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Hawkshead has flourished from its beginnings as a Medieval market town. Today Hawkshead, with its car-free village centre, is the perfect place for the visitor to experience the 'real' Lake District. The cobbled streets, squares and courtyards of much of Hawkshead and the beautiful whitewashed cottages, topped with local Lakeland slate, give this little place a magical feel. Hawkshead is steeped in history and heritage ranging from the ruins of Hawkshead Hall, built by Medieval monks, the 15thC St Michael's Parish church and court house to later buildings such as the grammar school, 1855, which William Wordsworth famously attended. The village also features a Beatrix Potter gallery, Hawkshead being only 3.2 km from Hill Top at Near Sawrey where Potter wrote many of her books. The scenery surrounding Hawkshead is some of the finest in the Lake District with Grizedale Forest to the south, Lake Windermere to the east and Lake Coniston to the west, as well as the fine moorland encircling much of the area around Hawkshead. Hawkshead also offers many shopping opportunities with items for sale ranging from souvenirs to climbing and walking paraphernalia.