Attractions and Activities near Birkdale HouseBACK
27th October 2020
As the weather becomes a little more unsettled, we thought we’d highlight some of our favourite attractions and activities near Birkdale House. And last month was #AttractionsActivitiesMonth, launched by Cumbria Tourism in a bid to inspire anyone in the Lake District to try something new.
To include all the amazing attractions and activities near Birkdale House, not to mention all of those available in the Lake District, would take days to write. So, we’ve focused on just five, but all within easy reach of the house, and some quite literally on the doorstep.
What’s more, there’s something for all ages, something for the more adventurous among us, and something for those who prefer it a little calmer.
So, what could possibly drag you away from the luxury surroundings of Birkdale House?
The World of Beatrix Potter
Just a short walk from Birkdale House, and an absolute must if you’ve got young children, The World of Beatrix Potter is an exciting family attraction located right at the heart of Bowness-on-Windermere.
Here, the author’s best-loved characters are brought wonderfully to life through a series of charming sets, including Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Squirrel Nutkin on his raft and Mr McGregor’s garden, complete with Peter Rabbit’s coat.
As the website says, “you’ll feel as though you are walking through the pages of the little books”.
At the end of your visit, why not enjoy a tasty treat in the family café, or visit the world-famous gift shop and take home a piece of Beatrix Potter magic?
Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House
Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the twentieth century, Blackwell is a stunning grade one listed property and one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.
The house, which overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells, is nothing short of awe inspiring, retaining almost all of its original Arts and Crafts features. It’s also home to a wonderful collection of furniture and objects from some of the Arts and Crafts period’s leading designers and studios, including William de Morgan and Simpsons of Kendal.
From stained glass windows to inglenook fireplaces, carved wooden panelling to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is definitely one of the most interesting, not to mention enchanting, houses in the Lake District.
Just a few hundred yards from The World of Beatrix Potter is Windermere Jetty, a museum of boats, steam and stories.
Located right on the shores of Lake Windermere, this spectacular new museum boasts a stunning collection of around forty boats and sailing vessels, including steam launches, record-breaking speed boats and motorboats. These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from as far back as the late eighteenth century. You will also have an opportunity to see ongoing restoration projects and to chat with the restorers.
Other vessels include Swallow and Amazon, the boat used in the BBC film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book and Osprey (1902), one of the museum’s fully restored Edwardian steam launches. You can also see SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, and still in running order. TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider, who was chairman of the Barrow Steelworks.
It’s also home to TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider, who was chairman of the Barrow Steelworks. In fact, Henry used it every day to take him to Lakeside, where he boarded the train to Barrow. What’s more, he actually owned the railway, so had his own private carriage.
Before you leave, why not enjoy some of the delicious food available in the museum café. The café itself overlooks Lake Windermere and has arguably one of the most stunning views in the Lake District.
Brockhole and Tree Top Treks
A short drive towards Ambleside brings you to Brockhole House and Gardens. Brockhole is another stunning Arts and Crafts house set in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere.
Built at the end of the nineteenth century for silk merchant William Gaddum and his wife Edith, Beatrix Potter’s cousin, Brockhole enjoys breath-taking views of Lake Windermere and the Langdale Pikes. The gardens were created by renowned landscape designer Thomas Mawson and are well worth exploring, as are the art gallery and gift shop.
And if gentle strolls and careful perusing are not to your liking, you can always visit Treetop Trek. Swing, climb, balance and fly across the thirty-five exciting treetop challenges, including rope bridges, wobbly logs and an adrenalin fuelled 250 metre zip wire on the shores of the lake. What a way to end your treetop trek.
After all that exercise you will undoubtedly have built up an appetite and there are a number of options when it comes to food. Brockhole Café looks out over the lake and the fells beyond and offers a range of delicious food – Cumbrian cooking at its best, while the Gaddum Restaurant offers delightful lunches, afternoon teas and sunset dining.
Or if you’re after something a little less formal, why not try the Garden Shed or the Lakeshore Café, where you can enjoy a selection of cakes and sandwiches. Or treat yourself to a mouth-watering English Lakes Ice Cream.
Brant Fell and Orrest Head
If you fancy getting away from it all, escaping the crowds, then we can promise some top Lake District walks. Brant Fell, which sits at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate, is a relatively easy climb and is literally on the doorstep of Birkdale House, while Orrest Head is only a little further afield.
Overlooking Bowness-on-Windermere, the trek to the summit of Brant Fell is a little steep in places, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Windermere, glistening in the sunshine (obviously we can’t guarantee the sun), and the Lake District mountains beyond. To the north you’ll be able to spot Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright was treated to his first view of the Lake District fells and the inspiration for his series of books.
If you would like to experience Wainwright’s first glimpse of the Lake District, Orrest Head is an easy walk, although you will have to pop up to Windermere. But as it’s a little over a mile, why not take a stroll, browse the various shops on the way, or stop for coffee and a cake? There’s plenty of choice between Birkdale House and the start of the climb to Orrest Head.
The climb itself starts on the A591 by the large Orrest Head signpost and follows a narrow lane for most of the way. At the summit the views are incredible, especially on a clear day – no wonder Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District.
Just remember to bring your camera.
If you would like any information about attractions and activities near Birkdale House, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be more than happy to make any recommendations.