Experience the World Heritage cultural landscape of the Lake District

Lakes Ignite 2018 Enjoy the stunning scenery of the Lake District on a Mountain Goat Tour Brantwood, home of John Ruskin, the writer, artist and social reformer Vew from the window at Dove Cottage in Grasmere, Lake District Stargazing at Grizedale Forest with astronomer Robert Ince Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House (photo Tony West) The Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal Allan Bank in Grasmere, Lake District Rydal Mount and Gardens

The landscape of the Lake District has been inspiring artists and writers for centuries and now it has been recognised by UNESCO and awarded World Heritage status.

The cultural story continues in 2018 with the Lakes Ignite festival, which sees six contemporary artists showing new pieces of work in response to the World Heritage status across six different locations in the Lake District.

Spark your imagination from January to July 2018 with Lakes Ignite a celebration of contemporary art in a World Heritage cultural landscape


Alongside Lakes Ignite there is a collection of World Heritage Signature Experiences on offer to help you discover the rich culture on offer in the Lake District.

Based on its iconic geographical locations these experiences will enable you to explore the Lake District’s identity, its role in conservation and how it has inspired so many artists and writers to produce great work.

Our Lakes Culture World Heritage experiences will take you on a journey of a lifetime

So, whether you are a lover of literature, an adrenalin junkie or happier staring at the stars or tucking into an afternoon tea, there is something for everyone!


Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick, photo by Richard Gale
Castlerigg Stone Circle near Keswick, photo by Richard Gale

Keswick and Ullswater boast the breathtaking scenery of Skiddaw and Helvellyn and the Mountain Goat Tours are a great way to see the Lakes. Taking you from Windermere over the Lake District’s highest mountain pass to enjoy the impressive views over Ullswater. You can then stop at one of the UK’s oldest stone circles at Castlerigg before exploring the glacial valley of St John’s in the Vale. The trip ends with a delightful opportunity to wander around the historic village of Grasmere.

Find out more about Keswick and Ullswater on GoLakes


From April to October, arrive in style with this unique opportunity to travel across Coniston Water in the National Trust’s pristine Steam Yacht Gondola. Typically used by wealthy Victorians, the Gondola today will drop you off at the jetty at Brantwood, where you can go on to discover Ruskin’s famous home.

// Brantwood

Ruskin was a lover of art and architecture and a radical thinker in Victorian society and his influences are still seen today; he inspired the founders of the National Health Service, the National Trust and public libraries.

The interior of Brantwood is a pleasure to explore and outside the eight beautifully designed gardens – including the journey to Dante’s Paradise – provide further delights of discovery, you even have a chance to play the musical stones, before rejoining the Gondola for your return journey.

For budding writers there is a wonderful opportunity in September to let the Brantwood estate inspire you when it opens its doors as a literary retreat, allowing you to look at the ways in which writers have expressed the different landscapes.

// Grizedale Forest

Grizedale Forest is the UK’s first forest for sculpture. It is a beautiful space to explore, with artworks located across ten square miles of woodland and a new installation, Mountains We Made, by Lakes Ignite artist Charlie Whinney.

Grizedale Forest is a perfect spot for an outdoor art adventure!

For a stellar night-time adventure Grizedale Forest hosts tours of the constellations, allowing you to enjoy the light pollution free dark skies above its forest canopy. There are a number of events throughout winter and spring, hosted by Robert Ince, including Jupiterwatch and Dark Sky Festival, promising unforgettable magical starlit experiences.

Find out more about Coniston and Grizedale on GoLakes


Di Mainstone is bringing Time Mirror to Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House from 18 May - July for Lakes Ignite
Di Mainstone is bringing Time Mirror to Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House from 18 May – July for Lakes Ignite

// Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House

Blackwell, is a masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement and is located overlooking England’s largest lake, Windermere, and the Lake District fells beyond. This beautiful house, designed by architect MH Ballie Scott, has a calendar of unmissable exhibitions and events and is the location for one of the Lakes Ignite installations from May 18 this year.

Di Mainstone’s Time Mirror is an interactive sculpture that will allow audiences of all ages to experience and capture the stunning Lake District surroundings in an experimental and abstract way.

The Time Mirror is a large tessellated funnel shaped structure, covered in polished, mirror-like steel, that can spin 360 degrees to reflect the landscape from any angle and tilt to reflect the sky and mountains. The Time Mirror will also reflect back any participants that interact with it, capturing them in the Lake District landscape and allowing them to create abstract portraits of themselves on mobile phones, set within the stunning landscape at Blackwell.

// Brewery Arts Centre

Acclaimed British playwright Alan Bennett is known for the powerful and engaging series of monologues Talking Heads that featured actresses such as Patricia Routledge. In March this year, the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal will be hosting a one-day workshop where you can learn themes and techniques to create your own absorbing monologue.

Find out more about Windermere, Kendal and Ambleside on GoLakes


Inside Dove Cottage, Grasmere in the Lake District (photo The Wordsworth Trust)
Inside Dove Cottage, Grasmere in the Lake District (photo The Wordsworth Trust)

// Dove Cottage

One of the Lake District’s most well known associations is perhaps with William Wordsworth and Dove Cottage in Grasmere is where he wrote many of his greatest poems. Discover more about life within these intimate cottage walls that he shared with his sister, wife, children and many other notable names from the Romantic Movement.

Step back in time in Dove Cottage as you explore the dark panelled rooms with their authentic furniture, that provide an unforgettable insight into this celebrated literary home.

// Allan Bank

Continuing in Wordsworth’s footsteps you can journey on to Allan Bank where the Wordsworth family lived for three years. The National Trust has partially restored the property, following a fire in 2011, into a welcoming house where children and adults alike are encouraged to relax in the library, play the piano, draw or paint in the art room and are even allowed to write their ideas on the walls.

// Rydal Mount

Completing the trip you can book afternoon tea at Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until his death. The house is situated in a four-acre estate with views out to Lake Windermere and Rydal Water. Included with your booking is a booklet about Rydal Mount and a copy of his most famous poem, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

Find out more about Grasmere and Rydal on GoLakes

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