Saturday, 14 July 2012

Exploring the Cumbrian Town of Hawkshead

Hawkshead Grammar School and Parish Church

Whenever I’ve spoken to people about my trip to Windermere in Cumbria, I’ve generally noted that there are two types of people: those who haven’t been to Cumbria and want to know where it is, how we got there, where we stayed and what we did and so on, and those who have been who usually just smile, knowingly.  Cumbria has it all and it is one of the most exciting regions that I have visited in Britain. 

There is breathtaking scenery, with the exquisite meres stretching out between hills and valleys and views that literally brought tears to my eyes on the first day that we were there.  There are a variety of ways to travel across and around the meres, whether by bus, ferry, car or hiking and there is an array of little towns and villages to discover, each with its own history, culture, food and charm. 

The Honeypot in Hawkshead

Hawkshead was the first of these magical little villages that we visited during our recent trip to Cumbria.  By the way, Cumbria is situated on the north-western tip of England and is north of Lancashire and Yorkshire and just south of Scotland.   On the day that we visited, I was feeling quite uninspired as it was pretty cold and cloudy on that occasion (in June) so we began our visit with a delicious lunch of soup and homemade bread at the Naturally Hawkshead Cafe inside the Hawkshead store.  Feeling full and slightly more cheerful, we took a stroll around the old town.

Kings Arms Hote Hawkshead

The most impressive aspect of Hawkshead is how well-presented the town is despite being really old.  The Hawkshead Grammar School where poet William Wordsworth attended was built in 1585 and the Minstrels Gallery is a traditional tea-room that dates back to the 15th century.  Hawkshead is older than that though!  I discovered on the Hawkshead website that the town was originally named after a Norse settler Haukr and was first recorded as Houksete in around 1200.

Minstrels Gallery Tea room Hawkshead

Jubilee fever had swept through the whole of Cumbria and we could see the Union Flag everywhere we looked.  This is such a welcome change to the situation just three years ago when I came back from New York and questioned why we never saw the flag here as often as it is displayed in countries like the USA and South Africa.

I was very amused by the scene below, with the multitude of flags on Flag Street.

Flag Street Hawkshead

The Honeypot is one of the most famous shops in Hawkshead and it was easy to see why.  They have a section of the most delicious foods and delicacies with fast, friendly and efficient service.  I mention this because the Honeypot is very popular and they are nearly always busy!

Olives in the Honeypot Hawkshead

One word of warning: don’t go to The Honeypot with anything but an empty stomach.  To this day I regret not buying more food from them but we did buy a delicious round of cured meat with some olives and local cheese. 

Inside the Honeypot Hawkshead

Don’t you just love the giant blue teacup in the photo above?  I could really use one of those on Monday mornings!

The Fitzwilliam Hawkshead

We pottered around a little bit more but I have to admit, I was starting to wonder how much more Hawkshead had to offer.  Quite a lot it turns out.

Jubilee Bouquets Hawkshead

We turned a corner and found that we were behind the Parish church that you could see in the first photo above.  Just at the top of those stairs, we discovered the most incredible views of the village and surrounding areas.  We also got a chance to visit the old Grammar School and to see the desk where William Wordsworth etched his name.

Market Hall Cottage Hawkshead

But that is the topic of a whole other post, naturally.

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16 comments

  1. it's nice there and the shop looks like a heaven to me:)

    Blog about life and travelling
    Blog about cooking

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  2. Beautiful little village. Of course there had to be flags on Flag Street! :) I think stopping and relaxing is a good way to start before photographing, especially when inspiration is lacking. It works for me.

    Clueless in Boston

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  3. I would fall into the "haven’t been to Cumbria" category so thanks for letting me know where it is. It appears to be a well-manicured town to explore. I didn't notice the large blue teacup until you mentioned it. I like it too, but that is a lot of liquid to consume. :)

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  4. @ Ola: the shop was heaven. I should not have gone so full!

    @ Clueless in Boston: definitely. I've had to instill in my city-slicker husband that sometimes people wander around aimlessly, with no destination in mind!

    @ AVCr8teur: ha ha! Definitely. But I'd like to try.

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  5. I wish I had explored the Lake District more, although I have been a few times. I've been to Hawkshead and it's quaint but you should also check out some of the towns in the Yorkshire Dales as they seem more authentic and less tourisy - Pately Bridge, Knaresboro and Skipton places like that are amazing.

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  6. Wow..what a gorgeous place..such an enchanting area!! how I'd love to be there..so magical! Awesome pics Emm..thanks so much for another virtual adventure..much appreciated and so enjoyed!
    HUgs
    Victoria

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  7. Sounds and looks wonderful. When do I get to go? Hahaha!
    Who came up with all the names? Wow! Those are quite hard to pronounce :)

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  8. I belong to the group of people that has been to Windermere and Cumbria, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience :-)
    It was in 2006 and we had a record breaking summer.

    PS Tusen takk for hyggelige kommentarer - og lykke til ;-)

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  9. what an absolutely charming area! and you really captured its history and beauty, wanting me to visit there myself. :o)

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  10. It does look magical, although I feel upset that there was no sun for you. It would have been even more magical with a few rays shining here and there.

    Village breaks are fast becoming my favourite type.

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  11. I am a little behind in catching up on other blogs and commenting.. did not have my computer with me at Belgian coast short vacation
    I wanted to let you know though that I enjoyed this article on Hawskhead and that I am very grateful for your comments !
    anni

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  12. Hi Emm, you really captured this town well. I haven't been there before but your photos made me want to check it out. I've shared the post on Twitter and pointed my wife to it - she'll probably appreciate the part about nice food in particular :)

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  13. Lovely little place with some special houses. Mm, I love olives:-)

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  14. The Honeypot looks familiar... I think I might have taken a picture of that place myself, years ago! :-)

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  15. wow, Cumbria looks awesomely magical. i've not heard of this place before so thanks for introducing this place to us.

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  16. Ahh, Cumbria. There's a little railway somewhere around those parts that my mum and I went on when she visited once. We also went to Cockermouth, where William Wordsworth was born, but we mostly just took photos of the village signpost like teenage kids before heading further down the coast.

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