“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.”
“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.”
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.
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 Sawry—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
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 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
featuring exposed beam ceiling, window
seat, antique furnishings, even a fireplace.
accessories, a working fireplace, and
a modern, flat-screen TV combine to
make the living room at Hawkshead
House a special gathering place.
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 elegant dining room
House serves equally well for formal
dining as it does for casual meals.
well-equipped kitchen adds
an up-to-date beauty and practicality
to the traditional farmhouse home.
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.
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 & tea-takers
fill Hawkshead's car-free square in front of the Beatrix Potter Gallery.
The Hawkshead Relish
Company: prime example
of a successful niche craft business that thrives
in the "honeypot" village of Hawkshead.
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.
The 15th century Red
oldest pub in Hawkshead.
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
If most people come to Hawkshead to stroll, shop, eat, and
drink, there are other draws, too. England’s great Romantic poet
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
and other children’s stories,
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
another delightful restaurant pub
in the center of Hawkshead.
Boarding a launch for an
on the Coniston Water, about five
miles west of Hawkshead.
It’s the Lake District, after all – shouldn’t there be a lake nearby?
Hawkshead is not on a lake.
Water, a smallish
(1.5mi. long) Cumbrian lake, is one mile SE of town.
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:
(England’s largest natural lake, 3.5mi east of Hawkshead) and
(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
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
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
just east of Hawkshead. The view from the
ridge top 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
(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.
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