Whether you’re a history buff; a design freak; keen gardener; or maybe even an avid ghost story enthusiast, the stately homes and manors of the lake district are sure to ignite your imagination. Some of the most beautiful self-catering accommodation is to be found in the Lake District, so we’re sure it’s not surprising that there are over 40 stately homes and castles in Cumbria alone, and most of them are open to the public! A visit to one of these impressive places is a must for your ‘things to do in the Lakes’ list this summer!
Wray Castle is a mock-gothic, turreted affair, situated on the shores of Windermere. A great way to visit this lovely building is by taking the ferry across Windermere, starting out from Ambleside. Built in the 1840s, the castle doesn’t retain many of it’s original furnishings, but has been transformed into a magical Peter Rabbit adventure. What a fun thing for kids to do in Windermere on a rainy day!
Lowther castle near Penrith is a wonderful day out for the family! Comprising of an impressive 130 acres of grounds, surrounding the castle ruins; a cafe; adventure play area; guided tours; outdoor children’s activities; food cabin in the woods, and gift-shop. The Lowther deer park even plays host to events such as the Kendal Calling festival! With all this going on, it’s no wonder Lowther is one of the most popular visitor attractions in the North Lakes!
Blackwell Arts and Crafts House
A masterpiece of the Arts & Crafts era, Blackwell house stands proudly above Windermere; a shining example of the period and style. Wander around the house and gardens, soaking up the history, and beautifully kept original fixtures. When the Lakeland Arts trust acquired Brantwood House, they set to, filling it with the most wonderful pieces of Arts & Crafts furnishings, recreating Brantwood’s sumptuous past glory. The Lakeland Arts trust also owns Abbot Hall in Kendal, which is home to some of the most excellent, and ever-changing art exhibitions in the Lake District.
Levens Hall near Kendal really does have it all! An Elizabethan house with beautiful, original 16th Century features, wood panelling and topiary gardens. Also sporting a tea-room, gift shop and plant centre, it’s certainly a marvellous place to spend the day in the Lake District. The world renowned topiary is a sight to behold, and believed to be the oldest in the world. Get lost in a sprawling maze of topiary, and find the shapes – like the King and Queen chess pieces, the Great Umbrellas, and four Peacocks, amongst many others. Learn the history of Morocco Ale; originally brewed at Levens, and reinstated in it’s 300th year.
Not only still a home to the same family that owned it nine Centuries ago, Muncaster also houses an impressive flock of feathery friends, in the form of its Hawk & Owl Centre. Enjoy afternoon teas in the castle, outdoor theatre on the lawn, or visit with some of the centre’s impressive birds of prey. The centre (geared toward conservation) hosts flying displays twice daily.
Built on Roman foundations in the Thirteenth Century, the castle has been added to over the years, but has never passed from the hands of the same family. There are rumoured to be ghostly goings-on at Muncaster, which is believed to be one of Britain’s most haunted castles. So keep your ears open for their next frightening ‘ghost vigil’ event!
Whatever you come on holiday to the Lake district for, the castles and manor houses of the Lakes have got you covered. From outdoor events; theatre productions; things for the kids to do; fancy restaurants; little cafes; walks in the woods; gardening inspiration; ghostly goings-on; excellent exhibitions, and many more – you can find it all in the Lake District’s best kept historical monuments.
The most relaxing and all-encompassing way for you and the family to enjoy the full Lake District experience, is from the comfort of a self-catering holiday cottage. Lakelovers have an extensive catalogue of over 470 holiday cottages, scattered throughout the Lake District, and within easy access of so many exciting things to do!
Explore and enjoy.