Autumn Tints of the Lake District
It’s easy to see why so many celebrated literary figures chose to call the Lake District home - this part of the country is simply spectacular. By far the UK’s most popular national park, the Lake District was given UNESCO World Heritage Status in 2017 and its spellbinding landscape of rolling mountains and sprawling lakes is sure to inspire even the most uncreative soul!
Taking a leaf from the books of the area’s most famous residents, we will embark upon a scenic, story-filled tour, paying visits to Beatrix Potter’s 17th century farmhouse known as Hill Top and the nearby art gallery, William Wordsworth’s idyllic Dove Cottage and artist and critic John Ruskin’s Brantwood. Further highlights include the ‘Arts and Crafts’ house of Blackwell and the splendid gardens of Sizergh Castle and Levens Hall, which at this time of year will be donning their autumn mantles.
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Day 1 -
Depart by coach from our pick-up points in London, Luton, Northampton, Birmingham and Lancaster (connecting rail travel to/from Lancaster can be arranged on request). Our first visit is to Sizergh Castle, near Kendal. Originally built in the Middle Ages by the Strickland family, who still live here, this imposing house at the gateway to the Lake District stands proud in a rich and beautiful garden, with a pond, a lake, an important collection of hardy ferns and a superb limestone rock garden. The estate is crossed with footpaths, giving stunning views over Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland hills.
We then continue to our comfortable accommodation at the 3-star Skiddaw Hotel in the heart of the picturesque market town of Keswick.
Dinner will be served in the hotel this evening.
|Hotel||Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick|
Day 2 -
Today, following breakfast, we begin with a visit to Dove Cottage, in Grasmere, William Wordsworth’s home from 1799 to 1808 and now an award-winning museum. This is where much of his poetry was written and is home to the very couch referred to in the poem ‘Daffodils’. There were many famous visitors to Dove Cottage during Wordsworth’s time here: Walter Scott, Thomas De Quincey, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, to name but a few. Much of his life at Dove Cottage was centred around the garden and orchard, the harshness of the white-wash cottage subdued by his training of roses, honeysuckle and scarlet beans to clamber up the walls. His sister Dorothy brought plants such as wild thyme and wild orchids from the side the lake.
We move on to the house and gardens of Rydal Mount, which was Wordsworth’s best-loved family home for the greater part of his life from 1813 to his death in 1850. The house, which is still owned by the Wordsworth family, dates from the 16th century but was enlarged over the years, even by Wordsworth himself. It contains a selection of the family’s prized possessions and portraits. Wordsworth was a keen landscape gardener and the five acre garden remains very much as he designed it, consisting of fell-side terraces, rock pools and an ancient mound.
In the afternoon we visit the Arts & Crafts house of Blackwell, overlooking Lake Windermere. Architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott designed Blackwell as a holiday home for Manchester brewer Sir Edward Holt, Lady Holt and their five children in 1901 and is considered a masterpiece of artistic design. There are original decorative features by leading Arts & Crafts designers, including a rare hessian wall-hanging in the Dining Room, leaf-shaped door handles, ornate window catches, spectacular plasterwork, stained glass and carved wooden panelling. The original gardens were laid out by Arts & Crafts garden designer Thomas Mawson in a series of terraces to achieve the very best views from the house, looking over the lake towards the Coniston fells. Today, Blackwell is bordered by beautiful flower beds set against a terrace of York stone paving, providing shelter for garden chairs and tables surrounded by fragrant flowers and herbs.
We return to our hotel, where dinner is served in the evening.
|Hotel||Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick|
|Meals included||Breakfast, Dinner|
Day 3 -
After breakfast this morning we travel to Bowness-in-Windermere where there will be some free time browse round the shops or perhaps visit the popular attraction Beatrix Potter World (admission not included).
We continue to Hill Top, the delightful 17th century farmhouse where Beatrix Potter wrote many of her children’s stories. Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with the royalties from her first few books which had been inspired by her annual holidays in the Lake District. Characters such as Tom Kitten, Samuel Whiskers and Jemima Puddleduck were all born here and the books contain many pictures based on the house and garden. When she died in 1943 she left the house to the National Trust with the proviso that it be kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china. There is also a lovely cottage garden and shop specialising in Beatrix Potter gifts.
Our theme continues at the Beatrix Potter Gallery, a 17th century solicitor’s office now home to her original watercolours and sketches. This was once the office of the author’s husband, local solicitor William Heelis, and the property has remained largely unaltered since his day. The Gallery also contains a display covering the story of Beatrix’s life through its various stages, offering a unique insight into her life and times.
This afternoon we visit the house & gardens at Brantwood. Home of the late John Ruskin, Brantwood House was largely conceived as a “living laboratory” for social and environmental issues, each incorporating a careful, aesthetic mix of seemingly natural effects embellished by man. The “Hortus Inclusus” – a medieval-style garden, contains an extensive collection of British native herbs. Behind the house over 270 different British hardy ferns thrive beneath the tall oaks of the Linton Fern Garden. Closer to the house is the Professor’s Garden, Ruskin’s cottage garden experiment, which has been restored in the spirit of its creator. A selection of herbs, cottage flowers and 19th century varieties of fruit thrive in this small plot.
Dinner is served in the evening back at our hotel.
|Hotel||Skiddaw Hotel, Keswick|
Day 4 -
Following breakfast we check out of the hotel and begin our homeward journey, with time for one more visit en route. This afternoon we will visit the gardens at Levens Hall. The topiary gardens are world-famous and were created in 1694 by Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont, who had been trained under Le Nôtre at Versailles, and who laid out the gardens at Hampton Court. Under the magnificent topiary sculpted from box and yew there is a spectacular under-planting populated with an ever-changing range of over thirty thousand flowers. Further on, beyond the romantic old orchard and separated by the great beech hedges, lie the magnificent herbaceous borders. These are traditionally double in format and are amongst the finest to be found in England. There is also a rose garden, a nuttery and a fountain garden laid out with pleached limes in 1994 to celebrate 300 years of the gardens at Levens Hall.
We then continue to our original departure points, beginning with Lancaster Railway Station for those with rail connections and arriving back in London in the evening.
Tour dates & prices
Included in your cost:
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
|Tour Departure||Tour ID||Departure date||Return Date||Guided by||Price||Deposit||Single supplement||Offer||Availability|
|31 October 2021||BATL211031||31 October 2021 (Sunday)||3 November 2021 (Wednesday)||£695
|2 May 2022||BATL220502||2 May 2022 (Monday)||5 May 2022 (Thursday)||£775
|31 October 2022||BATL221031||31 October 2022 (Monday)||3 November 2022 (Thursday)||£695