Sykehouse Cottage

A beautiful C17th Holiday Cottage in the Lake District


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May Half Term Ideas 2017

Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite holiday activities.  These include:

  • A trip on thratty2e Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway.  Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country.  They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside.  Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
  • This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Half Term, muncaster2they are holding their Muncaster Festival (28-30 May) with lots of family activities including circus skills and a climbing wall – complete with the International  Jesters’ Tournament on the final day.  Click here for more details.
  • Closer to home, we can walk across the fields  from Sykehouse Cottage for a gorgeous pub lunch at the Blacksmiths Arms, Broughton Mills.  Click here for details of opening hours on their website.self catering cottage


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Blackwell: An Arts & Crafts Masterpiece

Blackwell Exterior -®LATBlackwell was built in 1900 as a holiday retreat for a wealthy Manchester brewery owner, just south of Bowness overlooking Windermere.  (About 30 minutes drive from Sykehouse Cottage on the eastern side.)  The house is of international importance and was given a Grade 1 listing in 1998.  So, although it’s quite expensive to visit – 2017 Admission prices : £8.80 Adults (without donation £8); Children up to 16 and full time students Free – it is DEFINITELY worth the money if you are interested in the Arts and Crafts. The last family I recommended the place to stayed all day!

It is a truly wonderful example of Arts and Crafts architecture, with many original decorative features still intact and there is a school of thought that Blackwell is such a complete vision precisely because it was built as a holiday home in the Lake District rather than a day to day residence.  Think about it: who could live up to the designer’s perfect vision 24 – 7?

BW dining room stained glass -®LATThe rooms are carefully furnished with the blend of Arts and Crafts and early country-made furniture advocated by Baillie Scott, containing many pieces by the leading Arts & Crafts designers and studios – furniture by Morris & Co and Voysey, metalwork by W A S Benson and ceramics by Ruskin Pottery and William de Morgan.

The curators want you to experience this first hand and, deliciously, visitors are encouraged to sit and soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful fireplace inglenooks and are free to enjoy the house as it was originally intended, without roped-off areas.

Blackwell The White Drawing Room -®LAT

The house also run a series of well curated exhibitions and displays, usually with an Arts and Crafts feel, throughout the year and have a lovely Tea Room.

Every day, 10.30am – 5pm. Tea Room open from 10am Winter closing time: 4pm (Nov – Feb). Closed 25 & 26 Dec and probably first 2 weeks of January 2018.

Further details can be found by visiting Blackwell’s own site here.


William Wordsworth

Apart from wandering the Fells and spotting the daffodils, there are two excellent houses to visit associated with Wordsworth.

After University at Cambridge and a spell living in Dorset, in 1799 Wordsworth now aged 29 moved back to the Lake District to Dove Cottage in Grasmere; and in 1813 he moved six miles East to Rydal Mount,a house between Grasmere and Ambleside, where he lived until he died in 1850.  Both houses can be visited and are about 20 miles from our cottage.

Rydal_Mount_-_geograph.org.uk_-_959824Rydal Mount is a privately run house with beautifully landscaped gardens shaped by Wordsworth.  Their website can be reached here.

Dove Cottage is the home of The Wordsworth Trust, an independent charity, set up to preserve the house and its neighbouring buildings.  The Trust also looks after works by Wordsworth and other writers and artists of the period.  At the heart of this collection are the manuscripts that Wordsworth’s descendants donated in 1935 so that they could remain at Dove Cottage.  The Trust has an excellent programme of exhibitions and activities.  Their website can Dove_Cottage_-_geograph.org.uk_-_70618be found here.


Easter Holiday Ideas

Here at Sykehouse Cottage we have some favourite Easter activities.  These include:

  • A trip on thratty2e Eskdale and Ravenglass Railway.  Also known as “La’al Ratty”, this is one of the oldest narrow gauge railways in the country.  They start running daily from mid March, through some beautiful countryside.  Click here for their website. It’s about an half an hour from Sykehouse Cottage either across Corney Fell or taking the A 595.
  • This can be combined with a ramble around Muncaster Castle and Gardens where for this Easter Weekend, muncaster2they are running a Teddies Go Free promotion – free entry for every child with a teddy and there’s the
    Muncaster Giant Easter Egg Hunt on Sunday and Monday.  Click here for more details.
  • And of course if anyone needs anymore chocolate, you could always find a Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt at various NT venues including: the Coniston Steam 1152337Gondola (are they floating?); Fell Foot at Newby Bridge; Claife Viewing Station on the west bank on Windermere; and Wray Castle at Ambleside.  Click here for more details and opening times.


Go Herdwick

A lovely new arts trail raising money for a local charity will go on display from 25 March this year.  60 models of Herdwick ewes, each decorated by a local artist and sponsored by a local ewefirm will be displayed around Keswick, Grasmere, Rydal, Ambleside and Windermere.  The animals will be placed in public places and follow the route of the 555 bus service.

In September the flock will be rounded up for a gala auction in October.

We are particularly pleased to see that a favourite local artist of ours, Jo McGrath, has one to paint.  She plans “… to use the sheep raddle powder we use on our Herdwicks at Yew Tree farm, to mix up an acrylic paint to use to sheep-hatdraw /paint designs of herdwicks onto the main herdwick model. The designs will be applied in such a way that they will look like the sheep model is marked with traditional ‘smit’!”  To have a look at more of Jo’s work, click on this link for her website. I posted another blog about her here.

Money raised will help fund redevelopment of Old Windebrowe, the Calvert Trust’s grade 2 listed farmhouse and tithe barn, which is thought to date back to the 1550s and was once used as a home by William Wordsworth.  The Trust provides adventure holidays for people with disabilities and plans to use the centre to provide specialist accommodation.  If you would like to know more about the Trust and its campaign, click here.

 

 

 


Ruskin at Brantwood

John_Ruskin,_1882

In 1871, when Ruskin was in his early Fifties, he purchased – on impulse and unseen – a dilapidated house on the shores of Coniston Water.  This became his main home for nearly 30 years until his death in 1900.  Ruskin’s love of the Lakes started as a child.  His parents travelled to Scotland every year and always broke their journey in the Lake District.  When he bought it, Brantwood was little more than a cottage; Ruskin altered and enlarged it, including the lovely lantern set in the corner of his bedroom.

Here, he could experiment with his gardens.  He built a reservoir, and redirected the waterfall down the hills, added an ice house, and enlarged the harbour, from where he rowed his boat, the Jumping Jenny.

Brantwood is now a museum, exhibition space and arts centre with a rather splendid cafe, The Jumping Jenny, and is a favourite day out of ours.

If you want to find out what’s on Brantwood.org.uk has all the details.

Across the Water, the Ruskin Museum in Coniston is a fascinating Cabinet of Curiosities, crammed full of wonderful objects and paintings inspired by Ruskin’s love of geology, botany and the Lakes.  It also includes a special exhibition on the Coniston Bluebird and Donald Campbell.  Click here for more information about the Ruskin Museum.


Yards of Industry

From this half term, the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry will be running an exhibition of old photographs and artefacts to shed light on a fascinating and unique part of Kendal’s history, the town’s “Yards”.   The museum’s display will attempt to answer such questions as:  What was life like the Yards? Who lived and worked there? How did they get their names?

There’s a collection of contemporary photographs of Kendal’s remaining Yards on the Visit Cumbria site here.  They are a lovely part of this old town.

Yards of Industry: The Working Life of Kendal’s Yards  : 13 February – 3 September 2016