Tag: blackwell arts and crafts

Blackwell House. The Arts & Crafts House

Blackwell House

Just outside Bowness-on-Windermere is Blackwell House, one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.

This Grade 1 listed building is an absolute must if you’re interested in the Arts and Crafts movement. We think it’s an absolute must even if you’re not.

Designed by noted architect, Mackay Baillie Scott, Blackwell House was built at the turn of the 20th century as a luxury country retreat for Sir Edward Holt, a wealthy Manchester brewer. Situated in a stunning setting overlooking Windermere, the house boasts glorious views of the Lake District landscape and the Coniston fells. This would have been the perfect holiday home.

Today the house maintains many of its original decorative features. From intricate carved panelling to stained glass windows, decorative plaster and metal work to bespoke fabrics, much of the house remains exactly as Sir Edward Holt and his family would have seen it over one hundred years ago.

It is also home to a wonderful collection of furniture, objects and paintings, many of which have their origins in the Arts & Crafts style. Visitors are also able to take in the multiple displays which are available to see throughout the year, exhibitions and events which offer visitors the opportunity to learn more about the Arts and Crafts movement.

The Arts and Crafts Movement

The Arts and Crafts movement began in the late nineteenth century and marked the beginning of a change in how society viewed how things were made. There was a renewed interest in hand-made and traditional crafts. This was not only a direct reaction to the fear that mass production would create a characterless, bland world, but also an attempt to boost the relatively lowly status of the decorative arts.

The development of the movement was driven by figures such as John Ruskin, who lived at Brantwood on the shores of Coniston Water, and the designer, William Morris.

Taking its name from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, a group founded in London in 1887, the movement reformed the design and manufacture of everything from buildings right through to jewellery.

For more information about the Arts and Crafts movement, visit the Victoria and Albert Museum website.

Blackwell House – a potted history

After the First World War, the Holt family stopped visiting Blackwell, but continued to employ a small staff to maintain it.

Like so many other large country properties, Blackwell House was home to a school which had been evacuated due to the threat of air raids. The girls from Liverpool’s Huyton College are said to have enjoyed their time at Blackwell. Following the war, the house continued to be used as a prep school for girls.

In 1999, the Lakeland Arts Trust, which also owns Abbot Hall in Kendal, acquired the house and in 2001 it first opened its doors to the public. Twenty years on, we’re looking forward to being able to visit this magnificent house once again, to soak up its atmosphere and to take in its beauty and craftmanship.

The gardens and tearoom are well worth a visit too.

For more information take a look at the Lakeland Arts website

Attractions and Activities near Windermere

Attractions and activities near Windermere

In October, Cumbria Tourism launched its #AttractionsActivitiesMonth, and while October may have been and gone, we thought we would share some of our favourite attractions and activities near Windermere. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to support our local businesses.

To include all the amazing attractions on offer to visitors to the Lake District would be a very long read, so we’ve focused on just five, but all within easy reach of our Windermere cottages.

What’s more, there’s something for all ages, something for the more adventurous among us, and something for those who prefer it a little calmer.

Let’s start with the World of Beatrix Potter and our favourite character, Peter Rabbit.

The World of Beatrix Potter

Located right in the middle of Bowness-on-Windermere, the World of Beatrix Potter is an exciting family attraction and an absolute must if you’ve got young children.

Here, the author’s best-loved characters are brought wonderfully to life through a series of charming sets, including Jemima Puddleduck’s woodland glade, Squirrel Nutkin on his raft and Mr McGregor’s garden, complete with Peter Rabbit’s coat.

As the website says, “you’ll feel as though you are walking through the pages of the little books”.

At the end of your visit, pop into the world-famous giftshop and take home a piece of Beatrix Potter magic, followed by a tasty treat in the family café?

Blackwell, The Arts and Crafts House

Designed by noted architect Mackay Hugh Baillie Scott and built at the turn of the twentieth century, Blackwell is a stunning grade one listed property and one of the UK’s finest examples of Arts and Crafts architecture.

The house, which overlooks Lake Windermere and the Lake District Fells, is nothing short of awe-inspiring, retaining almost all of its original Arts and Crafts features. It’s also home to a wonderful collection of furniture and objects from some of the Arts and Crafts period’s leading designers and studios, including William de Morgan and Simpsons of Kendal.

From stained glass windows to inglenook fireplaces, carved wooden panelling to rare hessian wall hangings, Blackwell is definitely one of the most interesting, not to mention enchanting, houses in the Lake District.

Windermere Jetty

Just a few hundred yards from The World of Beatrix Potter is Windermere Jetty, a museum of boats, steam and stories.

Located right on the shores of Lake Windermere, this spectacular new museum boasts a stunning collection of around forty boats and sailing vessels, including steam launches, record-breaking speed boats and motorboats. These boats cover the history of sailing on Windermere from as far back as the late eighteenth century. You will also have an opportunity to see ongoing restoration projects and to chat with the restorers.

Other vessels include Swallow and Amazon, the boat used in the BBC film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s famous book; Osprey (1902), one of the museum’s fully-restored Edwardian steam launches; SL Dolly (1850), the oldest mechanically powered boat in the world, and still in running order; and TSSY Esperance, owned by a chap called Henry Schneider who used it every day to take him to Lakeside, where he boarded the train to Barrow.

Before you leave, why not enjoy some of the delicious food available in the museum café. The café itself overlooks Lake Windermere and has arguably one of the most stunning views in the Lake District.

Brockhole and Tree Top Treks

A short drive towards Ambleside brings you to Brockhole House and Gardens. Brockhole is another stunning Arts and Crafts house set in extensive grounds on the shores of Lake Windermere.

Built at the end of the nineteenth century, Brockhole enjoys breath-taking views of Lake Windermere and the Langdale Pikes. The gardens were created by renowned landscape designer Thomas Mawson and are well worth exploring, as are the art gallery and gift shop.

And if gentle strolls and careful perusing are not everyone’s cup of tea, you can always visit Treetop Trek and swing, climb, balance and fly across the thirty-five exciting treetop challenges, including rope bridges, wobbly logs and an adrenalin-fuelled 250 metre zip wire on the shores of the lake. What a way to end your treetop trek.

Brant Fell and Orrest Head

Not all attractions and activities near Windermere require booking. If you fancy getting away from it all, escaping the crowds, then Brant Fell, which sits at the heart of the Matson Ground Estate, is a relatively easy climb.

Overlooking Bowness-on-Windermere, the trek to the summit of Brant Fell is a little steep in places, but well worth the effort. You’ll be rewarded with views of Lake Windermere, glistening in the sunshine (obviously we can’t guarantee the sun), and the Lake District fells beyond. To the north you’ll be able to spot Orrest Head, from where Alfred Wainwright was treated to his first view of the Lake District fells and the inspiration for his series of books.

Orrest Head is an easy walk, although you will have to head up to Windermere. But, as it’s a little over a mile, why not take a stroll, browse the various shops on the way, or stop for coffee and a cake – there’s plenty of choice.

The climb itself starts on the A591 by the large Orrest Head signpost and follows a narrow lane for most of the way. At the summit the views are incredible, especially on a clear day – no wonder Wainwright fell in love with the Lake District.

Just remember to bring your camera.

If you would like any information about attractions and activities near Windermere, please get in touch. Our friendly team will be more than happy to make any recommendations.