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HOME AT FIRST's

The Lake District

CHARMING VILLAGES SCATTERED AMONG LAKES & MOUNTAINS IN NW ENGLAND

— GREAT HOLIDAYS BEGIN HERE —

Hawkshead

House


HAWKSHEAD

LAKE DISTRICT

ENGLAND

 

All Photos © Home At First  HAWKSHEAD HOUSE, HAWKSHEAD, LAKE DISTRICT, ENGLAND

 

“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Appareled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream
.”

                                                  
--WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

“As I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells
and rough land seeing every stone and flower
and patch of bog and cotton pass.”

                                                         
--BEATRIX POTTER

 

 

The LAKE DISTRICT:
                  Elemental facts conceal its personality and only hint at its drama. Maybe that’s why poets queue to praise the place, peopling it with exotic barrows, fells, tarns, and waters rather than common hills, mountains, ponds, and lakes. The Lake District landscape IS special: England’s highest mountains fold like meringue peaks forming rift valleys, cirques, and cols, many holding lakes and ponds of various sizes and altitudes. Not all here is perpendicular or wet. The Lake District offers some rich, rocky bottom land, sloping fields, and high grazing commons. Beatrix Potter raised sheep—not rabbits—on her 4,000 acres around Hawkshead.
                  Since Viking times, its villages have drawn visitors to Lake District dales. Not chief among them is Hawkshead. Let the throngs overrun Ambleside, Bowness, and Windermere. Pristine Hawkshead—tell no one!—maintains its character when summer weekends convert Windermere to Piccadilly and Ambleside to Blackpool. Ms. Potter’s husband maintained his law office in Hawkshead. His practice could not have survived on criminal law: the Hawkshead Police Department office has hours bankers would envy. While Hawkshead (and nearby Sawrey—Far and Near—and Coniston) claim Beatrix as their own BFF, the village and its region needs no Great Authoress of Beloved Children’s Books to lend it magnetic majesty. Strollers delight in the pace of Hawkshead’s small maze of car-free alleys lined with shops, galleries, tea rooms, pubs, and restaurants extraordinary, eclectic, and welcoming. Drivers delight in the district’s winding, narrow roads for the same adjectives. Active types—exclude me not—walk, climb, boat, cycle, and fish here with joy, knowing their spot at the inn awaits them to cap another perfect day outdoors in Wordsworth’s “glory and freshness of a dream.” Cruising the lakes offers a varied menu from ferry-crossings of Lake Windermere to sightseeing on Lake Windermere and the Coniston Water, to hop-on-hop-off walking/biking/cruising options, to dinner and dancing cruises after dark.

                  The Lake District likes honeymooners. But it also likes families, old married couples, and foursomes of friends. Fortunately, Home At First offers a number of fine lodgings in/near Hawkshead to house groups of almost any size shy of two dozen. Our latest, Hawkshead House, sleeps up to six in grand, traditional comfort. Located just outside the village, Hawkshead House is 2-3 minutes by car from the Hawkshead village parking lot, or 5-10 minutes walk from the village center.

   

THE ACCOMMODATIONS: The centuries-old, thick-walled, wooden-beamed Hawkshead House offers its guests great comfort in traditional rural Cumbrian style. The two-story, whitewashed stone farmhouse sleeps up to 6 persons in three second-floor bedrooms: two with double beds, and with twin beds that may be attached together to form a double bed. The bedrooms all provide pleasant views of the wooded farm estate from deep-welled windows. Two bathrooms — one with a tile shower and one with a tile tub/shower combination — are connected to the bedrooms on the upper floor.

Double bedroom at Hawkshead House: exposed beam ceiling, window seat, antiques, even a fireplace. Photo © Home At First.
Double bedroom at Hawkshead House
featuring exposed beam ceiling, window
seat, antique furnishings, even a fireplace.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

   
   

Comfortable, quality furniture, antique accessories, a working fireplace, and a modern, flat-screen TV combine to make the living room at Hawkshead House a special gathering place. Photo © Home At First.
Comfortable, quality furniture, antique
accessories, a working fireplace, and
a modern, flat-screen TV combine to
make the living room at Hawkshead
House a special gathering place.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

