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The Britannia Inn

Blog: Cultural & Historical

14 February 2012

John Ruskin & Brantwood

Brantwood House

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 – 20 January 1900) was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist. He wrote on subjects ranging from geology to architecture, myth to ornithology, literature to education, and botany to political economy.

His writing styles and literary forms were equally varied. Ruskin penned essays and treatises, poetry and lectures, travel guides and manuals, letters and even a fairy tale. The elaborate style that characterised his earliest writing on art was later superseded by a preference for plainer language designed to communicate his ideas more effectively. In all of his writing, he emphasised the connections between nature, art and society.

He also made detailed sketches and paintings of rocks, plants, birds, landscapes, and architectural structures and ornamentation. (

From 1872 to 1900 Ruskin lived at Brantwood House, Coniston which is 15 minutes drive from the the Britannia Inn.

The House is filled with Ruskin's treasures: paintings, furniture, objects d'art and his personal memorabilia.

Brantwood is a registered museum, but is still kept very much as a home. The house affords a unique opportunity to look into the daily life of one of England’s most important social and cultural figures. The atmosphere at Brantwood is special, and because so many of Ruskin’s possessions remain, it feels as if the man himself has just stepped out into the garden!

Visitors to the house are introduced to Ruskin’s world by a brief introductory video and are then free to explore the seven historical rooms which he occupied during his lifetime, all of which are filled with his furniture, art and objects. Visitors are given a small printed guide to the rooms, and volunteer stewards are on hand to answer questions. For younger visitors there are a range of quizzes and activity sheets.

The visit to the house also includes the Blue Gallery where there is a changing programme of specially curated exhibitions.

By Paul Fry, 14 February 2012 – 0 comments

14 February 2012

Beatrix Potter Gallery & Hill Top

Hill Top

Helen Beatrix Potter (28 July 1866 – 22 December 1943) was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.(

In 1905 Beatrix moved to Sawrey using the profits from her books she purchased Hill Top Farm

Beatrix Potter's 17th-century farmhouse: a time-capsule of her life

Enjoy the tale of Beatrix Potter by visiting Hill Top. Full of her favourite things, this house appears as if Beatrix had just stepped out for a walk. Every room contains a reference to a picture in a 'tale'.

The lovely cottage garden is a haphazard mix of flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables.

Hill Top is a small house and a timed-ticket system is in operation to avoid overcrowding and to protect the interior. Hill Top can be very busy and visitors may sometimes have to wait to enter the house.

Please note: tickets cannot be booked in advance and early sell-outs are possible.

Don't miss
¦Don't miss the children's garden trail
¦Explore the traditional English country garden throughout the seasons
¦Enjoy the views which inspired Beatrix's tales and illustrations
¦See website for details of Beatrix Potter walks and events
¦Downloadable local walks available from the National Trust website
¦Leave the car behind - arrive by boot, bus or boat

By Paul Fry, 14 February 2012 – 0 comments

07 February 2012

Dove Cottage and Wordsworth

Wordsworth picture

Grasmere is centre for Dorothy & William Wordsworth history, their home just outside the village is just a ten minute drive from Elterwater or an hours brisk walk over Red Bank and round Rydal Water.
Take a guided tour of Dove Cottage gives an entertaining insight into life in the Lakes with Wordsworth over 200 years ago.

The Wordsworth Museum is a permanent exhibition that explores the lives of Wordsworth his family and many visitors.

There is a tea room and restaurant to have refreshements prior to a stroll back through Grasmere and over Red Bank to Elterwater.

By Paul Fry, 07 February 2012 – 0 comments
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