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Lakes Culture World Heritage Signature Experiences - Ambleside, Windermere & Kendal (Bridge House picture: 'The Bridge House, Ambleside' by Kurt Schwitters 1945. Courtesy of the Armitt Trust)
Lakes Culture World Heritage Signature Experiences - Ambleside, Windermere & Kendal (Bridge House picture: 'The Bridge House, Ambleside' by Kurt Schwitters 1945. Courtesy of the Armitt Trust)

World Heritage Signature Experiences
Ambleside, Windermere & Kendal

Since 1847, with the arrival of the railway, this south Lakes area has been a popular visitor destination; not least because it is home to England’s longest and largest natural lake – Windermere. You can arrive by train at Oxenholme Station near Kendal in less than three hours from London and 1.5 hours from Manchester making it a perfect place to feel like you’re really getting away from the busy built up cities.

With our partners Lakes Culture, we have selected some authentic and creative ways for you to experience some of the hidden treasures these popular Cumbrian places hold. You could also mix in a few Signature Experiences from our other selections!

Burning Creativity

The Art of Charcoal

The Art of Charcoal Workshop

Enjoy a day reliving the old Cumbrian industry of charcoal production. The morning will focus on you making your own charcoal from locally sourced wood and then move on to discovering how to use your charcoal to create drawings inspired by the surrounding woodland. As well as preparing and baking the wood to make charcoal, you will learn about the history of the ancient craft of charcoal making in the Windermere area. All materials and equipment will be provided and you will get to take home your own hand made charcoal.

This is a hands on, practical, messy and creative day to give you (or someone else as a unique gift) a lively and enriching experience, supported throughout the day with experts.

This event takes place at 10am-4pm on 17 July at the National Trust’s Footprint Building at St Catherine’s near Windermere.

Paint Like Schwitters

Laugh, learn and create your own masterpiece in 2 hours

Let your inspiration flow at an enjoyable evening at Abbot Hall Art Gallery where you can learn to paint a Schwitters-style landscape in two hours. Start the evening by discovering the inspiring story behind one of the major artists of European Modernism; how Schwitters found a new life in Ambleside after fleeing Nazi Germany. After being inspired by Schwitters’ original artwork, professional artist Hamish McLain will guide you, step-by-step, from a blank canvas to your own masterpiece. No experience is necessary and all materials will be provided as part of the event.

The Paint Like Schwitters experience is for those looking for something different and creative to do with friends while sharing a few laughs over a drink or two. Wine, beer and finger food will be available to buy at the Bakestone Café. This event is for adults aged 18+

This event takes place 7-9pm on 17 May at the Bakestone Café and Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Joint tickets are available with the Paint Like Monet experience.

Book tickets and more info here

Paint Night - Abbot Hall, Kendal

A Masterpiece

Blackwell - The Arts & Crafts House

An artistic masterpiece that can’t be seen in a gallery

Blackwell is a masterpiece of the Arts & Crafts Movement lovingly and beautifully created by renowned architect MH Ballie Scott and located in an equally stunning setting overlooking England’s longest lake and the Lake District mountains beyond.

The place is one of beauty with many contemporary arts and crafts on show and for sale – linking our cultural heritage with today’s creative spirit. Families are welcome especially during the school holidays when there are lively activities in place to help children get involved in the history of house, including a Children's Trail activity sheet to help them explore. The freshly baked cakes in the Tea Room are a must!

More info and book tickets

Explosive History

Uncover our explosive history in Langdale and see what remains today

The industries that used to take place in the Lake District have had a profound impact on the way the landscape looks today.

Download this self-guided walk around the Langdale Estate and learn about the gunpowder history of the area and what the buildings you see today were used for.

See authentic blast walls, machinery and photographs to help you to imagine the dangerous and sometimes fatal life of Lakeland workers in the 19th century.

Download route map

Self-Guided walk around Langdale, with Lakes Culture

Change how you see things

Windermere Lake Cruises

Instead of looking at the lake from the land, turn things around and take in the remarkable World Heritage landscape from the lake.

Many different tours are available linking the key locations around Lake Windermere and extra location stops are available during the summer season, making it a relaxing way to take in attractions such as the Lakeside & Haverthwaite Steam Railway, Brockhole Visitor Centre and the Lakes Aquarium where you can learn about local wildlife and conservation projects.

Enjoy the World Heritage scenery whilst also helping to protect it by cruising England’s largest lake and reducing your carbon footprint.

High Dam, Newby Bridge

Delve deep

The Bridge House, Ambleside by Kurt Schwitters 1945. Courtesy of the Armitt Trust

Discover rare historical art and archives at The Armitt

The Armitt Museum, Gallery and Library, in the bustling town of Ambleside is a treasure trove of antique books, photographs, art and artefacts that preserve and let us share in the cultural heritage of the Lake District.

The permanent exhibition is a must for all Beatrix Potter fans; the museum holds a fantastic collection of her life and works that she bequeathed to museum from her scientific drawings to her personal first edition of her ‘little books’ she’s known for the world over. The Armitt also has the largest collection of works on permanent display in Britain of the internationally important artist Kurt Schwitters.

To get more than a glimpse of our authentic cultural history, make sure you stop by.