COMMON SOCIAL ROOMS WITH A GARDEN: Several delightful common rooms occupy the cottage’s ground floor. The very comfortable living room is furnished with a large, flat-screen TV/DVD, overstuffed leather upholstered sofa and chairs, a gas fireplace, and features a spectacular open beam ceiling and several distinctive period pieces of cabinetry and shelving holding lovely china, plus curios of pewter, brass, and antique porcelain. An isolated corner of the living room serves as a quiet, atmospheric, study nook.
          Standing in contrast is the cottage’s beautiful and fully-equipped modern kitchen, featuring heavy granite countertops and quality built-in appliances: gas range, over-under microwave/convection oven, fridge, and

 

dishwasher. A freezer, clothes washer and dryer are in the adjoining garage.
          A lovely formal dining room connects to the kitchen (by a pass-through) and the living room. It, too, features exposed oaken beams, paneling, and entrance door, period furniture and china, a fireplace, and wainscoting.
          Outside of the cottage, guests have access to their own private garden furnished with a barbecue grill, table, and chairs. Private parking for two cars is by the house. When necessary, the cottage is warmed by central heating through room registers. Smoking is not permitted inside the cottage.

The elegant dining room at Hawkshead House serves for formal dining as well as for casual meals. Photo © Home At First.
The elegant dining room at Hawkshead
House serves equally well for formal
dining as it does for casual meals.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST


Floor plan of the two-story Hawkshead House cottage. Drawing © Home At First.


The modern, well-equipped kitchen adds an up-to-date beauty and practicality to the traditional farmhouse home. Photo © Home At First.
The modern, well-equipped kitchen adds
an up-to-date beauty and practicality
to the traditional farmhouse home.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

THE HOSTS of Hawkshead House are not on-site. Rather, they maintain an office a few minutes away in Hawkshead village. They serve as representatives of the absentee owners, and look after the cottage and its guests. Their daily office hours serve well for normal guest inquiries which they welcome by providing information and support about the cottage, the town, local events, and the Lake District. They also are reachable by telephone 24/7 for any emergencies that may arise. Guests have rated their friendly, attentive services highly for twenty years.

   

THE SETTING: Hawkshead House is a former farmhouse on a historic estate that is still actively farmed. The traditional farm cottage occupies a shady spot in the center of the center of the estate on a private farm lane about Ľ-mile from from the nearest local road at a point ˝-mile from the Hawkshead village parking lot. Total drive time from Hawkshead House to the village car park is 2-3 minutes. Alternatively, guests may follow established paths 1/3-mile across the farm fields 5-10 minutes directly into the village center.
          Hawkshead is a (mostly) car-free

Walkers and tea-takers fill Hawkshead's car-free square in front of the Beatrix Potter Gallery. Photo © Home At First.
Walkers & tea-takers fill Hawkshead's
car-free square in front of
the Beatrix Potter Gallery.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

 

The Hawkshead Relish Company: prime example of a successful niche craft business that thrives in the "honeypot" village of Hawkshead. Photo © Home At First.
The Hawkshead Relish Company: prime
example of a successful niche craft
business that thrives in the
"honeypot" village of Hawkshead.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

village of convoluted lanes lined with cute and quirky house and shops. Although not large (population under 700), Hawkshead draws sufficient visitors to support more shops, restaurants, tea rooms, and pubs than a normal English village its size. To handle its popularity and not be overrun with cars, Hawkshead closed its narrow cobbled lanes to all but local vehicles with permits, setting up a well-used, unattractive, but necessary and efficient village car park on the SE edge of the village. Hawkshead’s busy Tourist Information Centre is located efficiently by the village car park: both operations are profit centers for the town.

 

          Although the surrounding region is quite hilly and Hawkshead car-free, most of the village’s streets slope gently if at all (exception: to the 15th century Church of St. Michael and All Angels set on a hillock south of the village center, home to a weekly concert series every summer), making the small village very walkable for almost everyone. Its pretty lanes, lined with whitewashed cottages shoulder-to-shoulder and bejeweled with flower boxes spilling blooms during the warm months, make walking the perfect locomotion for exploring Hawkshead. There are enough nooks and crannies to ensure

Hawkshead's 15 century church hosts a weekly classical concert series every summer. Photo © Home At First.
Hawkshead's 15th century church hosts a
weekly classical concert series every summer.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

