Things to do in Hawkshead, Lake District | Lakelovers

About Hawkshead

Things to do in Hawkshead

It’s charming cluster of whitewashed houses exude the quintessential spirit of Lakeland. Hawkshead enjoys an enviable position in prime Beatrix Potter country. Her home of Hilltop, owned by the National Trust, is close by at Sawrey, and must be visited. You will doubtless be content to wander round the little cobbled streets and squares in the the pedestrianised centre. Soak in the flavour of Lakeland, and ramble in the green countryside immediately around the village.

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In hawkshead

Hawkshead Church

St. Michael’s and All Angels Church

William Wordsworth went to school in Hawkshead, and is reputed to have liked to sit at the top of the elevated churchyard, and it is easy to see why, with fine views all round to Esthwaite Water, Claife Heights and the Langdales. The church offers an informational booklet about its history, and is said to date from the early 1500’s. There are footpaths by the church that make for an interesting ramble in the countryside round about.

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Located near the King Arms Hotel in the centre of Hawkshead, the Beatrix Potter Gallery showcases a selection of her drawings and watercolours. No itinerary of what to do in Hawkshead would be complete without a visit here, and an insight on the area’s connection with Peter Rabbit and friends. –

Esthwaite Water Trout Fishery

Boat and shore fishing are available on one of the most serene of the Lake District waters. A guiding service and fly-casting tuition are also to be had here. The fishery is on the south-west shore of Esthwaite Water, very near to Hawkshead. You can also go on a boat ride around the lake, the Osprey Safari. –


Beatrix Potter’s home at Sawrey was given to the National Trust on her death on the proviso that it should no longer be lived in and be kept just as she left it. This has been done beautifully, and the house offers a wonderful window on her life and her tales. Only a short drive from Hawkshead village towards Lake Windermere, we strongly urge a visit here. So many of her most famous were dreamt up here, and Hilltop is a treasure for all who love her tales. –

River Deep, Mountain High

River Deep, Mountain High have been operating for many years from the area near Hawkshead and things to do include half-day, full-day, and even multi-day activity sessions in gorge-walking, scrambling, canoeing, climbing and mountain-biking. –


Tourist Information

The information centre is situated next to the main car park and gives plenty of inspiration for things to do in Hawkshead, as well as acting as a gift shop and newsagents.


There is a Co-operative store on Main Street in Hawkshead for your essential shopping needs.

Petrol Stations

There are filling stations in Coniston, and in Ambleside.

Health Centre

Hawkshead Medical Practice is based in Red Lion Yard (015394 36246), and there are other health centres in Coniston and Ambleside.


The nearest veterinarian practices are in Ambleside on Church Street and Windermere on Lake Road. –


The village centre is pedestrianised, but there is a large pay-and-display car park on the edge of the town centre.




Hawkshead is associated with Beatrix Potter country. The little hamlets of Near and Far Sawrey and Potter’s home at Hilltop, owned by the National Trust, can be be found by heading towards Windermere lake. You can even cross the lake itself by continuing this way to the car ferry which takes you to Bowness-on-Windermere. Heading in the opposite direction takes you to pretty Coniston village. There you can cruise Coniston Water on the Gondola or tackle Coniston Old Man. Beyond Coniston you can head further west to the Cumbrian coast.

Going south brings you to Newby Bridge and the lower-lying wooded hills at the bottom end of Lake Windermere. We recommend a visit to the Langdale valleys, too. They can be accessed from the A593 between Coniston and Ambleside. Great and Little Langdale attract climbers and walkers from around the world. Unsurprising, as they contain some of the most stunning scenery in the Lakes. You will also want to visit Ambleside at the north tip of Lake Windermere. The town a bustling jewel amongst the Lakeland villages. Also stop by Grasmere a few miles to the North, chosen home and inspiration of the great poet, William Wordsworth.

There are many tour companies around the Lake District if you want to let someone else do your driving for you and Bluebird Tours are based in nearby Coniston. –

Eating & Drinking


There are a wide range of options for eating well in and around Hawkshead. The King’s Arms Hotel in the village centre comes highly recommended, and we like the Cuckoo Brow Inn at Far Sawrey, the Tower Bank Arms at Near Sawrey, and the Drunken Duck Inn at Barngates in the countryside towards Ambleside. There are several shops you should visit in the village including The Honeypot, a wonderful delicatessen, and The Hawkshead Relish company in The Square. Cafes and tearooms abound, and include the Old Cobblers Tea Room, the Betty Fold Tea Room and Images of Lakeland Gallery, and the rustic and traditional Minstrels Gallery and Tearoom, which offers a wide range of leaf teas. Ambleside, a few miles away, has an impressive variety of restaurants and takeaways.

Follow the link below for more suggestions on where to eat and drink in Hawkshead and around the area:



When planning what to do in Hawkshead during your stay, walking or cycling in the outstanding countryside must be at the top of your list. The village is well placed as a base for hiking in the wider Lake District, and the immediate surroundings are some of the finest in the area. Beatrix Potter country is all around you. You simply need the right footwear and walking gear, a good map and a walking guide, and you are ready to explore for yourselves. You can head off in any direction and find a beautiful path to follow, but below are some of our favourite walks near Hawkshead:


The small fell of Latterbarrow is quite prominent above lovely Blelham Tarn, and can be reached from High Wray and also from a path leaving the roadside further towards Hawkshead. This path is steep but short, and once the summit is reached the views over Windermere are splendid. 1 ½ hrs.