Find out more

Be an early Lake District tourist

Experience the
Grand Victorian Circular Tour

Accompanied by an entertaining and knowledgeable National Trust tour guide you can relive the Lake District as the early tourists did in the Victorian and Edwardian era. The full day experience includes being transported by steam train and luxury steam yacht, a delicious picnic and taking in key viewing points. We’ve added a little help from modernity to make the connections easier and more comfortable, and feel free to use your camera or phone to capture the views instead of needing to draw them in your sketchbooks.

This event takes place on 15 June and 7 Sept. Book on to one of the dates or small groups are welcome to get in touch to arrange a date.

Book and more info

Grand Victorian Circular Tour

Find places to stay

We have a collection of great places to stay around the Ambleside, Windermere and Kendal area.
Please click any of the links below to view details and book your stay.

Brantholme Guest House

Brantholme Guest House

Prime example of a Lakeland Victorian Villa sympathetically modernised to a very high standard, with stunning, unobstructed fell views. All rooms have super-king size beds, en suite with separate bath & shower, 40" TV & free internet.

7 Lingmoor View, lounge

2 & 7 Lingmoor View

These two traditional Lakeland cottages are beautifully situated in Great Langdale valley in the heart of the Lake District where there are numerous walks to suit all abilities and ambitions.

Mill Beck

Mill Beck

A delightful, modern, 2-bedroomed house with south-facing patio garden in a quiet courtyard location with its own private parking. It has been furnished and equipped to a very high standard with full gas central heating and free WiFi.

Greaves Farm Caravan Park - Savoy

Greaves Farm Caravan Park

A small quiet park, family owned and supervised in a rural setting. The small static park is situated in an old farm orchard and has 2 luxury VisitEngland accredited caravans for hire. Ideal base for south of Lake District National Park.

Shaw End Mansion

Shaw End Mansion

Situated on a 200-acre estate, in a beautiful location and surrounded by fields and woodland, Shaw End Mansions 4 stylish and spacious Georgian apartments with open fireplaces, provide an excellent holiday base.

The Wordsworth Hotel bedroom

The Wordsworth Hotel and Spa

The Wordsworth Hotel is a charming four-star hotel with a tranquil spa and double AA-Rosette awarded restaurant.

Melbourne Guest House

Melbourne Guest House

The Melbourne Guest house in Bowness Village, on Lake Windermere offers guests worldwide a cheerful and friendly welcome from this family run establishment.

High Swinklebank Farm

High Swinklebank Farm

High Swinklebank is a hill sheepfarm with local Kendal rough fell sheep. It is in one of the beautiful unspoilt valleys of the Lake District. Ideal for walking, relaxing and getting away from it all.

Stockghyll Cottage

Stockghyll Cottage

Beautiful Lakeland stone cottage in a delightful wooded setting with a stream and waterfall in the lovely gardens. Only 10 minutes level stroll to Bowness town centre. Local produce used for yummy full English breakfasts.

Bank Cottage living room

Bank Cottage

Detached single storey cottage away from the traffic in mature surroundings, with garage, private parking, sunny terrace with built in bbq and gardens. Walker friendly. Suitable for visitors with minor mobility problems, as ground floor.

Broadrayne Farm

Grasmere Independent Hostel

This small, quiet, deluxe hostel is superbly situated on a farm in the heart of the Lakes, adjacent to the Coast to Coast route. See the best of Lakeland from our doorstep

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Daw Bank

Daw Bank is a traditional Lakeland slate cottage located in an enviable position right in the centre of Chapel Stile with the excellent village store just a stone's throw away and Wainwrights Inn just a short stroll.

Wistaria Cottage & No.3 Main Street

Wistaria Cottage & No.3 Main Street

Traditional 18thC cottages in the village centre, ideal for fell and valley walking. Tastefully furnished and well equipped. Serviced by owners. Off-peak heating and open log fires. Sleeps 4 & 3.

Ambleside Salutaion Hotel

Ambleside Salutation Hotel

Central Lake District location ideal for sight-seeing and walking. Overlooking the centre of the market town of Ambleside, the Ambleside Salutation Hotel has welcomed visitors since the 1600s.

Oaklands Guest House

Oaklands Guest House

Large spacious rooms with superb quality pocket sprung beds and quality fittings, fresh local produce used for breakfast.

Storrs Gate House

Storrs Gate House

Bed and Breakfast of the Year, Cumbria Tourism Awards 2009. Storrs Gate House has a five star grading with Visit Britain. Vince and Shirley welcome you to our luxury family run country guest house, situated opposite lake Windermere.

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Heron Cottage

We are sure our guests will enjoy a visit to Heron Cottage set at the foot of The Kirkstone Pass, just out of Ambleside centre, only a short stroll from local facilities, pubs, restaurants, shops and entertainments and with membership inclu

Walker Ground Barn

Walker Ground Barn

This converted traditional Lakeland stone barn is situated in a picturesque rural location at the end of a small lane and next to the bridle path leading to Grizedale Forrest. Sleeps 4, accepts 1 well behaved dog. Change over day Saturday.

Virginia Cottage

Virginia Cottage Guest House

Virginia Cottage is a traditional Lakeland guest house in a convenient location 200 meters from Lake Windermere, and ideally positioned for guests to tour the lakes and mountains of Cumbria.

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Waterhead Cottage

Waterhead Cottage is a delightful purpose built property with all the comforts of home. Set in a convenient location in-between Ambleside and Windermere in five acres of grounds with lake access and jetty for boat mooring and launching

We are the Lakes
Blackwell Arts and Crafts House, Bowness-on-Windermere

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