The prettiest village in the Lake District

Hawkshead Village

The prettiest village in the Lake District








The pretty village of Hawkshead is an ideal base for exploring the Lake District National Park. Set in the magnificent Vale of Esthwaite in the heart of the English Lake District between Lake Windermere and Coniston Water. Hawkshead is a truly historic and wonderfully picturesque village characterised by its cluster of whitewashed houses, archways and alleyways, courtyards and squares.

A prosperous mediaeval wool town, its rich history includes important connections with the poet William Wordsworth and children’s story writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter and each have museums devoted to them within the village.

The centre of Hawkshead is closed to cars which enhances its character and makes wandering around its narrow winding streets especially rewarding. It offers a good selection of cafes and four great pubs and shops including our village chemist, Post Office and Co-op.


The surrounding countryside promises many delightful walks – from gentle strolls to rugged hill climbing – the high mountains are only a short drive away. This lovely are also offers some excellent fishing and Grizedale and Claife are great for keen bikers with plenty of marked mountain bike routes.

Cottages in the village and a short walk away (under a mile)

The village so loved by Beatrix Potter




Heart of the Lake District National Park

The attractive village of Sawrey is situated two miles from Hawkshead down the eastern side of Esthwaite Water, overlooked by the woods and tarns of Claife Heights. Sawrey consists of two separate hamlets called Near Sawrey and Far Sawrey, both a cluster of picturesque cottages, teas rooms and pubs.

Near Sawrey is famous for Hill Top, a 17th century farmhouse where Beatrix Potter found inspiration for the writing of her acclaimed children’s stories. She bought Hill Top farm in 1905 from the proceeds of the sale of the first of her little tales, Peter Rabbit. The property is now a museum, owned and run by the National Trust and is one of the most visited houses in the Lake District. She also lived down the road at Castle Cottage but that is not open to the public. The Tower Bank Arms is situated next to Hill Top and again is extremely popular.

Far Sawrey, is the hamlet furthest away from Hawkshead and the nearest to the ferry point on Windermere and contains St Peter’s church, a pleasantly situated 19th century building with a St Celia window in the south wall. The  Cuckoo Brow Inn has a beer garden, with some good views and we have had lots of great feedback about the food from Guests.



Beatrix Potter and Friends

 in and around Hawkshead


For those in search of Beatrix Potter and friends Hawkshead is an ideal base for those wanting to discover more about the landscape that inspired this world famous author. Visits in and around the Lakes villages of Hawkshead and Sawrey allowing you to really enjoy this beautiful area.

In 1905 Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top, a small farm in Sawrey, which is just 2 miles from Hawkshead. Seven of her delightful books are based in or around Hill Top. Tom Kitten and Samuel Whiskers lived there. The house is still as it was then with many of her beloved ‘treasures’ on display. There is a Shop specialising in Beatrix

Potter gifts. Beatrix Potter married a Hawkshead solicitor, William Heelis, in 1913, and settled into a life as a Lakeland farmer. His office in the centre of Hawkshead is now the National Trust’s ‘Beatrix Potter Gallery’

Situated in Ambleside is the Armitt Library, which now contains many of Beatrix Potter’s water colours, and drawings of fungi, mosses and fossils. The World of Beatrix Potter is located in Bowness, which is a short drive via the ferry from Hawkshead. There you can discover Peter Rabbit and friends in a magical recreation of Beatrix Potter’s books, a great experience for children.


Tarn Hows

Spot the Red Squirrels





Tarn Hows is one of the most visited spots in Lakeland – a body of water surrounded by spruce, larch and pine conifers, circled by paths (suitable for wheelchairs) and dotted with grassy picnic spots. Located around 2 miles north west of Hawkshead and a similar distance north east of Coniston, the land in which Tarn Hows lies was donated to the National Trust in 1930 by Beatrix Potter, who bought the land herself a year earlier. Since 1930 the location has been carefully maintained by the trust and there is a 1.5 mile path round the tarn that is level and well maintained and thus suitable for wheelchairs.

It is often rightly said that it is impossible to improve on the designs of nature. However, Tarn Hows may be the one exception to that rule, for the current tarn is mostly artificial. At the turn of the last century the landowner dammed the stream at the southern end of the existing pond, Low Tarn, flooding the valley and creating the stunning Tarn Hows of today. Although it created a place of real beauty, this damming process actually had a practical purpose, which was to supply water to a saw mill in Yewdale.

