The Lake District is well known for its spectacular countryside, however there are also plenty of  Heritage sites to explore.  Below are a selection of places to visit in 2017.

Lowther Castle and Gardens Penrith, Cumbria, CA10 2HH

The ruined castle and gardens at Lowther stand on a limestone escarpment at the Northern edge of the Lake District National Park. The Grade II* listed site contains the remnants of at least three significant buildings and an abandoned garden – one of England’s greatest gardens, once famous, but unseen for 70 years until restored and opened to the public in 2011.

Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Ravenglass, Cumbria, CA18 1SW

Lakeland’s oldest, longest and most scenic railway. Travel from Ravenglass, the only coastal village in the Lake District, across the estuary, through the hills, with a 1:55 gradient at times. The journey itself was one of Wainwright’s favourites, crossing seven miles of spectacular scenery to the foot of England’s highest
mountains, the Scafell Range.

Birdoswald Roman Fort Gilsland, Brampton, Cumbria, CA8 7DD

Standing high on Hadrian’s Wall, overlooking the River Irthing, Birdoswald Roman Fort tells the intriguing story of the Romans in Cumbria and the significance of Hadrian’s Hall. A turret and mile castle can all be seen here, the longest remaining stretch of the Wall.

Wray Castle and Claife Viewing Station Low Wray, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0JA

Wray Castle is a mock-gothic castle and a grand playground for children with dressing up and castlebuilding spaces, rope swings and den-building. The castle has very limited opening times during winter but the grounds are generally open.

Four miles away, on the western coast of Lake Windermere, Claife Viewing station was a hot-spot for the very first tourists to the Lake District. Here they would come and dance, today you can walk to the top and enjoy the stunning panoramic views across Windermere.

Aira Force and Ullswater near Watermillock, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0JS

Ullswater valley is truly breathtaking, with its beautiful lake nestled amongst towering fells. The epic scenery and relative underdevelopment compared with other areas of the Lake District gives Ullswater a secluded and tranquil feel.  Aira Force, a tumbling waterfall drops an impressive 65ft and can be reached by an enchanting stroll through ancient woodland and landscaped glades. The perfect place for a family walk and picnic.

Honister Slate Mine Honister Pass, Keswick CA12 5XN

Visit England’s oldest working slate mine and delve into the huge maze of underground tunnels.  It is an archaeological time capsule and as part of the mine tours, visitors can experience everything from narrow passages and incredible cathedral-like caverns as they delve deep into a subterranean world.  They will also learn how the Victorian miners worked using hand tools by candle light.

Grasmere Village Grasmere, Ambleside, Cumbria

The natural beauty of Grasmere has provided inspiration for painters, poets, writers and craftsmen for years. The vale of Grasmere and Rydal, described by Wordsworth as ‘the loveliest spot that man hath ever found’, soon became his home.  The combination of scattered hamlets and farmsteads, verdant woodlands, and lush meadows fringing the lakes of Grasmere and Rydal Water and Loughrigg Tarn conjures up a quintessential image of romantic Lakeland.

Carlisle Castle Castle Way, Carlisle, Cumbria, CA3 8UR

Standing proudly in the city it has dominated for nine centuries, Carlisle Castle remained a working fortress until well within living memory. It has withstood many sieges, contained a valuable royal prisoner, and been home to the King’s Own Royal Border Regiment.  Discover the castle’s turbulent past in the fascinating family-friendly exhibition. Explore medieval castle rooms as well as 19th century military buildings, and visit Cumbria’s Museum of Military Life.

Lakeland Motor Museum Old Blue Mill, Backbarrow, Ulverston, Cumbria LA12 8TA

Over 30,000 exhibits tracing more than 100 years of road transport heritage, including a new exhibition which details the history of the Isle of Man TT Races.  Numerous fascinating stories rooted in our local area: a typical 1930’s Westmorland garage re-creation, the Campbell Bluebird Exhibition and the Leven Valley Heritage Centre which depicts how life used to be in the Backbarrow Blue Mill, the iron works, gunpowder factories and woodland industries.