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Free entry and ‘behind the scenes’ access on offer across the Lake District with the National Trust

Wray Castle double boathouse. Credit NT/Jill Jennings

Many National Trust places across the Lake District are opening their doors free of charge for two long weekends of heritage events, including entry into places not usually open to the public.

The annual Heritage Open Days festival celebrates the country’s diverse history, architecture and culture offering people the chance to see hidden places and try out new experiences. In the Lakes, a diverse range of activities is on offer from quirky guided walks to ‘behind the scenes’ tours.

At Sizergh, you can join a walk to Lane End Farm for a close-up look at some beautiful historic buildings or walk through the industrial heritage of the Little Langdale Valley and see the new hydro scheme at Greenburn Beck.

Silverthwaite at Elterwater. Credit NT/Mike Henton

In West Cumbria, an eight mile walk along a stretch of stunning coastline including a visit to St Bees Head Fog Signal Station is an opportunity not to be missed. For the first time, the holiday cottage, formerly the house of suffragist Amy Sharp is also open for viewing at Silverthwaite, Elterwater.

In the North Lakes, tours at Wordsworth House will uncover the secret life of Dorothy, William’s sister or you can visit Force Crag Mine, the last mineral mine to be worked in the Lake District.

By the shore of Windermere, the stories of the women of Fell Foot will be told revealing some of the park’s hidden heritage. On a steam theme, Wray Castle are opening up their boathouse in conjunction with the Shamrock Trust for a peek at one of the three remaining original Windermere steam saloon launches. The Steam Yacht Gondola on Coniston will once again bring aboard some seldom seen archive material for visitors to learn about her wonderful story of survival and rebirth.

Rachel Hunter, Visitor Experience Officer for Sizergh Castle, whose team will also be leading some ‘gunpowder’ walks said ‘This year’s Heritage Open Days festival in the Lakes is the most diverse programme of events we’ve ever offered and is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and locals alike to get close to the stories of the places they love – and all completely free of charge’.

There are plenty of family friendly activities, as well as guided tours more suited to grown-ups. Lots of events don’t require booking but some do – so please check the website for full details. For more details, visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/thelakes

National Trust Lake District: Heritage Open Day events 2018

Thursday 6 September

Sizergh – Lane End Farm guided walks

Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8DZ

Tours at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm & 2pm. Booking essential.

Call 015395 69810

Join a guided walk to Lane End Farm, one of our tenanted properties not usually open to the public, for a rare opportunity to learn about the heritage of this historic farm.

Sedgwick Gunpowder Works guided walk (also 3, 4 and 7 Sept)
3 – 4pm, Booking essential.
Call 015395 60951
Come and marvel at the remains of Sedgwick Gunpowder works on the Sizergh estate, and learn some of their secrets.

Friday 7 September

Sizergh – Strickland family chapel

Sizergh Castle, Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8AE

12noon – 4pm. No booking required

A rare opportunity to view the private chapel of the Strickland family. The chapel is still in use today for private mass, with the first record of a permanent chapel here from the mid-18th century.

Sedgwick Gunpowder Works guided walks
11am-12noon and 1-2pm. Booking essential.
Call 015395 60951
Come and marvel at the remains of Sedgwick Gunpowder works on the Sizergh estate, and learn some of their secrets.

Saturday 8 September

Force Crag Mine open day

10.30am – 3pm. Booking advisable

Call 017687 74649

The last mineral mine to be worked in the Lake District has been lovingly restored and cared for by volunteers. A guided tour allows you to explore the above-ground processing mill and associated remains as if the miners had just left for the day. Accessible only by foot, bike or National Trust 4×4.

Silverthwaite

Silverthwaite, Skelwith Bridge, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 9NJ

11am – 4pm. No booking required

Explore this grand house which was built in the early 1900’s by Amy Sharp a suffragist, and greatly influenced by the Arts & Crafts movement. Silverthwaite is available to rent as a holiday cottage but will open for visitors to drop by on Saturday. NB – no parking at the house. Call 07484082167 for specific access requirements.

Sunday 9 September

Fell Foot

Fell Foot Park, Newby Bridge, Ulverston, Cumbria, LA12 8NN

9am – 5pm, tour at 2pm. No booking required

Join one of our dedicated volunteers for a free hidden heritage tour. For this year only, you can discover the secrets of the important women of Fell Foot.

Thursday 13 September

Greenburn Mine

Little Langdale, Cumbria, LA21 8DJ

10am – 2pm. Booking required.

Call 015394 41456

Join our team of National Trust experts as we walk through the much-loved Little Langdale valley, spotting reminders of the Lake District’s industrial heritage amongst beautiful mountain views. We’ll finish at our new hydro scheme in Greenburn Beck.

Friday 14 September

Sizergh – Strickland family chapel

Sizergh Castle, Sizergh, Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 8AE

12noon – 4pm. No booking required

A rare opportunity to view the private chapel of the Strickland family. The chapel is still in use today for private mass, with the first record of a permanent chapel here from the mid-18th century.

Beatrix Potter Gallery

Main Street, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0NS

4pm – 5pm. Booking required.

Call 015394 36355

Get up close to Beatrix Potter’s original artwork in this out-of-hours tour. If you’ve ever been charmed by Beatrix’s characters, this is a rare opportunity to view the collection away from the crowds and learn about her life beyond the books.

Steam Yacht Gondola,

Coniston Pier, Lake Road, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8AN

5pm – 6:30pm. No booking required.

A free, ‘behind the scenes’ tour with archive material about the history of the yacht not usually on display. Find out more about the story of the rescue and the rebuild of Gondola in the 70s. The yacht will be moored at Coniston Pier early evening with a chance to step on board and chat to the crew.

Saturday 15 September

Allan Bank, Grasmere

Grasmere, Ambleside LA22 9QB

10:30am – 5pm. No booking required.

This year at Allan Bank we’re exploring the inspiration that Hardwicke and Edith Rawnsley took from John Ruskin’s principles, in admiring the beauty and spirituality of handcrafting and traditional craftsmanship, to establish the Keswick School of Industrial Art in 1884. Come and find out about the Arts and Crafts movement and the Rawnsleys’ role in it and feel inspired to have a go at our many arts and crafts on offer.

Wray Castle, near Ambleside

Cumbria, LA22 0JA

10.30am – 5pm. Booking advisable for the tours

Call 015394 33250

We’ll be revealing hidden areas of the history and design of the Wray Castle estate, including exclusive access to areas not normally open to the public. In conjunction with the Shamrock Trust, one of the three remaining original Windermere Steam Saloon Launches: the Shamrock, which will be on display (weather dependent) for visitors to board and have a look around.

Wordsworth House and Garden

Main Street, Cockermouth, Cumbria, CA13 9RX

11am – 5pm. No booking required.

Enjoy free entry to poet William’s childhood home and uncover the secret life of his sister and tireless champion, Dorothy, at a talk by the maid-of-all-work. Join a ten-minute talk at 11.30am or 2.30pm to shine a light on the remarkable life of William’s childhood playmate, secretary and life-long supporter.

Sunday 16 September

St Bees Head Fog Signal Station walk

Haig Mining Museum Car Park, Solway Road, Whitehaven, Cumbria, CA28 9BG

10:30am – 4pm. Booking required.
Call 0734 2088015

Join the Colourful Coast Partnership as we walk from Haig Museum along the coast to the St Bees Head Fog Signal Station – you’ll see and hear about the industrial history that has shaped the coastline and continues to do so today. We’ll stop for a break at the St Bees Head Fog Signal Station with a chance to look inside this normally closed building which perches precipitously on St Bees Head.

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