History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Hawkshead Grammar School, where Wordsworth went to school
The village really owes its existence to the monks of Furness Abbey, who maintained a grange here and owned the entire estate until the 12th century. In the early medieval period Hawkshead was an important centre of the wool trade. After the Dissolution of the Monasteries destroyed Furness Abbey's connections to the area Hawkshead became a popular market and received a market charter from James I in 1606.
The Grammar School is still housed in the attractive 16th century whitewashed building where it was founded.
In his poem 'The Prelude' Wordsworth extolled the virtues of the attractive village setting, with its pretty cottages clustered around medieval squares and lining the narrow lanes. Most the cottages, teashops, and guest houses that line the streets of Hawkshead date to the 17th century. Ann Tyson's cottage, where Wordsworth lodged while attending the Grammar School, is now a self-catering cottage.
Beatrix Potter GalleryAnother 17th century building is the Beatrix Potter Gallery, now owned by the National Trust. Potter's husband, William Heelis, was a solicitor and had his offices in the building. It is now used to display original drawings made by Potter for her popular series of children's' books, such as Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny. The selection of paintings and sketches on display changes each year so there is always something new to see.
St Michael and All Angels ChurchOn a rise overlooking the Grammar School and the centre of the village stands the parish church, dedicated to St Michael. The first building on this site was a chapel, erected in the 12th century. The chapel wan enlarged around AD 1300, with aisles added in 1500 to form the building we see today. It only became a fully-fledged parish church in 1578, under the influence of Archbishop Sandys.
Hawkshead deserves its reputation as one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District, and its associations with Wordsworth and Potter make it an extremely popular destination for tourists to the area. A few miles away is Potter's home of Hill Top, owned by the National Trust. Also nearby is Tarn Hows, a reservoir formed from 3 small lakes that became a popular beauty spot in the Victorian period.
Address: Hawkshead, Cumbria, England
Attraction Type: Village
Location: On the B5285 at the north end of Esthwaite Water. There is a car park at the southern edge of the village
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
Beatrix Potter Gallery - 0 miles (Museum)
Hawkshead Grammar School - 0.1 miles (Historic Building)
Hawkshead Old Courthouse - 0.5 miles (Historic Building)
Tarn Hows - 1.8 miles (Countryside)
Hill Top - 1.9 miles (Historic Building)
Tom Gill - 2.2 miles (Countryside)
Wray Castle - 2.2 miles (Historic House)
Grizedale Forest Park - 2.6 miles (Countryside)
Nearest Accommodation to Hawkshead: