The top 10 stately homes in the Lake District

The Lake District is famous for much more than its stunning scenery, rugged mountains and long, deep lakes. If you are planning a trip to the Lakes, take your time to explore the fascinating top 10 stately homes in the Lake District.

From haunted castles to Tudor houses and medieval Pele towers, visitors will find a great choice of houses to visit in the Lake District, throughout the year.

Our list of top 10 stately homes in the Lake District include:

Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

Situated in Ravenglass, Muncaster Castle boasts stunning gardens and an Owl Centre. This 800 year old castle is said to be haunted, and is situated on the west tip of the Lake District. If you get the chance, go in May during the Festival of Fools. For more information see: www.muncaster.co.uk.

Abbot Hall, Kendal

Abbot Hall is a beautiful Georgian manor house situated in the shadow of Kendal Castle, next to the River Kent in the village of Kendal. The Hall now houses a museum and art gallery said to be one of the best in Britain. Works by Romney, Ruskin, Turner and Constable are exhibited. Also, the award-winning Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry is situated at Abbot Hall. www.abbothall.org.uk

Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith

This fascinating house is situated in north Cumbria, and was bulit in the 14th Century. The Pele Tower is the oldest part of the house, which was built in 1350. Hutton has only ever been owned by two families – the de Hotons and the Fletchers. The Fletchers added a Victorian Gothic tower to match the medieval Pele. The interiors ae a mix of Regency and Victorian decoration with original William Morris wallpaper. The grounds are also worth exploring with terraces, topiary and a walled garden. For more information check out: www.hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk

Brantwood, Coniston

Brantwood is the former home of famous former Coniston resident, John Ruskin. Ruskin was the leading English art critic of the Victorian era, also an art patron, draughtsman, watercolourist, a prominent social thinker and philanthropist.

The house includes the Ruskin Museum, plus a Gondola trip and afternoon tea in Jumping Jenny´s Cafe. Brantwood boasts some of the best views in the lakes, looking to Coniston Old Man and the lake itself. For more information see: www.brantwood.org.uk

Dalemain Historic House and Gardens, Penrith

Dalemain would come high up on anyone´s list of top 10 stately homes in the Lake District. The name ´Dalemain´ means ´manor in the valley´, and there has been a settlement here since Saxon times. Dalemain Historic House and Gardens date back to Tudor times, and has been owned by the Hasell-McCosh family since 1679. The house is close to Ullswater and has a tearoom, a gift shop and extensive gardens. See: www.dalemain.com

Swarthmoor Hall, Ulverston

Situated just outside the market town of Ulverston, Swarthmoor Hall is open to the public for guided tours. The hall is an important location for the Quaker movement, and also offers B&B accommodation and conference rooms. For more information: www.swarthmoorhall.co.uk

Holker Hall and Gardens, Cartmel

The award-winning Holker Hall and Gardens has been on our ´top 10 stately homes in the Lake District´ list for many years. Holker Hall is the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish who welcome visitors of all ages to one of the best-loved stately homes in Britain. Magnificently situated only a short distance from Grange-over-Sands and the expanse of Morecambe Bay. Holker Hall is set in beautiful countryside with gardens that merge into Parkland framed by the Lakeland Hills. Check out: www.holker.co.uk for more information.

Graythwaite Hall Gardens, Ulverston

Graythwaite Hall Gardens at Graythwaite, Ulverston were designed by Thomas Mawson in 1896. The gardens combine the formal with the informal. The Spring garden is set in a wooded valley of over 12,000 acres, boasting thousands of rhodedendrons and azaleas. Graythwaite has been home to the Sandys family for over 500 years. The family are actively involved with the estate, and the gardens are open from April to September each year. The oldest parts of the hall date back to the 18th Century. For more information see: graythwaite.com/graythwaite-hall

Mirehouse, Keswick

Mirehouse is a family run historic house open to visitors. This house easily makes the list of the top 10 stately homes in the Lake District, and also enjoys strong literary connections. The grounds of the house stretch from Dodd Wood to Bassenthwaite Lake, and include four woodland playgrounds and a heather maze. The house is situated just 3 miles fro Keswick, and other attractions include the Poetry Walk, the Rhodedendron Tunnel and Bee Garden. The Old Sawmill Tearoom offers delicious local food. See www.mirehouse.com for more information.

Townend, Troutbeck

The Brownes of Townend in the Troutbeck valley were just an ordinary farming family: but their home and belongings bring to life more than 400 years of extraordinary stories. Not exactly a stately home but important none-the-less, Townend gives visitors a fascinating insight into life in the Lake District  years ago. As you approach Townend – a traditional stone and slate farmhouse, you’ll understand why Beatrix Potter described Troutbeck valley as her favourite. Once inside, you are welcomed into the farmhouse kitchen with a real fire burning most days and a quirky collection of domestic tools. Exploring further, you can marvel at the intricately carved furniture and discover why the collection of books belonging to this farming family is of international importance. www.nationaltrust.org.uk/townend/

Wherever you decide to stay in the Lake District, excellent local transport links will enable you to discover and explore the top 10 stately homes in the Lake District, and take your time to enjoy the beautiful gardens and the open countryside surrounding them.