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Hawkshead and Coniston

The village square is always beautiful and especially so in summer when the riot of hanging baskets add colour to the quaint old buildings. The cobbled streets, whitewashed cottages and little hidden corners are a delight to explore. Pubs, cafés and interesting shops and galleries welcome visitors and the 16thC parish church is open during the day. Look out for concerts and musical performances held in the church during the season and especially during the Lakes Summer Music Festival held each year in August.

No visit to Hawkshead would be complete without a visit to Hill Top at Near Sawrey and is where Beatrix Potter lived and wrote many of her famous stories. This delightful Lakeland house belongs to the National Trust (closed in winter) and is a favourite venue for tourists from all over the world. The cottage garden is a true delight and much admired. The Beatrix Potter museum is also located in the centre of Hawkshead in the former offices of solicitor William Heelis to whom she was married.

Close to Hawkshead you will find the beauty spot of Tarn Hows. This truly picturesque setting has wonderful views to surrounding fells and delightful footpaths around the tarn.

Footpaths from Hawkshead village will take you into Grizedale Forest with its many miles of bike and walking trails, picnic spots and view-points.

Nestling by the beautiful Coniston Water the village of Coniston is a year round destination for Lake District visitors and rightfully popular with all ages. There is fine walking in the nearby high fells - Coniston Old Man and Wetherlam being amongst the most popular summits with well-marked paths to the tops of both. The views from the tops are very rewarding.

Coniston's history harks back to the days of quarrying and mining for copper which generated great wealth in the area. The village now has a number of good pubs and places to eat and has its own beer, 'Coniston Bluebird', which is very popular with visitors. If outdoor activities are on your list of things to do you will be delighted by the opportunities for cycling, mountain biking, walking and water sports in the surrounding hills and valleys. For easier days out take in a visit to Brantwood, once the home of John Ruskin, which is open to the public and has wonderful rhododendron gardens in spring. The Steam Yacht Gondola plies the lake during the season - take a step back in time to experience the charm of this delightful craft which has been restored to its former glory by The National Trust.

One of Coniston's most treasured connections is with the great Donald Campbell whose tragic death happened on the lake during his attempt on the world water speed record. The Ruskin Museum in the village houses the relics of this great attempt and is open to the public during the day.

Coniston is surrounded by beautiful countryside with Grizedale Forest to the east and the high mountains to the west. Coniston Water is much loved by dinghy sailors, canoeists and even divers. There is much to explore in the area either by bike, car or on foot and plenty of local facilities to enjoy during your Lake District self-catering holiday.