Windermere Shoreline

Make the most of being on the quieter side of Lake Windermere by heading to Ferry House on the Hawkshead side of the cross lake-ferry. From there you can hug the lakeshore to the north, firstly through open fields on tarmac single track road, and then through woodlands on a excellently laid path which is suitable for wheelchair users and pushchairs. The views over the water are breathtaking throughout, and you look over to Belle Isle at the outset of the walk. Pass by Strawberry Gardens caravan site to Red Nab car park and return, or continue to Wray Castle if you want a longer ramble. 1 ½ hrs.

Outgate Inn to Bleham Tarn

Beginning at the Outgate Inn on the road towards Ambleside, you can walk across country towards Wray Castle, passing secluded Blelham Tarn. The path is through woodland on the outward leg, before reaching open fields near Wray. A short walk along the road past the entrance to the castle takes you to another footpath. This runs through lovely pastureland to a farm on the far side of the tarn, and further paths from the farm bring you back to the Outgate Inn, perhaps for a pint of local ale. 1 ½ hrs.

Claife Heights

A high ridge of land marked by evergreen woodlands and little tarns on the western shore of Windermere lake, there are many ways to access Claife Heights. We suggest parking at Near Sawrey and taking the track up the hillside from there. There are many paths and forestry tracks to choose from once you reach the top. This is prime mountain-biking country.


Well marked trails wind through the trees of Grizedale forest a short distance from Hawkshead. Look out for the wonderful sculptures concealed within the woods. You can start your walk at one of the many forestry commission car parks or the main visitor centre. Good walking can be had here even on bad weather days, as the trees give welcome cover from the wind and rain. The multitude of forestry tracks are ideal for mountain biking, and bikes can be hired at the forest’s visitor centre near Satterthwaite. Head from Hawkshead towards Satterthwaite to find the forest and visitor centre.

Tarn Hows

Tarn Hows ranks as one of the finest beauty spots in our beautiful region, and is part of the Monk Coniston Estate, which was once owned by Beatrix Potter, and now by the National Trust. The high path that runs from the disabled car park offers unmatchable views, and connects to the main lower path which itself is stunningly set in trees by the shores of the pretty tarn. Set on the high ground above Coniston, Tarn Hows is easily reached by car from Hawkshead, or indeed by foot. Park at the large National Trust car park near the tarn. 1 hr.

High Dam

Just to the north of the village of Finsthwaite, near the bottom end of Lake Windermere, a National Trust car park marks the start of a short walk through wooded hillside to the tarns of High Dam. The walk is very pleasant, and the high tarn offers good picnicking opportunities. You can access the fellside behind the tarn to gain great views of the lake, too. 1 hr.

Coniston Old Man

The chief fell of the Coniston range, and one of the most popular hill walks in the Lake District. We recommend making this a circular route, going past the fell on the Walna Scar Road and starting the ascent further on, before coming down on the main track through the disused slate mines. The views are wonderful. There is a car park on the fell side above Coniston village. 2 ½ – 3 ½ hrs.

Further Afield


Go Ape, Grizedale

Rope bridges, Tarzan swings, precarious crossings and zip-wires abound in the tree tops at Go Ape in Grizedale. In combination with the wonderful scenery, this is an experience that will really define your holiday, and several adventurous hours can be spent here. Just be sure to put your inner ape man safely back where he belongs when you leave. –

Steam Yacht Gondola

Take a trip to nearby Coniston Water to cruise on one of England’s loveliest lakes in one of her loveliest crafts. The Gondola is the oldest steam yacht in the north of England, and inspired Captain Flint’s houseboat in ‘Swallows and Amazons’. Owned by the National Trust, there is a luxurious cabin as well as the option to take in the view on deck. –

Lakes Aquarium

The largest collection of freshwater fish in the country resides at Lakeside, a few miles from Hawkshead at the bottom end of Lake Windermere. Well worth a visit, and you can also take the famous steamers on Lake Windermere from Lakeside, or take a trip on the picturesque Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. –

Coniston Boating Centre

Located by Coniston Water, you can hire rowing boats and sailing dinghies from this water-sports centre, along with motor boats and canoes. A great way to get yourselves active amidst the beautiful scenery. –

Wray Castle

A mock-gothic castle, empty of furnishings, but guided tours let you explore the castle’s history, and there is a cafe too. The grounds and woodlands are a rambler’s paradise, and you may want to picnic in the fields by the lakeshore, or watch your children have fun on the adventure playground. –

Spoon Hall Pony Trekking

Children as young as 7 years can be taken on these pony rides, guided by experienced tutors. We think it is a magical way to get out and about in the Lakeland landscapes. Spoon Hall can be found near Coniston village just a few miles from Hawkshead at Haws Bank.

Getting to hawkshead


Leave the M6 motorway at Junction 36. Drive past Kendal, and take A591 to Ambleside, then the A593 towards Coniston, and shortly afterwards the B5286 to Hawkshead. Windermere rail station can be reached on a branch line from Oxenholme station, on the west coast mainline by Kendal, and the 505 bus will get you to Hawkshead. Information on buses in the Lake District can be found here: