Langdle Pikes from Loughrigg

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 museum.

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Wordsworth House
Dove Cottage
Rydal Mount
Hawkshead Grammar School

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 Water.

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.

Find out more about Mirehouse here ...

Muncaster Castle

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 Lakeland.

Check 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.

Find out more about Blackwell here ...

Holehird Gardens

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.

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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.

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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 in all).

Discover more about Dalemain here ...

Holker Hall

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.

See 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.

Get more details about Hutton in the Forest here ...

Levens Hall

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.

Find out more about Levens Hall here

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