Easter sees the opening of many of the great houses and stately homes around the Lake District which offer a great way to spend a day out. We are lucky to have a great many wonderful historic houses to visit here in the Lake District, packed with wonderful possessions and antiques created by world renowned artists and craftsmen and stories of our rich and turbulent past. Beyond the grand buildings are often extensive and beautifully laid out grounds and gardens to explore. If you are looking for inspiring things to do on your next trip take a look at www.cumbriaslivingheritage.co.uk and here are our top 5 historic houses to visit within easy reach of The Pheasant Inn.
1. Brantwood - Coniston LA21 8AD
Experience the beauty and inspiration of the home of writer, artist and thinker John Ruskin situated in a stunning location at Coniston. The house is full of Ruskin's art and treasured items and there are regular exhibitions featuring acclaimed artists throughout the year. Outside the house you can explore the fascinating estate with gardens, ancient woodlands and high moors whilst experiencing spectacular views of Coniston. For more information, opening times and prices see www.brantwood.org.uk.
2. Dalemain Mansion & Historic Gardens - Ullswater, Penrith CA11 0HB
Discover the Elizabethan past behind the Georgian façade of this beautiful house, occupied by the Hasell family since 1679. With four centuries of architecture there is much to explore including the breath-taking Chinese Room with hand-painted wall paper and stepping outside takes you into the 2013 Garden of the Year. Dalemain is also host to the annual International Marmalade Festival and there is award-winning marmalade to try as well as home-made food in the medieval tea-room. For more information, opening times and prices see www.dalemain.com.
3. Hutton-in-the-Forest - Penrith CA11 9TH
Explore Lord and Lady Inglewood's ancient house in the medieval Forest of Inglewood, not far from Penrith. Originally built as a stronghold against the Scots, the house has evolved through the years and highlights include the Rococo-ceilinged Cupid room, Mortlake tapestries and William Morris wallpapers. The grounds are a delight to wander around with beautiful topiary, a wild flower meadow, woodland walk and walled garden. For more information, opening times and prices www.hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk.
4. Mirehouse & Gardens - Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick CA12 4QE
Described as a “Manor from Heaven” by Melvyn Bragg, this beautiful house and tranquil gardens sit just across Bassenthwaite Lake from us here at the Pheasant Inn. The house itself has a wealth of literary connections including Tennyson, Southey and Thomas Carlyle and visitors are welcome to wander around this great house with live piano music flowing from room to room. The gardens are a haven of peace and included a walled bee garden, a terraced poetry walk and woodland trails. For more information, opening times and prices www.mirehouse.com
5. Muncaster Castle, Gardens, Hawk & Owl Centre - Ravenglass, Cumbria CA13 1RQ
One of the UK's most haunted castles, Muncaster Castle is set against a backdrop of the Lake District's highest peaks and with extensive gardens famous for rhododendrons, azaleas and bluebells. The Castle holds a number fascinating tales such as a prophesy surrounding King Henry's drinking bowl and the story of Tom Fool. The Castle is also home to the Hawk & Owl Centre with various birds such as owls, falcons and eagles who perform in spectacular daily flying displays. For more information, opening times and prices www.muncaster.co.uk