southern splendour tour
Morning Tour: departs Windermere 9.30am. Lasts 3-4 hours
Wray Castle, Hill Top, Tarn Hows, Coniston, Grasmere.
Southern Splendour is a fully-guided morning tour around the beautiful southern region of The Lake District National Park.
We leave Windermere at 9.30am and after five minutes on the bus we stop at the lovely Hammer Bank viewpoint with exceptional views of Lake Windermere – England’s largest freshwater lake – and of the surrounding mountains. Then we head north through Waterhead and the Roman town of Ambleside, crossing the rivers Rothay and Brathay to Wray Castle.
Wray Castle is a medieval castle-style 19th century house with spectacular views and grounds, built by Dr James Dawson, a retired surgeon from Liverpool. Doctor Dawson commissioned the building of Wray Castle using his wife’s inheritance from a gin fortune.
Throughout the years Wray castle has received many famous visitors, including writer Beatrix Potter and poet William Wordsworth, both drawing inspiration from this stunning setting.
We now follow leafy lanes with wonderful views, on our way onto Hill Top, the first Lakeland home of Beatrix Potter. Here we discover more about the writer and how she experienced rural Lakeland life.
Entrance to the house is available at extra cost and time is allowed on the tour for this.
From Hill Top farm, we travel to the spectacular Tarn Hows, a man-made lake, set amongst dramatic mountain scenery and created by the one-time MP for Leeds, James-Garth Marshall.
The incredible road from Tarn Hows, overlooking the valley of Yewdale, makes its way down to the shores of Coniston Water – home to writer John Ruskin, the venue for Sir Donald Campbell’s world water speed record, and setting for the book Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.
We stop on the lake shore by the Bluebird Cafe for photos and comfort break, before continuing through Yewdale and the hamlets of Skelwith Bridge and Elterwater, before climbing steeply onto Loughrigg fell and a stop to photograph the wonderful Langdale mountain range, which for centuries has been a source of slate and ironstone.
We then descend one of the Lake District’s famous roads, Red Bank, into the village of Grasmere.
Grasmere was home to the poet William Wordsworth. We make a short stop at his most famous house Dove Cottage, then it’s time to experience this beautiful Lakeland village, see St Oswald’s Church and perhaps relax in one of the village’s many exceptional cafes and tearooms for lunch.
No Lakeland trip would be complete without tasting Sarah Nelson’s world famous Grasmere Gingerbread.
We return to Windermere via the lakes of Grasmere, Rydal Water and Lake Windermere.
If you still want to see more you could continue on with our afternoon Northern Grandeur tour.