The Lake District is the birthplace of The National Trust – one of the UK's largest charities preserving, restoring and promoting historic properties and beautiful countryside locations.
In 1895 priest Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley, who lived in the Lake District, joined forces with campaigners Robert Hunter and Octavia Hill to create a unique conservation group with the aim of protecting precious land from modern development. The three established The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, and today the Trust looks after more than a fifth of the Lake District National Park.
There some incredible National Trust sites around the Lakes from stately properties to wild rugged landscapes – be sure to visit some of our favourites on your next stay at The Pheasant:
Acorn Bank has an incredible history, dating back to the 13th century when it was owned by the Knights Templar. The house and its 180 acres of park and woodlands were gifted to the National Trust in 1950 by Dorothy Una Ratclifee – a prominent Yorkshire writer and art collector. After 40 years of the site being leased to tenants, the National Trust opened the gardens to the public in the 1990’s and carefully restored its house and watermill and today Acorn Bank is a fascinating snapshot of industry and nature through the ages. The watermill is working once again producing flour that's sold in the shop and tearoom, the 17th century walled garden houses the Trusts largest collection of culinary and medicinal herbs and there are daily guided tours around the grand house. Acorn Bank enjoys beautiful view of the Eden Valley and is close to countryside walks for all abilities.
Wray Castle has to be one of the most flamboyant and intriguing National Trust properties in the country. Just under an hour from The Pheasant but well worth the journey, it’s a gothic revival castle dating back to 1840 located on the shores of Lake Windermere. The private house was built for Dr James Dawon, a retired Liverpool surgeon, using funds from his wife’s inheritance from a gin fortune! Dawson let his imagination run wild with the design; turrets, arrow slits, mock ruins and a portcullis are all included in the playful architecture and the attraction is great fun for children to run amok through its spacious rooms. Wray Castle has lovely grounds to explore with specimen trees and a mulberry tree planted by William Wordsworth and you can even push the boat out and arrive by water on one of Windermere’s Lake Cruises.
Tarn Hows can be one of the busiest natural attractions in the Lake District in summer, so the colder months are the best time to explore. The beauty spot is actually three tarns which were joined together in the 19th century, creating a stunning landscape framed by conifer trees and woodlands. Beatrix Potter bought the Tarns and nearby land in 1929 and left it to the National Trust in her will when she died. Tarn Hows has lovely views over to the Helvellyn range and the Langdale Pikes, and there’s a 1.5km circular path around the water that’s great for all abilities.
The National Trust runs a fascinating gallery dedicated to creative works of Beatrix Potter, housed in a 17th century building which was formerly the office of Beatrix’s solicitor husband. It houses letters, illustrations and early books written by Beatrix plus the 2018 exhibition ‘The Right Sort of Woman’ marking the 100th anniversary of female suffrage in the UK. Current exhibits include her letters campaigning for district nursing in the Lakes and supporting the role of women in local communities. The Beatrix Potter Gallery is located in the quaint village of Hawkshead in South Lakeland – a gateway to the countryside and landcapes that inspired the children's author.
Book two or three night winter breaks at The Pheasant and work your way around the region's beautiful National Trust sites – click here for our accommodation offers.