Tarn Hows attracts visitors for its sheer elegance, thick woodland and grand views towards Wetherlam, Helvellyn, and the Langdale Pikes. However, it is possible to find quiet areas, as there are many attractive walks among the maze of paths that surround the tarn, and most visitors tend to stick to the shoreline.

Tarn Hows is now a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and whilst walking through the woodland you may see some of the Lakes’ (and England’s) few remaining native red squirrels


        The town nestling under Coniston Old Man


Until the copper mines were revitalised around 1859, Coniston was a scattered rural community. Its best known feature is The Old Man of Coniston, a spectacular mountain which rises dramatically behind the houses when seen from the village centre. Today the village is a good base for walkers and climbers, and those wanting to investigate the Tilberthwaite Slate quarries.

For the last 30 years of his life, Victorian artist, poet, critic and philosopher John Ruskin lived at Brantwood, just across the lake. And it was on Coniston Water that Donald Campbell’s famous attempt to break the world water speed record in 1967 ended in tragedy. Visitors can take a trip out on the public launches, which call at Brantwood. The Monk Coniston estate, owned by the writer Beatrix Potter and bequeathed to the National Trust on her death, stretches from Coniston to Skelwith Bridge, and includes the famous beauty spot, Tarn Hows. The Black Bull Inn, a 400-year-old coaching inn at the foot of the Old Man of Coniston, is home to the Coniston Brewing Company, makers of Bluebird Bitter, voted the Campaign for Real Ale’s Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 1998.

Just above Coniston is the beautiful area of Tarn Hows, nestling between Coniston and Hawkshead this is a quiet, pretty, rural area with lovely views and wildlife to enjoy

 Lake Windermere

England’s largest lake

Lake Windermere is England’s largest lake, and one of it’s most popular with visitors. It is 10.5 miles long and approx 1 mile wide. The water of the lake reaches a depth of around 220 feet and the lake is extremely popular with water sports enthusiasts as well as walkers who come to enjoy the scenic walks around various regions of this beautiful lake.

Hawkshead is on the quieter west side of the Lake so loved by Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Just ouside the village Claife Heights and Latterbarrow offer stunning walks with spectacular panoramic views of the whole surrounding area.

There is a ferry service that runs the length of Windermere as well as car ferry which crosses the lake between Sawrey on the west side and Bowness on the east. You can also hire boats, either motor or rowing. Infact around Lake Windermere you will find something for everyone – fishing, boating, spectacular walks and views, historic buildings, horse riding, and much much more !


Grizedale and Satterthwaite

Grizedale – Fun for all the Family

Walking and Sculpture Trails

Grizedale Forest Park offers the complete day out with an extensive range of waymarked paths, picnic areas, forest roads and tracks and a great adventure playground. The Sculture trails are great fun and encourage children to explore the woodland.

A guidemap can be purchased from the Visitor Centre which shows all the waymarked routes. Grizedale Forest Park offers superb views of Coniston Water, Windermere and Grizedale Valley itself. Take a walk up to the highest point at Carron Crag (317m) and enjoy a panorama of the central Lake District fells. Alternatively the all abilities Ridding Wood trail will take you high across a woodland gill on a suspension bridge or challenge you to play the forest xylophone.


Grizedale Forest Park provides a great day out for all levels of cyclist. There are a range of waymarked trails that lead the cyclist around the forest on forest roads and tracks including the new technical North Face Route.A guide map is included in the Grizedale Map Pack from the Visitor Centre which details all the waymarked routes.

Bike Hire is available from the visitor centre including a range of bike sizes and facilities for children.

Go Ape!

Go Ape! is an aerial assault course of extreme rope bridges, tarzan swings and zip slides. Go Ape! and trek from tree to tree in the forest canopy. Two plus hours of adrenalin-fuelled fun, laughter and adventure at heights of up to 60 feet above the forest floor, all located within the beautiful surroundings of Grizedale Forest Park. Go on, swing by and catch some tree time. Go Ape! is a robust aerial assault course, a degree of fitness and strength is required. Each participant receives comprehensive safety instruction from a trained safety instructor before starting the course.

