• Lake District Cities, Towns and Villages

    There's more to the Lakes than mountains, rivers and Lakes - The Lake District is alive with bustling market towns; amazing shopping destinations, and home to many artisan and boutique businesses. Let us show you around!

    Keswick

    Keswick

     

    North Lakes

    A bustling little market town with character.

    penrith

    Penrith

     

    North Lakes

    A quirky little Town with lots to explore.

    Bowness and windermere

    Bowness & Windermere

    Central Lakes

    Two unique Villages- one big lake!

    kendal

    Kendal

     

    South Lakes

    A good-sized town & shopping hub

    Ambleside

    Ambleside

    Central Lakes

    Cafes and boutiques abound in these narrow village streets!

    Grasmere

    Grasmere

    Central/North Lakes

    A walker's and art lover's paradise - try the Gingerbread!

    Carlisle

    Carlisle

    North Lakes

    A bustling city with plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

    Hawkshead

    Hawkshead

    Central Lakes

    A hidden treasure and the home of Hawkshead Relish - yum!

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    Double room, Keswick
  • KESWICK

    The market town with a difference!

  • The History of Keswick

     

    The earliest sign of settlement in Keswick is of course Castlerigg Stone Circle; presumed to be over 5000 years old, and possibly the oldest preserved stone circle in England! The town's name reflects the Viking influence in the the area (around 10th Century BC), the meaning widely accepted to mean 'Cheese Town'; probably because of the Norsemen's introduction and breeding of Herdwick sheep in the area- which would have supplied the town with a great supply of cheese; as well as both meat and fleece.

     

    Keswick became a Market town in 1276, with the granting of a Market Charter by King Edward I.

     

    Slate, Copper and Graphite mining made Keswick a very wealthy and well populated town in the 16th Century, some mining near Keswick still takes place to this day. The wealth of Graphite around Keswick in the late 1600s meant that Keswick became Britain's main manufacturer of pencils - The Queens pencils still come from Keswick to this day. A visit to Keswick Pencil museum is a must for any history or art buff!

     

    Although Keswick and the Lake District was already becoming a tourist hot-spot back in the 18th Century; renowned for its outstanding beauty, and a draw to painters, walkers and poets alike- it was the introduction of the railway in the Victorian era that really cemented Keswick as a true holiday destination- for families, couples on romantic weekends, walkers and anyone in need of some relaxation... this is still true today.

    Things to do in Keswick

    There are so many things to do and places to explore in Keswick, here is a list of just a few great attractions worth a visit.

     

    • Castlerigg Stone Circle - Ancient Stone Circle on the ouskirts of Keswick, overlooking the town and lake.
    • Fitz Park - Situated next to the Lake, a great place for a family picnic, and host to lots of great events through the year.
    • The Pencil Museum - A great way to learn more about Keswick's history of pencil making, and try your hand at drawing.
    • Puzzling Place - Fantastic family entertainment! Nothing is what it seems in this museum of illusions.
    • Peter Rabbit and Friends - A magical toy shop in the heart of Keswick
    • King Kong Climbing wall - Learn to climb with the family, or try your strength on the Ice wall or in the bouldering room!
    • Alhambra Cinema - Keswick's own old fashioned cinema, showing both Box Office Hits and independant films.
    • Theatre by the Lake - Book in to see one of their fantastic productions any time of year. £3 off your ticket when you stay at Dale Head Hall!
    • Honister Slate Mine - Go on a mine tour, climb inside the mine, or head outside for an exciting Via Ferratta!! 

    Facts about Keswick

    • Population - (est) 4,821
    • District in Cumbria - Allerdale
    • Local Landmarks - Castlerigg Stone Circle, The Moot Hall, Cumberland Pencil Museum, The Bowder Stone, Millican's Cave
    • Nearby Lakes - DerwentwaterThirlmereButtermere, Bassenthwaite
    • Nearby Peaks - Catbells, Scafell Pike, Skiddaw, Helvellyn
  • Penrith

    An historical Shopping town in the North Lakes

  • The history of Penrith

     

    Once the capital of Cumbria, this well positioned town has it's own castle and some very interesting and ancient history.

     

    Penrith was in the 9th and 10th Century, the Capitol of Cumbria and once part of the kingdom of Scotland and Strathclyde - some of the oldest streets in Penrith date from the 13th Century.

     

    The building of Penrith Castle began in 1399 and became the eventual home of Richard, Duke of Gloucester.

     

    On your next visit to Penrith, make sure to walk up Beacon hill, where a monument has stood since 1719, marking the spot where beacons were historically lit in times of war and emergency - right back to the times of Henry VIII.

    Things to do in Penrith

    There are so many things to do and places to explore in Penrith, here is a list of just a few great attractions worth a visit.

     

    • Rheged Centre - Cinema, indoor and outdoor play centre, cafe and much more- great for kids!
    • Penrith Castle Park - a lovely park, encompassing the ruins of Penrith Castle
    • Penrith Museum - Collections of fine art and heritage from the Penrith area
    • Penrith Leisure Centre - Sports centre with classes and a swimming pool
    • The National Trust, Acorn Bank - A garden well known for its fruit orchards. A wonder in the summer months!

