The National Trust's main aim in the Lake District is the conservation of over a quarter of the National Park, including the land, houses, castles, gardens and countryside parks in its care. To those of us who enjoy the Lakes, the work of the Trust must be encouraged and supported in order to preserve the treasures of the Lakes for future generations.
The most popular National Trust properties in the area are:
Beatrix Potter Gallery, Hawkshead: An annually changing exhibition of original sketches and watercolours painted by Beatrix Potter for her children's stories. This 17th-century building, which became known as Tabitha Twitchit's shop, was once the office of Beatrix's husband, William Heelis. The interior remains substantially unaltered since his day, giving an interesting insight into a Victorian law office. Open 29 March - 29 October daily except Fri & Sat 10.30 - 16.30; last admission 16.00.
Fell Foot Park, Windermere: This Victorian park, restored to its former glory, offers substantial access to the lakeshore of Windermere, where there are leisure facilities in season including rowing boat hire, and fine picnic areas. Open daily all year, 9.00 - 19.00 or dusk if earlier. Facilities 31 March - 4 November 11.00 - 16.30.
Hill Top (Home of Beatrix Potter), Near Sawrey: Beatrix Potter wrote many of her famous children's stories in this 17th-century house, it has been kept exactly as she left it, complete with her furniture and china. There is a traditional cottage garden attached. A selection of her original illustrations may be seen at the Beatrix Potter Gallery. Open 29 March - 29 October, daily except Thurs & Fri, 10.30 - 16.30. Entry to garden free on Thur & Fri when house closed 11.00 - 16.00.
Steam Gondola, Coniston Water (best boat ride in Lakes): The steam yacht Gondola was first launched in 1859 and now, completely rebuilt by the Trust, provides a steam-powered passenger service in its opulently upholstered saloons. This is the perfect way to view Coniston's spectacular scenery. Daily 1 April - 31 October (weather permitting). Gondola is also available for private bookings.
Sizergh Castle, near Kendal: The home of the Strickland family for over 760 years, the medieval castle was extended in Elizabethan times and has an exceptional series of oak-panelled interiors with intricately carved chimneypieces and early oak furniture, culminating in the magnificent Inlaid Chamber. The castle is surrounded by handsome gardens which include a particularly imposing and beautiful rock garden. Open 1 April - 31 October daily except Friday and Saturday Castle & tearoom 13.30 - 17.30. Garden 12.30 - 17.30.
Stagshaw Gardens: A woodland garden, created by the late Cubby Acland, Regional Agent for the Trust. It contains a fine collection of shrubs, including many notable rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias. Adjacent to the garden are Skelghyll Woods, which offer delightful walks and access to the fells beyond. Open 1 April - 30 June daily 10.00 - 18.30. July - end October by appointment only. Contact Windermere property office 015394 46027
Townend, Troutbeck: An excellent example of Lake District vernacular architecture and an exceptional survival. Largely 17th-century, the solid stone and slate house belonged to a wealthy yeoman farming family and contains carved woodwork, books, papers, furniture and fascinating domestic implements from the past, largely accumulated by the Browne family who lived here from 1626 to 1943. Open 1 April - 31 October except Sat & Mon (open Bank Holiday Monday) 13.00 - 17.00 or dusk if earlier.
Wordsworth's House, Cockermouth: The Georgian town house where William Wordsworth was born in 1770. Several rooms contain some of the poet's personal effects. His childhood garden with terraced walk, attractively restored, has views over the River Derwent, referred to in his autobiographical poem The Prelude. Open 31 March - 3 October daily except Sat & Sun 10.30 - 16.30. Open Bank Holiday Saturdays and All Saturdays in June July & August