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Hawkshead's cobbled streets and clusters of whitewashed cottages huddled around secluded courtyards give the village a sense of intimacy that is rarely found elsewhere in the Lake District. Narrow passageways with interesting names such as Leather, Rag and Putty Street (now Wordsworth Street) invite exploration, and at every turn there are interesting architectural features – jettied frontages, external stairways, truncated corners and an old spinning gallery or two. Add a few ancient coaching inns and cosy tea rooms and Hawkshead has everything to spend an unhurried afternoon.

The Quaker hamlet of Colthouse has a Meeting House dating from 1688 (still in use) and its own burial ground. To the north is the Baptist community of Hawkshead Hill, with its interesting chapel, cemetery and outdoor baptismal, whilst Methodism is represented with a simple chapel in the heart of Hawkshead.

The tranquil lake of Esthwaite Water, fringed by lush meadows and overlooked by the seemingly endless wooded slopes of Grizedale and Claife Heights, is noted for its trout fishery. At its southern end lie the twin villages of Far and Near Sawrey; the latter famously associated with Beatrix Potter’s house at Hill Top, where she wrote and illustrated several of her famous books.

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Things to do

Adventure & Outdoor Activities

And so the adventure begins. Add some thrills to your holiday by fully experiencing everything Cumbria has to offer. Walk, run, climb, swim, get muddy, have fun!

Browse Adventure

What's on

 May 2020>

There are a variety of events taking place in and around the Hawkshead area.

From arts and culture exhibitions to discovering the wonderful world of Beatrix Potter, check out what is on during your visit and browse the events of most interest to you.

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Food & Drink

Hawkshead village is a beautiful setting for a rich variety of cosy, old-world charm, tearooms, offering delicious homemade cakes and the traditional English cream tea, all served up with a friendly smile. And it’s not just about the food, there’s an array of leaved teas to choose from, along with a choice of filter coffees.

In the heart of the village you will find several characterful, ancient-beamed, 17th Century Inns with roaring log fires, offering you a warm welcome with only the best of locally sourced food for you to try. How about delicious Cumbrian Beef, polished off with a slice of Orange Cointreau Cheesecake! The menus offer great value for money and you’re always guaranteed a friendly welcome, whether it’s in the bar or in one of the restaurants.

Kings Arms, Hawkshead

Wherever you choose out of the pubs and restaurants of Hawkshead, you will always be guaranteed the very highest standard of food and an excellent standard of service. We mustn’t forget, there are also some great pubs on the fringes of Hawkshead, particularly the Lake District’s original gastro pub at Barngates, with its rustic chic, beamed bar and a menu to tempt the fussiest of eaters.

Just a small tip, before you leave delightful Hawkshead, take a jar of relish home with you.
They make the very finest selection of relishes here and it makes a tasty gift.

For more information on what Cumbria has to offer see Food and Drink

Surrounding areas

Hilltop, Near Sawrey
Claife Heights

Culture and Heritage

Wray Castle
Hawkshead Cycling
In the 12th century, Hawkshead and most of the surrounding land was a monastic grange run by the monks of Furness Abbey as a sheep ‘walk', with much of the surrounding woodland cleared to make way for pasture fields. The dominant breed was the Herdwick, a sturdy sheep, well suited to the cooler and wetter climate of the Lake District.

It was the coarse grey fleece of this sheep that provided the abbey with a great deal of its wealth. Local weavers would produce cloth from the spun wool, which was washed and hung on tenterframes to be stretched back into shape; local place names such as Tenter Hill (SD 338 997) are indicative of this former activity. The cloths were taken to Kendal to be finished and turned into hardwearing garments for the working classes.

Hawkshead Hall was the administrative centre for this northern outpost of the Abbey's estate. Here the monks would receive tithes, collect wool and despatch it for spinning and weaving and sell on the woven pieces of cloth. The trade in woollen goods was highly profitable for the monks, providing over a quarter of the Abbey's entire income.

In earlier times it was the custom to call for a rowing boat when one was required. One stormy night a call was answered by a ferryman who rowed across the lake to Bowness only to return in a state of shock. The next morning he developed a rapid fever and died.

Thereafter, on stormy nights whenever there were strange calls for a boat from Ferry Nab, no-one would dare go. Eventually a priest exorcised the Crier of Claife to a quarry on Claife Heights, but occasionally the ghostly calls for a boat can still be heard.

High Wray was the scene of a series of murders in 1672, all carried out by one man; Thomas Lancaster. Thomas wanted to marry a local girl from High Wray who was already betrothed to someone else so he bribed her father to allow him to marry her instead; an event which took place on 1 Jan 1672.
Wray Castle

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