The Lake District is famous for its breathtaking beauty and incredible scenery; hills and lakes that give us an endless playground to explore. But as the nights approach and the temperatures start to drop, it’s always worth having a cold or rainy alternative up your sleeve. So why not visit one of the many museums in the area, a chance to step back in time and delve into the rich history of the Lake District? And if you need a little inspiration, here are ten of our favorites.
Windermere Pier Museum
The Windermere Pier Museum is located on the shores of Lake Windermere and has a superb collection of boats and sailing ships, including steamboats, speedboats and motorboats.
As well as showing a history of sailing on Windermere dating back to the 18th century, you’ll also get to see ongoing restoration projects.
Ships include Swallow and Amazon, circa 1950, the ship used in the BBC’s film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Beatrix Potter’s Tarn, circa 1890; and SL Dolly (c. 1850), the oldest mechanically propelled boat in the world (still in working order).
Lakeland Automotive Museum
Sticking with the transportation theme, the Lakeland Motor Museum is home to more than 30,000 exhibits ranging from vintage fire trucks to collectible toys. It is an absolute must for any motor enthusiast.
The museum is located in an old mill in the village of Backbarrow. Among the approximately 30,000 exhibits are around 140 classic cars and motorcycles, plus a host of other “automobilia”. Take a trip down memory lane as you stroll through more than 100 years of automotive history, as well as local history, authentic recreations, and vintage shopping displays.
You can also see the exhibition devoted to the work of Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, who between them set twenty-one land and water speed records. The exhibit includes a timeline of their accomplishments, as well as full-size replicas of the 1935 Bluebird car, 1939 Bluebird boat, and 1967 Bluebird K7 jet seaplane.
Barrow Wharf Museum
Built in a historic 19e A quayside of the last century, the Barrow Dock Museum houses a range of artefacts tracing the social and industrial history of the Furness region.
Discover how Barrow started life as a small farming village before transforming into a bustling industrial center in just a few decades.
Since then, this little explored city has been at the forefront of maritime technology, building submarines, warships and beautiful ocean liners.
The Barrow Dock Museum gives you the opportunity to learn about the area’s fascinating heritage, as well as Barrow’s long shipbuilding history.
If you are reading this article anywhere other than A Luxury Travel Blog, chances are this content was stolen without permission.
Please note the web address above and contact A Luxury Travel Blog to let them know about this issue.
Thank you for your help in the fight against content theft.
Derwent Pencil Museum
Yes, there really is a museum to celebrate the humble pencil and we can assure you that a trip to the Derwent Pencil Museum in Keswick is a great day out for all the family.
On your tour, which begins with the entrance to a replica of a graphite mine, you will learn that Keswick was the home of the first pencil and that the graphite, used to make the famous Derwent pencils, was discovered for the first time in Borrowdale where farmers used it to brand their sheep.
After leaving the “mine”, you will discover the origins of the Derwent Pencil company which started life as a small artisanal production, as well as amazing historical facts. For example, the secret pencils that were used during World War II and which contain hidden maps; the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Special Pencil; and miniature pencil sculptures.
End your trip with a photo of you alongside the star of the museum – a giant 8m tall pencil.
Laurel and Hardy Museum
Housed in a 1937 art deco cinema in Ulverston, the famous Laurel and Hardy Museum is considered the greatest collection of Laurel and Hardy memorabilia. But why Ulverston? Because it’s the birthplace of half the comedy duo – in 1890, Stan Laurel was born a few blocks away, at Foundry Cottages, now Argyll Street.
The museum started life as a photo man filling a few albums until the collection filled a small room. The collection has continued to grow and today includes costumes, letters and even furniture worn by films, as well as the possibility of seeing some of their films.
Dove Cottage and Wordsworth Museum
“I was wandering alone like a cloud, which floats above valleys and hills, when suddenly I saw a crowd, a crowd of golden daffodils”.
Arguably the most famous lyrical words written by William Wordsworth, they were written in 1804 when the poet was living at Dove Cottage with his sister Dorothy.
Located on the outskirts of the village of Grasmere, Dove Cottage was the home of famous romantic poet William Wordsworth, his wife Mary and sister Dorothy.
Today the cottage is run by the Wordsworth Trust and gives you the chance to experience the sights, sounds and smells of Dove Cottage. Adjoining the cottage is the Wordsworth Museum where excerpts from his poems and his sister’s Grasmere diary tell the story of their life here.
Top of the hill, home of Beatrix Potter
Let’s move on to another Lake District legend – Beatrix Potter. Beatrix Potter is part of the Lake District landscape. Wherever you go, you’ll likely come across something related to the author, whether it’s Peter Rabbit merchandise or local kids’ attractions.
Hill Top was Beatrix Potter’s former home, purchased with proceeds from ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’. Run by the National Trust, the house is a time capsule of her life in the Lake District and feels like she has just walked around.
The environment inspired so many of his books – in fact, “The Tale of Samuel Whiskers” was set entirely in the house and many of the book’s illustrations match furniture still present today.
Stroll through the gardens and spot the rhubarb field where Jemima Puddle-Duck laid her egg, as well as the garden where Tom Kitten and his sisters played.
Ruskin Museum, Coniston
The Ruskin Museum opened in 1901 as a tribute to writer, artist and social reformer John Ruskin.
Inside, you’ll learn more about John Ruskin, what inspired him, and how his thought and ideas influenced modern society, including the founding of the National Trust and modern environmentalism.
The museum also details the efforts of Donald Campbell and his quest to become the fastest person on land and water as well as author Arthur Ransome who was so fascinated by the Lake District and the local landscape that he was inspired to write ‘Swallows and Amazons’. .
Whatever your interests, from history to geology, art to engineering, you are sure to find something of interest at the Ruskin Museum.
Founded in 1796 by William Todhunter, Kendal is one of the oldest museums in the UK. And you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find there, including Europe’s largest collection of taxidermy – you’ll even come face to face with a life-size polar bear.
In fact, the Kendal Museum is full of curiosities, historical artifacts, and informative exhibits. This smaller-scale natural history museum has something for everyone, including several internationally recognized collections.
This is a tourist attraction of distinction – not only will you be engaged, but you will be captivated.
Hawkshead High School Museum
The Hawkshead Grammar School Museum is located in the picturesque Lake District village of Hawkshead and provides a glimpse of what school life would have been like for its pupils since it opened in 1585. Among those pupils were none other than William Wordsworth.
Anyone visiting the museum will have access to the main classroom, the director’s office and the upstairs classroom, which is now an exhibition hall displaying many fascinating artifacts, books and documents relating to the school and those who have been associated with it over the years. .
There are so many wonderful museums in the Lake District and Cumbria so narrowing it down to just ten was a challenge. Rest assured that wherever you are in the region, from Whitehaven to Windermere, from Carlisle to Keswick, you will find something to pique your interest.
Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Ground Estate Company Limited, which owns a number of holiday homes in the Lake District including Birkdale House. Birkdale House is a luxury Victorian residence in the heart of a private estate in the English Lake District.
If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog to raise your profile, please contact us.