a fine array of furnishings, but the
extensive gardens are a joy to behold, and beautifully maintained.
In Spring Holker holds it's annual Garden
Festival, which has become one of the most important events in
the Lake District calendar.
the Holker Hall Web site here ...
Hutton in the Forest
Formerly a Medieval Pele tower, Hutton in
the Forest is, as the name suggests, situated within Inglewood
Forest, just to the north of Penrith. It is the home of Lord and
Lady Inglewood. The house is renowned for it's collections of
furniture, ceramics, tapestry and portraits.
The gardens are equally impressive, with
the terraced Topiary garden being the high point.
more details about Hutton in the Forest here ...
Levens Hall is another stately home that
started life as a Medieval Pele tower. Home of the Bagot family,
the house is set in several acres of parkland beside the River
Kent close to the small town of Milnethorpe. The main feature
inside the house is the fine paneling and plasterwork complimented
by superb examples of period furniture and leather wall coverings.
The Gardens feature one of the world's oldest
topiary gardens. It dates back to the latter years of the 17th
century. The associated parkland has a riverside walk and the
chance to spot the rare breed of Black deer that live there. Unfortunately,
Levens Hall is only open throughout the summer months.
out more about Levens Hall here
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