    Facts about Penrith

    • Population - (est)15,300
    • District in Cumbria - Eden District
    • Local Landmarks - Penrith Castle, Beacon Hill, Roman fort of Vereda, Mayburgh Henge and King Arthur's Round Table. The Giants grave.
    • Nearby Lakes - Ullswater
    • Nearby Peaks - Little Mel, Arthur's Pike, Bonscale Pike, Hallin Fell
  • Bowness and Windermere

    Two unique towns nestled together on Lake Windermere

  • The history of Bowness and Windermere

     

    Traditionally two separate fishing and farming villages, Bowness-on-Windermere and the village of Wintermere benefited from exponential growth in the 19th Century, mainly due to it's desirability as a tourist destination and the arrival of a railway in 1847. Now officially considered one parish town (Windermere); Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere are still two very unique places, with their own distinctive town-centres.

     

     

    Things to do in Bowness and Windermere

    With two distinct town centres, you get double the shopping; double the cafes and restaurants, and double the fun!

    Facts about Windermere

    • Population - 8359 (2011)
    • District in Cumbria - South Lakeland
    • Local Landmarks - Beatrix Potter's House, Claife Viewing Station, Orrest Head
    • Nearby Lakes - Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Esthwaite Water, Coniston Water
    • Nearby Peaks - Brant Fell, Gummer's How, Orrest Head, Latrigg
  • Kendal

    A shopping hub in the South Lakes

  • The history of Kendal

    Kendal is listed in the Doomsday book as part of Yorkshire, under the name of Cherchebi. In later years it was refered to as Kirkby Kendal- meaning 'having a church in the Valley of the River Kent'. Two miles South of the modern Kendal was situated a Roman Fort, dating around 90AD - many historical artifacts from this site can be seen at the Kendal Museum.

     

    Kendal's main industry was always wool and cloth; home to the infamous Kendal-Green (cloth), worn by soldiers at Agincourt and Slaves in the Americas - even Shakespeare mentions Kendal Green in his play Henry IV part 1.

     

    Kendal Mint Cake was an accidental discovery of Joseph Wiper, while he was trying to create a clear mint. Marketed as the energy food of the time, Kendal Mint Cake supplied Earnest Shackleton's 1914 Antarctic expedition and subsequent expeditions to the likes of Everest and K2. Be sure to pick some up while you're exploring Kendal!

    Things to do in Kendal

    Enjoy exploring the Yards and Main Streets of Kendal's town centre - With plenty of shops and restaurants, you wont be short of things to do.

    • Sizergh Castle - A wonderful National trust property with beautiful gardens and tea-room.
    • Museum of Lakeland Life - Kendal's museum, showcasing local Lake District history and culture.
    • Hawkshead Brewery - Take a tour of one of the Lake District's finest breweries!
    • Kendal Climbing Wall - Kids and adults, learners and experts; Kendal climbing wall has something for everyone.
    • Levens Hall - Visit the Hall and gardens and their world renowned topiary, then the lovely cafe and gift shop to complete a good day out.

    Facts about Kendal

    • Population - ‎28,586 (2011)
    • District in Cumbria - South Lakeland
    • Local Landmarks - Kendal Castle, Sizergh Castle, Levens Hall
    • Nearby Lakes - Windermere
    • Nearby Peaks - Scout Scar, Cunswick Scar, Todd Fell, High knott
  • Ambleside

    A quirky boutique village, with lots to explore

  • The history of Ambleside

    Ambleside became a Charter Market town in 1650, making it an agricultural and wool trading centre in the Lakes. The workplace of William Wordsworth from 1813 and the home of Harriet Martineau from 1846.

     

    Bridge House is probably the best known landmark in Ambleside; having been built on a bridge over Stock Ghyll more than 300 years ago. The National Trust manage this quirky little Grade 1 property now and use it as a Trust information centre.

    Things to do in Ambleside

    This little village is full of interesting boutique and outdoor shops; fabulous restaurants, and lots of character.

    • Armitt Museum - A museum, Gallery and library, all in one! The Armit museum is your one-stop-shop for Lakes heritage.
    • Zeferellis - This Pizza house and boutique cinema combo is one of the top places to visit in Ambleside.
    • Bridge House - One of the tiniest buildings in Britain; this National Trust owned listed building is a must-see, selfie op!
    • Loughrigg Fell - A short hill-walk that many visitors to Ambleside like to do; allowing spectacular views over Rydal Water and Windermere.
    • Rydal Mount - The last family home of William Wordsworth, and still occupied by his decendants. House and Gardens open to the public.

    Facts about Ambleside

    • Population - ‎2600
    • District in Cumbria - South Lakeland
    • Local Landmarks - Stockghyll Force Waterfall, The Bridge House, Ambleside Roman Fort, Rydal Cave
    • Nearby Lakes - Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Coniston
    • Nearby Peaks - Wansfell Pike, High Pike, Raven Crag, Nab Scar, Lingmoor Fell
  • Grasmere

    A walkers and artists village in the heart of the Lakes

  • The history of Grasmere

    The history of Grasmere has been most marked by its notable characters over the years. Dove Cottage, the home of William Wordsworth between 1799 and 1813 is now a National Trust property, welcoming visitors with its popular museum. Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) is also known to have spent time at Dove Cottage.

