Bird watching and sketching

As you may know, Beatrix Potter was a keen student of nature. A prolific sketcher of wildlife since childhood, she found plentiful inspiration in the Lake District which she described as ‘the most beautiful countryside in the world.’

Although the majority of her beautiful scientific sketches and watercolours concern fungi or entomology (see the Armitt museum in Ambleside for examples), Jemima Puddle-Duck is far from the first bird that Potter drew.

You can follow in the famous writer and artist’s footsteps when you take advantage of these remarkable bird watching opportunities in the Lake District. Enjoy the abundant wildlife and take a pad and pencils for when inspiration strikes!

1. Visit Dodd Wood and Whinlatter for nesting Osprey

Osprey can be seen from viewpoints in Dodd Wood or via a live feed at Whinlatter Visitor Centre from spring every year. Of course, if you’re lucky you might see some red squirrels too!

2. See Whooper Swans at Elterwater in winter

The name of this small and charming lake, ‘Elterwater’, comes from the Old Norse for ‘Lake of the Swans.’ The elegant whooper swans have apparently been migrating here from Scandinavia and Siberia for centuries.

3. Kendal River

If you’re in the mood for a more casual bird encounter, why not take a stroll along the river in Kendal? The riverside walk is more accessible than the upper viewpoint at Dodd Wood, for example, and it gives you a good chance of seeing many birds such as swallows, swifts, warblers, and gulls.

Our top three Beatrix Potter attractions to celebrate the 110th anniversary of Mrs Tiggywinkle

This year marks the 110th anniversary of the tale of Mrs. Tiggywinkle. Written by much-loved British author Beatrix Potter and published in 1905, the story tells a tale of a hedgehog washer-woman who lived inside a Lakeland Fell.

Here at our 4-star hotel in the heart of the Beatrix Potter territory, we are offering exclusive two-day packages for visitors who want to enjoy a Beatrix Potter-themed experience like no other. Click here for further details.

For those with perhaps less time available, we’ve come up with our top three Beatrix attractions for more of a whistle-stop tour:

Hill Top

Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century farmhouse has been preserved as a time capsule to accurately reflect her life there. The ideal destination for Potter enthusiasts, the site showcases the Hill Top garden including a conserved kitchen garden and informal beds with flowers and vegetables all maintained by Hill Top’s very own Mr. McGregor and Gardener in charge Pete Tasker.

Lingholm Estate

Between 1885 and 1907, Beatrix Potter spend nine summers at the Lingholm Estate. The woodlands around the estate were thought to be the inspiration for the author’s story The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin. Tours of Lingholm’s grounds are available by prior arrangement with the team at Borrowdale Gates.

The World of Beatrix Potter

The museum in Bowness-on-Windemere is well worth a visit and offers a wide range of exhibitions, showcasing artefacts and film presentations, the perfect outing for adult and child enthusiasts alike.

Why a trip to the new Lakes Distillery makes for a memorable winter day out

Cumbria’s first distillery, the Lakes Distillery, opened recently, bringing whiskey to the lake district. Needless to say, the location is slightly more south of the border than one would expect, but this offers the perfect opportunity to witness a whiskey tour like no other, without having to travel further afield.

The distillery site is housed in an 1850s restored model farm which sits beside the stunning Bassenthwaite Lake, in the Lake District National Park. The whiskey is made using water from the nearby River Derwent and is distilled using only local resources to ensure that the product is truly Cumbrian.

Tours of the distillery run from 11am until 5pm every day and take approximately 45 minutes. Taking visitors on a journey of discovery, the professional tour guides showcase the distillery processes. The state of the art audio-visual tours also tell the story of Lancelot Slee, a local quarryman, farmer and notorious smuggler in the 1800s.

The tours culminate in the tasting room, where visitors can sample not only the distillery’s whiskey, but also the Lakes Gin and the Lakes Vodka, offering something to warm the cockles for every taste preference. Arguably, the best part of the tour is the £5 discount voucher, which comes with the tour ticket, to be used with the purchase of any 70 cl bottle bought in the on-site shop.

You can team your distillery visit with one of a whole host of other activities on offer, be it a trip to the beautiful market town of Keswick, a bracing hike up Skiddaw (one of the highest peaks in the area), or a round of golf. A tour of the Lakes Distillery would give any budding whiskey connoisseur a day to remember. You can then unwind when you head back to your four-star hotel, Borrowdale Gates.

Up! up! my friend, and visit Dove Cottage!

Wander lonely as a cloud in the Lake District and discover Dove Cottage, the home in which William Wordsworth wrote many of his finest works.

The cottage, in Grasmere, was Wordsworth’s first home in the Lake District and the great poet resided there for nine years, from 1799 to 1808, with his sister, and the author of the Grasmere Journal, Dorothy.

During his tenure in the cottage, Wordsworth composed some of the finest passages of poetry in the English language, including the aforementioned cloud-related ode (often mistakenly referred to as Daffodils), My Heart Leaps Up and parts of the Prelude. He also entertained the other two members of ‘the Lake Poets’ triumvirate, Robert Southey and the opium-addled Samuel Taylor Coleridge, at the cottage.

Two centuries later, Dove Cottage is one of the Lakes’ most treasured tourist attractions, attracting around 70,000 visitors per year. Owned and maintained by the Wordsworth Trust since 1891, the house has largely been preserved in the same state since the time of the Wordsworths.

Visitors can also stroll through the cottage’s restful garden and, if they’re that way inclined, try and take some poetic inspiration from nature, just as Will did all those years ago.

Should you be enjoying an extended stay in the Lake District, why not establish a base camp that will allow you to explore Grasmere, Keswick, Ambleside and all the area has to offer? Borrowdale Gates, a 4 star hotel, is well placed and offers guests much in the way of amenities. It isn’t the former house of one of Britain’s most famous poets, but you can’t have everything!