Retreats & Hideaways - Luxury Self Catering the Lake District

Get Cultured in the South Lakes

The culture of the Lake District is deeply intertwined with its natural surroundings, celebrating its beauty, heritage, and outdoor pursuits. Whether you’re a literature enthusiast, an outdoor adventurer, or a food lover, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this stunning region of England.

We’ve put together a list of the more unusual cultural gems of the South Lakes.

Abbot Hall – Kendal
The Abbot Hall Art Gallery features a diverse collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and prints, with a particular emphasis on British art from the 18th century to the present day. The gallery hosts temporary exhibitions alongside its permanent collection, so there is always something new and exciting to see. The building itself dates back to the 18th century and was originally built as a residence for the local Kendal wool merchant, Colonel George Wilson. Not only is Abbot Hall a great day out but there also plenty of opportunity to learn about the rich history of Kendal and its surrounding villages.

Visit Abbot Hall

Blackwell, The Arts & Crafts House – Windermere

Built between 1898 and 1900, Blackwell is a masterpiece of the Arts and Crafts movement. The home features exquisite interior design, including woodwork, stained glass, metalwork, and decorative elements, all created by leading artists and craftsmen of the time. The house showcases the Arts and Crafts philosophy of simplicity, functionality, and integration of design with nature. Today, Blackwell is open to the public as a historic house museum managed by the Lakeland Arts Trust.

Visit Blackwell

Brantwood, The Home of John Ruskin – Coniston

Brantwood is the final home of the renowned Victorian writer, art critic, and social reformer John Ruskin. The house overlooks Coniston Water and offers stunning views of the surrounding Lake District landscape.
 Today, Brantwood is open to the public as a museum dedicated to Ruskin’s life, work, and legacy. Visitors can explore the house, gardens, and estate, which contain exhibits related to Ruskin’s art, writings, and social ideas.

Visit Brantwood

Fairfield Mill – Sedbergh

Fairfield Mill is a historic mill complex located in the town of Sedbergh, which lies on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the Howgill Fells in Cumbria, England. The mill has a rich history dating back to the 18th century when it was originally built for textile production.
Today, the Mill houses a thriving arts and heritage centre. It features galleries showcasing contemporary arts and crafts, including textiles, ceramics, paintings, and sculptures created by local and regional artists. Visitors can also learn about the mill’s history and the traditional textile production process through exhibitions and demonstrations.

Visit Farfield Mill

Kendal Museum – Kendal

Kendal Museum is a fascinating museum located in the centre of Kendal town.  Collections range from archaeology, geology, natural history, taxidermy animals and local flora and fauna. The museum also houses artifacts related to Kendal’s industrial past, such as items from the town’s once-thriving shoe and woollen textile industries. This is a truly fascinating visit for anyone wanting to delve deep into the local history.

Visit Kendal Museum

Lakeland Motor Museum – Newby Bridge

Established in 1978, Lakeland Motor Museum has grown to become one of the largest and most diverse motor museums in the UK. Its extensive collection includes vehicles dating from the late 19th century to the present day, offering visitors a fascinating journey through the evolution of transportation. In addition to its permanent collections, the museum also hosts special events, car rallies, and exhibitions throughout the year.

Visit Lakeland Motor Museum

Levens Hall, Gardens and Kitchen – Levens

The history of Levens Hall dates back to the 13th century and boasts a wealth of historical architecture and stunning interior decor. One of the most distinctive features of the Hall is its extensive topiary garden, which is among the oldest and most elaborate in the world. The garden contains over 100 pieces of topiary and makes for a fascinating and magical day out.

Visit Levens Hall


Image by Jonny Gios  @ Unsplash

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