National Trust Attractions in the Lake District

The National Trust's Claife Viewing Station overlooking Windermere in the Lake District Allan Bank in Grasmere was the former home to William Wordsworth and his family The National Trust's Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Lake District Inside Beatrix Potter's Hill Top Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, National Trust Wray Castle - the National Trust's mock-Gothic castle on the shores of Lake Windermere

Prepare to be inspired and discover the wonderful selection of National Trust attractions in the celebrated Lake District!

The Lake District is a landscape of dramatic fells, epic panoramas and fascinating cultural history

Celebrated for its picturesque vistas, the Lakes has been inspiring visitors for centuries and was home to many acclaimed artists, including William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter.

The National Trust invites you to step back in time and experience the beautifully conserved homes and gardens of these iconic writers.


Allan Bank in Grasmere was the former home to William Wordsworth and his family
Allan Bank in Grasmere was the former home to William Wordsworth and his family

Make yourselves at home at Allan Bank in Grasmere – where Wordsworth lived for three years.

Allan Bank is a perfect spot for family fun and adventure both indoors and out. A home from home with a welcoming atmosphere for hands-on creativity, Billie Buzzard’s wild garden trail and red squirrel spotting! Relax in front of a warm fire while the children play the piano in the hall; draw or paint in the art room; play board games or follow the woodland trail – in this, “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found” – William Wordsworth.

Pick up some well-earned refreshments in the kitchen café or bring along a picnic and roll out your rug on the lawn.

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The National Trust's Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Lake District
The National Trust’s Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Lake District

Discover Beatrix Potter’s exquisite original drawings and watercolours, located in one of Hawkshead’s delightful historic buildings.

Enjoy this intimate opportunity to step inside a 17th century property, once the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband William Heelis, and discover more about the legacy of this Lake District artist and cultural icon. There is not a National Trust café or restaurant at the gallery, but have a mooch around Hawkshead and you’ll discover numerous places for a drink, snack or meal, in this lovely Lake District village.

Or you could head over to the National Trust’s Tower Bank Arms in Near Sawrey, just a few miles away, for tasty food and local beers. This idyllically located 17th century bar still retains many of its original features and can be spotted in some of Beatrix Potter’s best-loved tales, such as The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck.

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The National Trust's Claife Viewing Station overlooking Windermere in the Lake District
The National Trust’s Claife Viewing Station overlooking Windermere in the Lake District

The recently reopened Claife Viewing Station invites you to walk in the footsteps of early Lake District tourists and experience the impressive vistas over Windermere.

The renovated monument has windows tinted with coloured glass, in keeping with the original design from the 1790s, intended to recreate the landscape in different seasonal conditions. Enjoy the colour of summer with yellow, orange provides an autumn glow, green gives a hint of springtime, while dark blue emulates a serene moonlight scene and red provides a dash of drama!

The cosy café in the courtyard is open everyday; weekdays 10am – 4.30pm and weekends 10am – 5pm.

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Beatrix Potter's Hill Top home at Near Sawrey (photo National Trust)
Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top home at Near Sawrey (photo National Trust)

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top, in the village of Near Sawrey, in 1905 with the money she made from her early books.

Full of Beatrix Potter’s favourite things, including original illustrations, Hill Top today appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk, so you can enjoy a wander through the garden and house and be transported back in time and imagine what life in the Lakes would have been like for this illustrious literary figure. Make sure to take some time to wander in the Hill Top garden, meticulously maintained by the National Trust’s real-life Mr McGregor – Pete!

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Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, National Trust

Wordsworth House, Cockermouth, National Trust

Step back in time to the 1770s and explore William Wordsworth’s childhood home.

Whether you meet the maid-of-all-work or a knowledgeable 21st century guide, you’re guaranteed a warm welcome at William Wordsworth’s childhood home in Cockermouth.

Explore the working 18th century kitchen and other hands-on rooms, or you can take a guided or audio tour – or join a talk – to find out more about the happiness and heartache that shaped the original wild child. Discover the weird and wonderful details of Georgian life, from what the Wordsworth family ate to how often they washed.

There are replica costumes to dress up in, reproduction toys to play with, daily children’s trails and holiday activities – and the household’s ghosts are waiting in the cellar! Visit the latest exhibition, relax in the award-winning garden and enjoy a light lunch or cream tea in the cosy café, then browse for souvenirs in the gift shop.

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Be enchanted by the turrets and towers of this impressive mock-Gothic castle, on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Wray Castle is perfect for an indoor and outdoor family adventure! Younger kids will love the Peter Rabbit Adventure and there’s fabulous fancy dress fun and castle building for older children. The grounds provide an ideal spot for picnics with peaceful lake views, or for additional sustenance try the castle café. If you fancy exploring the nearby Lake District countryside, you can travel for miles on off-road footpaths and cycle tracks to Claife Viewing Station and Hawkshead, or enjoy a circular trail that goes from Wray Castle to Blelham Tarn.

The car park is small and is often full by 11am, so why not leave the car behind and explore alternative green ways to travel to Wray Castle by boat, bike, boot or bus!

The castle even has its own jetty located just a short walk from the castle – Windermere Cruises run over 100 cruises a day, so there are lots of options.

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The Steam Yacht Gondola offers a unique opportunity to enjoy the charm of luxury travel once experienced by wealthy Victorians during their tours of the Lake District. Listen to the crew’s commentary as you ride in style in the Gondola’s opulent saloons or relax on her open-air decks. There are four daily cruises providing a chance to glide across Coniston Water surrounded by spectacular scenery, with the rugged Coniston Fells on the west side and dense woodland on the east.

To make a day of it you can combine your cruise with a visit to Brantwood House and Gardens, disembarking at Brantwood jetty. And for something super special – check out the selection of Steam Yacht Gondola experiences.

The National Trust’s Steam Yacht Gondola is on the water from 1 April until 31 October – a discount of 10% is available to National Trust members on all Head of Lake and Full Lake cruises.

Find out more here

// Map of National Trust Attractions in the Lake District