 

The 15th century Red Lion Inn -- oldest pub in Hawkshead. Photo © Home At First.
The 15th century Red Lion Inn:
oldest pub in Hawkshead.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

surprises around every corner, but not too many to wear one out or get one lost. Happily, good food and drink is readily available for all meals, snacks, and tea-times. Best known (and recommended) are The Sun Inn, The Kings Arms, The Queen’s Head, and The Red Lion Inn restaurant/pubs in the village center.
          If most people come to Hawkshead to stroll, shop, eat, and drink, there are other draws, too. England’s great Romantic poet
William Wordsworth lived here as a youth and was schooled in the old village school during the same years that the United States was gaining independence from Britain. The old schoolhouse

 

(founded 1585; chartered by Queen Elizabeth I) still stands today, and is a popular stop for those tracing Wordsworth’s life and times in the Lake District.
          One hundred years later the world-famous creator of
Peter Rabbit and other children’s stories, Beatrix Potter, made Hawkshead and vicinity her home. She married a local barrister, whose law office (in a 16th century building) on Main Street now houses the Beatrix Potter Gallery, maintained by England’s National Trust. Visitors interested in learning more about Ms. Potter stop here and at her restored home, Hill Top, in nearby Near Sawrey.

The 17th century Queens Head Hotel: another delightful restaurant pub in the center of Hawkshead. Photo © Home At First.
The 17th century Queens Head Hotel:
another delightful restaurant pub
in the center of Hawkshead.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

 

Boarding a launch for an hour's cruise on the Coniston Water, about five miles west of Hawkshead. Photo © Home At First.
Boarding a launch for an hour's cruise
on the Coniston Water, about five
miles west of Hawkshead.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

THE LOCATION AND ACTIVITIES: It’s the Lake District, after all – shouldn’t there be a lake nearby? Hawkshead is not on a lake.
The Esthwaite Water
, a smallish (1.5mi. long) Cumbrian lake, is one mile SE of town.
Fishing:
the lake attracts anglers year round to fish for its stocked trout, pike, and other fish. Rods, tackle, boats, and various permits/licenses are available at the Esthwaite Water Trout Fishery office at The Boathouse on the SW corner of the lake.
         Better known lakes offering scheduled passenger cruises are in the parallel valleys east and west of Hawkshead:
Lake Windermere

 

(England’s largest natural lake, 3.5mi east of Hawkshead) and Coniston Water (3rd largest lake in the Lake District, 4.5mi west of Hawkshead). Both of these large lakes offer boat cruises and exploring by car, bicycle, and on foot.
         The finger (or ribbon) lakes of the Lake District are a legacy of the Ice Ages, when retreating glaciers left narrow, scoured, water-filled depressions between undulating, high ridges. As noted, the lakes and valleys have their attractions. The hills have their attractions, too. Surrounding Hawkshead are hills ranging from gentle to grand. Here walkers, hikers, and climbers find challenges to meet their level and interest, starting with the fairly easy hike up 800-feet-high
Latterbarrow just east of Hawkshead. The view from the ridge top

National Trust marker along the trail ascending Latterbarrow, a ridge between the Esthwaite Water and Lake Windermere. The walk is neither long nor especially challenging, and the views from the top provide a sweeping overview of the southern Lake District. Photo © Home At First.
National Trust marker along the trail
ascending Latterbarrow, a ridge between
the Esthwaite Water and Lake Windermere.
 The walk is neither long nor especially
 challenging, and the views from the top
provide a sweeping overview of the
southern Lake District. The trail is
within the National Trust's protected
 Latterbarrow Estate.

Photo © HOME AT FIRST

provides a grand panorama of Lake Windermere

  

and the Lake District. This introductory walk begins at Hawkshead. Subsequent hikes require a drive to the trailhead. But even the biggest mountains of the Lake District, including Scafell Pike (England’s highest peak at 3,200 feet above sea level; about 40 twisting miles away by road but only 11 miles distant as the crow flies) are within day-trip range of Hawkshead.
 

 

AVAILABILITY: For current availability information,
call
HOME AT FIRST at (800) 523-5842,
or contact us by e-mail at
: info@homeatfirst.com.

 
 

Learn more about HOME AT FIRST's travel program to THE LAKE DISTRICT.

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