     

    The original meaning of Grasmere is simply 'the lake by the long grass'

     

    Sarah Nelson's Ginger Bread was invented in 1854 by Victorian cook and pioneering female entrepreneur, Sarah Nelson; the spicy, sweet treat and the history of Sarah Nelson still attracts tourists to the original Grasmere Ginger Bread shop to this day.

    Things to do in Grasmere

    Grasmere is n unique destination for walkers, art lovers and those who love the charm of the Lakes.

    • Allan Bank - William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to this house overlooking Grasmere lake in 1808. It is now owned by the National Trust, having once been the home of its co-founder, Canon Rawnsley.
    • St. Oswald’s Church and Wordsworth’s Grave - This rustic, ancient little church homes the graves of both William and Dorothy Wordsworth, as well as a beautiful daffodil garden, planted in their honour.
    • Rydal Cave - Siting above Rydal Water, this old mining cave is the perfect spot for a family picnic!
    • Sarah Nelsons Old Gingerbread Shop - A visit to Grasmere would not be compleate without trying some of Sarah Nelson's famous Gingerbread!
    • The Lion and The Lamb - This iconic Lakeland Fell (actually called Helm Crag) towers over Grasmere village, with its famous lion and lamb shaped rocky crag at the very top. A worthy Wainwright walk for any keen hiker.

    Facts about Grasmere

     

    • District in Cumbria - South Lakeland
    • Local Landmarks - Rydal Cave, Lion and Lamb, Dove Cottage, Grasmere Gingerbread Shop
    • Nearby Lakes - Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Thirlmere, Derwent Water
    • Nearby Peaks - Helm Crag, Loughrigg, Helvellyn, Silver How, Stone Arthur
  • Carlisle

    A bustling shopping hub

  • The history of Carlisle

    Carlisle was an early Roman settlement, with a major fort and baths- it's original name being Luguvalium. Between the 5th and 11th Centuries, Carlisle was sacked and held by Viking invaders- its name having by then been changed by the Celts to Caer Luel (fortified place belonging to Luel).

     

    By the time of the Norman conquest in 1066, Carlisle was part of Scotland and was not recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. In 1092 William Rufus invaded the region, incorporating both Cumberland and Carlisle into England.

    During the Middle Ages, Carlisle became an important military stronghold because of its close proximity to Scotland. Carlisle Castle was built in 1092 by William Rufus- It would later serve as a place of imprisonment for Mary Queen of Scots.

     

    The industrial era saw Carlisle grow as both a Mill-Town and also a trading hub between Scotland and England- earning it the nickname 'The Great Border City'.

    the Carlisle curse stone

    Things to do in Carlisle

    Apart from the obvious boundless shopping you can do- Carlisle has lots of interesting things to see and do.

    • The Curse stone - In 1525 the Archbishop of Glasgow, Gavin Dunbar cursed the 'Border reivers'-This was inscribed on a stone by Carlisle Council in recent years.
    • Carlisle Castle - Carlisle Castle is now run by English Heritage, offering tours and events throughout the year.
    • Tullie House - A Museum and Art Gallery in the heart of Carlisle, with events and exhibitions all year round.
    • Hadrian's Wall - Just a 30min drive from Carlisle Centre.
  • Hawkshead

    A picturesque, artisan village

  • The history of Hawkshead

    Originally owned by the monks of Furness Abbey, Hawkshead became and important wool market in Medieval times- going on to earn it's Market Charter during the reign of James 1st.

     

    ThePoet William Wordsworth was educated at Hawkshead Grammar School and Beatrix Potter lived nearby.

     

    With the formation of the Lake District National Park in 1951, Hawkshead became a tourism hot-spot, attracting visitors to this tranquil and (still) traditional farming village. There are many buildings of architectural and historical interest in Hawkshead, most of which date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Find out more HERE

    Hawkshead old photo, National Trust

    Things to do in Hawkshead

    A visit to Hawkshead would not be complete with a beautiful, scenic walk - and a spot of cake of course!

    • Latterbarrow - A five mile round walk, taking in stunning views of the surrounding Lakeland Valleys.
    • Hawkshead Brewery - Take a tour of this unique Lake District brewery (and a few sneaky pints if you're not driving).
    • Hawkshead Relish - This amazing local condiment company have a shop in Hawkshead- perfect for Lake District gifts.
    • Sun Cottage Cafe - Well worth a visit, if only to ogle at their gigantic cakes! A great stop after a long walk.
    Hawkshead walking

    Facts about Hawkshead

    • District in Cumbria - South Lakeland
    • Local Landmarks - Latterbarrow, Hill-Top (Beatrix Potter's home)
    • Nearby Lakes - Esthwaite Water, Windermere, Coniston Water
    • Nearby Peaks - Old Man of Coniston, Latterbarrow, Great Carrs and Weatherlam, Little Langdale
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