Some things to do and places to visit near Virginia Cottage Guest House
Windermere Lake Cruises
Boats sail from the Bowness piers throughout the year, offering a variety of trips including full or half lake cruises, an islands cruise, a cruise to Lakeside and its steam railway, and combined cruise and walk options. The piers are about 250 metres from Virginia Cottage.
Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum
Dove Cottage was William Wordsworth’s home from 1799 to 1808 during his most prolific years as a poet. It is located 5 miles north of Bowness on the edge of Grasmere.
Located 1.5 miles south of Bowness, Blackwell is one of England’s finest houses from the turn of the last century, being an important example of Arts and Crafts architecture designed by M H Baillie Scott.
Holker Hall and Gardens
Owned by Lord and Lady Cavendish, Holker Hall is a stately home containing many treasures, including a magnificent library of over three thousand books and a hand carved cantilever staircase. The award winning gardens cover acres of parkland, with a herd of fallow deer. The house is located about 1½ miles from Cartmel, some 15 miles from Bowness.
Beatrix Potter Attraction
Located only 300 metres from Virginia Cottage, it is the only official Peter Rabbit attraction in the UK. Recently refurbished, all 23 tales are brought to life, from Mr McGregor’s garden to the woodland glade. A new multi-screen presentation guides you through the pioneering life of Beatrix Potter.
Bowness & Windermere
The linked towns of Windermere and Bowness at the heart of the Lake District have been an attraction for visitors since Victorian times and the arrival of the railway. With the lake shore of Windermere so close, there is always something to do whatever the season – walking along the lakeside, enjoying panoramic views of the lake and mountains from several viewpoints, experiencing a whole host of water-based activities, luxuriating in the pleasures of travelling around the area by steamer, open-top bus or steam train or discovering the lake for yourself by hiring a rowing boat or dinghy, or taking a cruise.
Away from the lake shore is a varied choice of heritage sites, historic houses, fortified farm houses, colourful gardens and other visitor attractions
Windermere, a narrow finger of water some 17km (10.5 miles) long stretching from Ambleside in the north to Newby Bridge in the south, is the focus for a variety of water pursuits – sailing, canoeing, kayaking, rowing, windsurfing, and the more unusual scenic cruises. The comfortable cruisers call at Lakeside, Bowness, Brockhole and Ambleside.
Bowness grew from a small fishing village to bustling tourist destination once the railway came to Windermere in 1847 and now offers a cosmopolitan mix of shops and restaurants, and a large choice of accommodation to suit all pockets.
The town of Windermere has a more sedate feel, centred on a compact shopping area with art galleries and cafes alongside traditional shops such as butchers, bakers and a well-stocked ironmongery store. This was as far as the railway penetrated into the southern Lakes, bringing many thousands of visitors to marvel at the beauty of the lake and its surroundings.
Although there has been a settlement here since pre-Roman times, Ambleside is largely a Victorian town.
Ambleside has now become a major tourist resort with shops, hotels and restaurants, and is one of the best town bases for exploring the Lake District.
Many well known characters have been connected with Ambleside, including William Wordsworth, Hardwicke Rawnsley, John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter. More about these people can be found in the The Armitt Museum,
William Wordsworth had an office here, in Church Street, as a result of his role as Collector of Stamps for Westmorland. He was elected to the post soon after his family moved to their house at Rydal Mount. There is a chapel devoted to the memory of William Wordsworth.
A short walk from the centre of the village leads to Stock Ghyll Force, a spectacular 21 metre/70 foot waterfall which may be viewed safely from a railed viewpoint. In spring, the area under the trees is a carpet of daffodils. Once there were 12 watermills driven by the power of Stock Ghyll and other local becks. The 17th Century Bridge House over Stock Ghyll is one of the most photographed scenes in Lakeland, and is now a shop and information centre for the National Trust.
Situated between the huge bulk of Skiddaw and the gentle beauty of Derwentwater, Keswick has become the major centre for tourism in the north lakes. It is connected to the trains at Windermere station by the 555 bus service.
This pretty market town offers a wide range of attractions for visitors, from shops and restaurants to museums with a difference, and boating trips around Derwentwater. In 1276 Edward I granted the town its market charter, and the Saturday market continues to this day. In the centre if the Main Street is the Moot Hall, now home to the Tourist Information Centre.
Hawkshead is an ancient township that has flourished since Norse times, belonging to Furness Abbey until the 12th Century. The monks owned Hawkshead Hall, just outside the village, of which the National Trust owned Hawkshead Courthouse is all that remains. After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1537, Hawkshead grew as a market town, with many buildings dating from the 17th Century.
Hawkshead is still the same mixture of higgledy-piggledy houses, archways, and squares beloved by William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter. Cars are banned from the centre, there being a large car park on the outskirts of the village. Tourism is now the main industry of Hawkshead, with many pleasant inns, teashops and gift shops.
The Old Grammar School was founded in 1585 by the Archbishop of York, Edwin Sandys. The ground floor classroom retains many old desks covered in carving done by the boys, including the poet William Wordsworth and his brother John. The building only closed as a school 1909. Upstairs is the headmaster’s study and a classroom containing an exhibition relating to the history of the school, the founder and William Wordsworth.
The Beatrix Potter Gallery, a 17th Century building, was once the office of the local solicitor William Heelis, who married Beatrix Potter in 1913, and has remained largely unaltered since his day. The Gallery, now owned by The National Trust, houses an annually changing exhibition of a selection of Beatrix Potter’s original drawings and illustrations. The National Trust also own many other buildings in the village, thus preserving its almost museum like air.
In addition there are many other attractions within easy walking distance or a short drive and there is an excellent bus service throughout the Lake District…
- Lake Windermere with boating, yachting & fishing
- Horse riding & pony trekking
- Fell & woodland walks
- Water sports
- Steamboat museum
- Shops & restaurants
- Cycle Hire