Birkdale House

National Trust Locations in the Lake District

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Birkdale House

27th March 2024

The final few National Trust locations in the Lake District are opening their doors for the 2024 season. With new exhibitions, collections on display and a variety of activities, there’s plenty to do whatever the weather. Below we take a look at a few of our favourites, all within easy reach of Birkdale House.

Hill Top, Near Sawrey

If you’re a fan of Beatrix Potter, this is a must visit. Hill Top is the former home of this celebrated author and is a step back in time, having been preserved to look just as it did when she was penning those famous tales.

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with proceeds from her first few books and it became the inspiration for several more books. Inside the house is pretty much as she left it, with original illustrations laid out and still packed full of her personal possessions.

Outside, the delightful cottage garden is just beginning to reawaken, an explosion of colour after the cold, dark days of winter.

You are advised to book in advance – details can be found here.

Sizergh Castle, near Kendal

This striking medieval manor opened its doors on 19 March. Home to the Strickland family for more than 750 years, step inside this medieval manor and uncover their history – it is filled with thousands of items collected over twenty-six generations, including the internationally renowned Inlaid Chamber.

This year, there’s an exciting programme of Conservation in Action’ events, where you can see how the team look after this remarkable place.

Outside, the wonderful garden and grounds offer a variety of walks in about 1,600 acres of countryside including wetland, woodland and orchards.

Click here for details of the various events taking place at Sizergh Castle.

Claife Viewing Station

Claife Viewing Station was built in the 1790s for the first tourists to visit the Lake District. Minutes from the Bowness ferry, Claife Viewing Station offers amazing views of the Lake Windermere, framed by coloured glass.

Wray Castle

While you’re on Windermere’s west shore, why not visit Wray Castle? Built in the 1830s, Wray Castle is one of the National Trust’s more unusual properties, a folly featuring turrets, towers, arrow slits and a portcullis. It was once used by Beatrix Potter’s family for their holidays, and more recently has been a youth hostel and a training centre for the Merchant Navy.

Outside the grounds are crying out to be explored – the perfect spot for the kids to run around.

Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows is a beautiful, man-made tarn in the heart of the Lake District, and ideal for a family walk, with a circular 1¾-mile path around the tarns. The mountain views are a sight to behold, particularly in the morning or evening list. Bring your camera!

Townend, Troutbeck

Home to the Browne family for over four-hundred years, Townend is a cosy farmhouse near Windermere absolutely brimming with character. It’s full of intricately carved furniture, a library containing over 1,500 books, including forty-four which are the only remaining copies on the world, and Elizabeth Browne’s original cookery book.

This year sees a new display; ‘Letters from London’ reveals snippets of young Ben Browne’s life in the 1700s after he had moved to London. Bookable guided tours are available between 3.00 and 4.00 pm.

Outside, take a stroll in the cottage-style garden or relax among the colourful flowers and traditional fruit trees, soaking up the views across the valley.

Steam Yacht Gondola, Coniston

Step back in time with a trip aboard The National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston Water. The vessel is a rebuilt version based on the 1859 original, with inspiration taken from a traditional Venetian ‘Burchiello’ boat, with elegant saloons and ornate decoration relecting the tastes of the Victorians.

The knowledgeable crew provide a commentary on famous landmarks and the history of the lake. Cruises depart from Coniston Pier, subject to weather.

Fell Foot, Newby Bridge

Our final stop is Fell Foot, at the southern tip of Lake Windermere. Fell Foot is one of the few places where you can access England’s largest lake, perfect for paddling, boat hire and picnicking. With forty-three acres of beautiful parkland, this is a fantastic day out for the whole family.

There are so many National Trust locations in the Lake District, all offering something for everyone, young and old. This is just a snapshot of a few of our favourites which are within easily accessible from Birkdale House. If you would like any further information, please do get in touch.