Historic Houses and Castles in Cumbria

John Ruskin - Brantwood - from Coniston Water

John Ruskin's Brantwood, from Coniston Water

In addition to its rivers, lakes and mountains the Lake District has much centuries-old human construction to be enjoyed. In medieval times this was dangerous territory for many hundreds of years. The border between England and Scotland, not to mention the borders of Northumbria, changed frequently and considerably from century to century, sometimes decade to decade, as warring groups prevailed and then failed.

Even when major warfare was in abeyance bands of thieving, and indeed murderous, cattle rustling bandits terrorised the border lands. Strong fortified houses, often the characteristic square “pele towers”, were essential to give some degree of protection against attack. Many of these in later centuries were expanded and elaborated into substantial farmhouses, and even into the palatial country houses and castles of the aristocracy with their landscaped gardens and fashionable architecture.

Many of these properties are nowadays open to visits by the public. Their history is both educative and entertaining. We’ve included here properties large and small: military castles, religious houses (abbeys), substantial farmhouses and smaller cottages. Their former occupants range from “statesmen” farmers to abbots, earls, philosophers and poets.

Lake District Directory
Where to Go and What to Do

Lake District: South and Central
Lake District: North West
Lake District: North and East
The West Cumbrian Coast

Lake District Towns

Nature in the North
Museums and Galleries in Cumbria
Historic Houses and Castles in Cumbria

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Lake District on our blog

Our Lake District Directory contains mostly (but not exclusively) indoor locations as these are less easily seen on a Lake District map than are mountains, rivers and lakes.

No-one has paid to have an attraction listed here. Items are included only because we consider them worth bringing to your attention, although of course we can’t guarantee that everything will interest everyone.

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We’re steadily adding more.

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