A prettier Lake District village than Hawkshead would be hard to imagine. With its higgledy-piggledy cobbled alleys, lined with whitewashed holiday cottages, it’s no wonder this ancient community has become such a favourite among visitors. Cars are banned from the village centre, making a holiday cottage in Hawkshead a particularly tranquil base from which to explore the spectacular surrounding countryside. Nestled in the glorious vale of Esthwaite, this former Medieval wool town is perfectly located for walking, climbing, sailing and wildlife-watching in the heart of the Lake District National Park. Much loved by Beatrix Potter and William Wordsworth, Hawkshead has plenty to offer, from cosy tearooms and welcoming pubs to unique giftshops.

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Despite its popularity, this Cumbrian village has remained small and undeveloped, and you can expect to explore the charming centre by foot from your accommodation. Idllyic squares, overhanging gables and courtyards, and the widespread use of local Lakeland slate give Hawkshead a special atmosphere. Look out for Hawkshead Hall, built by Medieval monks, and the 15th century St Michael’s Parish Church and Courthouse. Also well worth visiting are the grammar school attended by poet William Wordsworth and the Beatrix Potter Gallery, where the celebrated artist’s work is exhibited. With Grizedale Forest to the south, Windermere to the east and Coniston Water to the west, Hawkshead holiday cottages are a stone’s throw from many of the Lake District’s most beautiful locations. The unspoiled moorland surrounding the village is an enchanting environment for walking. An especially dramatic footpath begins at the post office and meanders through ancient woods to a pretty National Trust cottage overlooking Tarn Hows. If you’re hungry or thirsty by the time you have completed the route, you’re in luck, as you’ll pass the atmospheric Red Lion on your way back to the village.