Booking is essential, book online at www.goape.co.uk or call the booking and information hotline on 0870 444 5562

Satterthwaite and Force Forge

Set in the heart of the forest they have great access for all that Grizedale can offer as well as still being close to Hawkshead and the Central Lake District. Satterthwaite has a good local pub  – The Eagles Head –  serving food and there is a cafe and tearoom at the visitor centre. Force Forge is further south and is great for those wanting to escape from it all and enjoy the wildlife and river which


A bustling town only 10 minutes drive from Hawkshead


The bustling town of Ambleside is at the north of Lake Windermere it is a uniquely special place, with a welcoming, friendly atmosphere and a host of things to enjoy all year round. For a small town it’s got a great deal to offer visitors, a multitude of unique and specialist shops, lively varied restaurants and pubs and a 4 screen cinema. For rainy days, Rufty Tuftys is a large indoor play area for children up to 1 years old . Ambleside’s spectacular scenery offers a wide choice of walking in all seasons, from gentle level strolls to challenging days out on the high fells.

The quieter village of Hawkshead is only a 10 minute drive away to the south  the village of Hawkshead has been described as “the prettiest village in the Lakes” . SEVERAL PUBLIC HOUSES  offer the cance to sample local ales whilst viewing the village cottages  around the village of Hawkshead. This is an ideal base for exploring the towns of Ambleside, Coniston and the surrounding Lakes.

Coniston Village


Until the copper mines, dating from Jacobean times, were revitalised about 1859, Coniston was a scattered rural community. It was mainly settled around Coniston Hall, a 16th Century farmhouse with a display of mighty chimneys, built by the Fleming family, and now owned by the National Trust (though not open to the public).


Its best feature is The Old Man of Coniston, rising dramatically behind the houses when seen from the village centre. Coniston is a good centre for walkers and climbers, and those wanting to investigate the Tilberthwaite Slate quarries.


Coniston from ‘The Old Man of Coniston’ (2635 ft).
Photo by Tony Richards

St Andrew’s Church was completed in 1891, during a period of great prosperity for the community, when many wealthy patrons, including John Ruskin settled in the area. He lived for the last 30 years of his life at Brantwood, just across the lake. When he died, he was buried in St Andrew’s graveyard, and his grave was marked with a large carved cross made from green slate from the local quarry at Tilberthwaite. It was designed by W.G. Collingwood his friend and secretary, who was an expert on Anglo-Saxon crosses, with symbols depicting important aspects of Ruskin’s work and life. A year later W.G. Collingwood worked to set up an exhibition, now called the Ruskin Museum at the back of the Coniston Mechanics Institute, as a place to preserve any Ruskin mementos that c

There are two public launch services on Coniston Water, the Coniston Launch, and the National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola. Both of these call at Brantwood.

Arthur Ransome based his childrens’ book ‘Swallows and Amazons’ on loactions around Coniston Water.

The Monk Coniston estate, owned by Beatrix Potter, and given on her death to the National Trust, stretches from Coniston to Skelwith Bridge. It includes the famous beauty spot - Tarn Hows.


Donald Campbell broke the water speed record on Coniston Water in 1955, and was killed attempting to regain it again in 1967. There is a memorial to him on the village green, just opposite the car park, and information about him in the Ruskin Museum.


On 8 March 2001, Bluebird was raised from the bed of Coniston Water, and on 28 May the remains of what was later proved to be Campbell’s body were brought from the lake.


A memorial service was held in Coniston church on 12 September 2001, and his body buried in the churchyard.


 The Black Bull Inn, (top picture) a 400 year old coaching inn at the foot of Coniston Old Man, is home to the Coniston Brewing Company, makers of ‘Bluebird Bitter’, CAMRA Supreme Champion Beer of Britain 1998.


More information, and a replica of Bluebird, can be seen at the Lakeland Motor Museum, at Holker Hall.

record breaking attempt

26. Jan, 2015


Always had an interest in the exploits of this very courageous guy and in fact on the day he died I was listening to the radio and heard it . The following week we were on a visit to the lakes it was a beautiful day my family travelled to Coniston, the lake was covered in polystyrene balls which I was told had been contained in buoyancy tanks on Bluebird. The divers were out searching for the wreck and the whole scene was sureal. Over the years when we have visited Coniston we have been to the walkers bar at the Sun Hotel where they still had newspaper pictures on the wall of the accident, and in fact pictures of Anthony Hopkins who played Donald in the film. Apparently Donald used to stay at the Sun whilst preparing for his record attempts. It would appear that he started his second run a bit too early before the water had completely settled which resulted un the vessel taking off. Absolute tragedy because he was so close to completing what would have been a record breaking attempt.

  • Donald Campbell at Coniston 1966/67

  • Donald Campbell at Coniston 1966/67

Bluebird on Coniston

This is arguably the best ever photo taken of Bluebird on 14th December 1966. Setting out for a run on Coniston Water