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Writers, poets and painters inspired by the Lake District

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

So many creative people have found inspiration in the Lake District over the centuries that the county is rich with tributes to what has gone before, and legacies in the form of contemporary arts. Authors, artists, poets, thinkers, pioneers, musicians, sculptors are honoured all around you. We've gathered some of the most famous names and where you can visit to learn more.


John Ruskin

Celebrating people who left a cultural legacy in Cumbria, look to Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston. This was the home of John Ruskin, a lover of art and architecture and a radical thinker.

Brantwood House overlooking Coniston Water in the Lake District

Brantwood House overlooks Coniston Water

He is credited with inspiring the founders of the National Health Service, the National Trust and public libraries. Brantwood House is a registered museum and the nine rooms Ruskin used are open to the public. Furthermore, the Severn Studio presents quality art and craft exhibitions all year round.

William Wordsworth

Treasured poet William Wordsworth, he of the golden daffodils seen fluttering and dancing in the Lake District breeze, was born in Cockermouth and later lived in Grasmere.

Cockermouth has Wordsworth House to remember him by and Grasmere has Dove Cottage. An extensive collection of original letters, journals and poems in the Wordsworth Museum next door to Dove Cottage tells his life story.

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth in 2020, the Wordsworth Trust created a new attraction, ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ to celebrate the poet’s life and times.

An extensive collection of original letters, journals and poems in the Wordsworth Museum next door to Dove Cottage tells his life story

Alfred Heaton Cooper & William Heaton Cooper

The Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere is a gallery containing the works of landscape painters Alfred Heaton Cooper and his son William Heaton Cooper. Their paintings and books have influenced the way the Lake District landscape has been viewed. There is a changing programme of exhibitions throughout the year, and the studio exhibits paintings, prints, sculpture and books.

Beatrix Potter

Hill Top in Sawrey was the home of Peter Rabbit and friends author Beatrix Potter. Her home was faithfully recreated in her illustrations, so walking round every room, you will recognise scenes from her beloved animal tales. Hill Top can get very busy in the summer so it’s best to book your tickets in advance.

Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's house near Sawrey

Beatrix Potter’s 17th-century Hill Top farmhouse is a time-capsule of her life

The World of Beatrix Potter visitor centre in Bowness-on-Windermere brings her stories to life, and the Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead is within the 17th-century building once used as the office of Beatrix Potter’s husband, a solicitor. Other places worth visiting include The Armitt Museum in Ambleside. Collections include Beatrix Potter, German artist Kurt Schwitters, photography and fine art.

Potter’s home was faithfully recreated in her illustrations, so walking round every room, you will recognise scenes from her beloved animal tales

George Romney

Abbot Hall Art Gallery in Kendal has, on permanent display, an impressive collection of 18th and 19th-century art. They include works by Cumbrian artist George Romney, credited as being one of the greatest 18th-century portrait painters.


Sneak behind the scenes at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s Lake District home

Read more about Cumbria and the Lake District

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Image credits: ©Ben Barden/Brantwood; National Trust Images/Jonathan McMeekin/nationaltrust.org.uk; Pxl.store/stock.adobe.com; Wordsworth Trust; Video: National Trust/Youtube

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