Culture – arts and history

These are just some ideas for places to visit in the southern Lake District.

Stately homes and historic houses

Sizergh Castle (National Trust) is within easy walking distance, as is Levens Hall. Holker Hall is a 20 minute drive away.

Other historic houses within easy reach include Beatrix Potter’s farm at Hill Top (NT), Wray Castle (NT), the Townend historic house (NT), and John Ruskin’s house at Brantwood.

Wordsworth’s house at Dove Cottage, just outside Grasmere, is open, and is part of a museum. You can also visit the house at Rydal Mount where he lived later in life.


Blackwell is an example of the Arts & Crafts movement. Abbot Hall, in Kendal, hosts art exhibitions and displays.

For performing arts, there is The Brewery in Kendal, with theatre, music and a cinema. There is also a cinema at Zeffirellis in Ambleside.


The Lakeland Motor Museum is at the foot of Lake Windermere, only a short drive from the cottage. Almost next door is the Lakes Aquarium and Stott Park Bobbin Mill (English Heritage).

In Kendal there is the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry. The Ruskin Museum in Coniston is not just about John Ruskin, but also tells the story of Arthur Ransome (author of the Swallows and Amazons books) and Donald Campbell and his water speed record attempts. And not far from Coniston is Hawkshead, with the Beatrix Potter Gallery (NT) displaying some of her original artwork and more of her story – an ideal place to visit in combination with Hill Top farm.

On a slightly different note, Stan Laurel, of Laurel and Hardy fame, was born in Ulverston, and the Laurel and Hardy Museum tells their story.