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The Lake District is steeped in history with an abundance of castles and historic houses to visit.  What better way to spend the school holidays than exploring our fascinating past?  Here are our top five recommendations.


Wordsworth House


This is a grade 1 listed Georgian townhouse in Cockermouth where William Wordsworth was born in 1770.  Now in the ownership of the National Trust, the writer's museum is open to the public from March to October each year.  Cockermouth itself is a charming town with many individual shops, boutiques and cafes to suit all tastes and well worth a visit.


Blackwell House


One of Britain's finest examples of the arts and crafts architecture, Blackwell House near Lake Windermere is a rare architectural gem frozen in time.  Designed by the acclaimed Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott, the house gives an unrivalled insight in the growth of the arts and crafts movement.

From 29 March to 31 October the house, tea room and craft shop are open daily.


Lowther Castle & Gardens


Located near Penrith, Lowther Castle is one of the Lake District's hidden gems.  Built at the turn of the 19th Century on the site of two previous houses, the castle was a grand affair with a room for every day of the year and its gardens were the envy of the North.  In 1957 the castle was demolished leaving just the facade and outer walls remaining.  However the castle now has a fascinating exhibition which delves into the castle's history and the interesting and notorious  characters who stayed there.  Added to this are stunning gardens, one of the UK's largest adventure playgrounds, a cafe and takeaway.  The castle ruins and gardens are open every day from 10.00 to 4.00 in winter  and 10.00 to 5.00 in the summer.


Brantwood House


On the shores of Coniston Water, Brantwood House was home to John Ruskin, the famous writer, artist and social reformer.  Find out more about his life and legacy through displays and activities in the house, garden and estate.  The estate stretches out over 250-acres and features eight unique gardens created by Ruskin, his cousin Joan Severn, and head gardener Sally Beamish.  The Terrace Cafe has one of the finest views in the Lakes.  The house is open every day during summer and Wednesday to Sunday during winter (closed Christmas and Boxing Day).


Hill Top House


Discover Hill Top House, Beatrix Potter's holiday home, sanctuary and studio near Sawrey.  This cosy converted farmhouse is filled to the brim with the author's belongings and surroundings that inspired her famous works such as The Tale of Peter Rabbit.  The house, garden and shop are open 10.00-17.00.  Check the National Trust website for opening dates.

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