About Hawkshead

Even though we’ve been in the area for many years now, we never fail to be blown away by the true beauty of our location: Hawkshead is a picturesque British village, and we feel incredibly lucky not only to be here ourselves, but also to be able to welcome our guests into the area.

As a village steeped in history, we like to take the time to share a little bit of the past with those who are thinking of coming to take in the sights. Of course, this is just a taster of everything that makes Hawkshead so great – if you want to know the full story, it simply has to be seen with your own eyes.

Medieval Roots

Hawkshead is now famous for being, at least to many, ‘the prettiest village in the Lake District’, but way back in the medieval era it began to gain significance as a wool market and then a market town, attracting visitor from the local area.

At this time, the town was owned by the monks of Furness Abbey, and curious visitors can see the impression that they left on the landscape by exploring the ruins of Hawkshead Hall, hand built by the monks who resided there.

There are also several 15th Century buildings to see within the village centre, which is still kept free from cars to this day – allowing you to soak up the timeless atmosphere while you explore.

Literary Heritage

For the bookworms, Hawkshead is also connected with two of this country’s great literary talents: romantic poet William Wordsworth, and Beatrix Potter – creator of the beloved Peter Rabbit books. As you soak in some of the Lake District’s natural beauty it’s impossible to ignore the influence that it must have had on each of these authors.

The 1855 grammar school that Wordsworth attended is still a firm fixture in the village, while fans of Beatrix Potter can visit a gallery dedicated to her work, or venture to her home on hill top. If you want to venture just a little further afield, you can also visit John Ruskin’s home in nearby Brantwood, a short drive or a 90-minute ramble from our Hawkshead setting.

Grizedale Forest

A more recent cultural instalment, Grizedale forest is home to an award-winning sculpture trail, with around 90 different sculptures created by a variety of different artists. This was started back in 1977, winning the Prudential Award for the Arts in 1990, and focussing on environmental sculptures, reflecting back on the beauty of the forest surroundings and featuring work from many different admired artists.

You can also see the remains of Grizedale Hall, a historic building which was first built in the 17th Century, before being rebuilt twice, first in 1841 and then again in 1905. During the Second World War, this hall was used as a Prisoner of War camp, housing many survivors from sunken German U-Boats and eventually becoming the inspiration for a number of films about the period.

Now visitors to the area can learn more by visiting ‘The Yan’, a visitor centre which has been built as an extension to the hall’s Annex, keeping the history of this fascinating building alive.

Historic Ambleside

Our nearby town of Ambleside is a similarly stunning location with its own rich history. While Charles Dickens reportedly was not a fan of the area, we’re sure that you will be; there are a number of lengthy walks that will take you through the nearby caves, to the peaks of local pikes, and give you breath-taking views across the lakes.

To learn a little more about the attractions that you can find throughout and beyond the Hawkshead area, take a look at our ‘things to do’ page, where we’ve put together a guide exploring some of the current events and locations that you may want to look into during your stay. We’re always happy to introduce another traveller to the delights of Hawkshead; and after a long day’s adventuring you can unwind in the hotel, or one of the village’s four pubs. Delightful.