Considering the great beauty surrounding the Lake District, it is little wonder that the area has attracted so many artists down the years. The painters Thomas Gainsborough, JMW Turner and John Constable were early visitors while amongst those who actually settled here was John Ruskin, a pivotal figure in the development of the Arts and Crafts movement. Another of the movement’s major figures was William Morris, who along with artist Edward Burne-Jones, created stained glass windows for churches at Troutbeck, Staveley, and Cartmel Priory. The Heaton Cooper family has also made a great impact on their adopted Lakeland home. The painting dynasty founded by Alfred Heaton Cooper and continued by his son William and grandson Julian has won worldwide acclaim for their portrayals of Cumbrian landscapes many of which are on display in the Heaton Cooper studios in Grasmere. Today the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria are home to many talented artists, makers, designers and photographers, a number producing work for exhibitions and commissions across the world. If you want to see, and buy, their work, then the most likely places are either their own workshops or studios, specialist galleries, exhibitions, craft and design markets or on their websites. Galleries/studios, of course, vary in size and in what they show and sell (paintings, ceramics, glassware, furniture, jewellery, photographs and more). In Cumbria they include the Old Courthouse Gallery and C.ART, a Cumbria-wide annual artist trail, the Heaton Cooper Studio in Grasmere, Castlegate House and Percy House galleries in Cockermouth, Peter Hall & Son at Staveley (furniture), Red Barn at Melkinthorpe near Penrith and Farfield Mill Arts and Heritage Centre just outside Sedbergh. Blackwell, the beautiful Arts and Crafts House near Bowness-on-Windermere, has a small shop where you can buy the work of makers and designers too. Look out for exhibitions as well. Those well worth seeing include Printfest in Ulverston in May (www.printfest.org.uk), the summer pottery/ceramics show called Potfest in the Park at Hutton-in-the-Forest near Penrith and Potfest in the Pens at Penrith (both three day events, www.potfest.co.uk), the Lake Artists Society exhibition in Grasmere (www.lakeartists.org.uk), the Green Door Annual Art Trail in the autumn, organised by Green Door Studios in Kendal (www.greendoorstudios.co.uk) and the Christmas Craft and Design Market, also in Kendal. This market is organised by Unfold Collective (www.un-fold.co.uk), six designer/makers, some of whom have their own studios/shops which are open to the public.
Artists, Makers & Designers in the Lakes
What our Travellers say
Never been somewhere where so many people say they keep coming back. Thank you for finding me this holiday destination.
We saw loads of animals, bison, black and grizzly bear, elk, deer and even wolves in the distance. Waterfalls and lakes were magnificent and the trails that we walked were all so beautiful and well worth visiting.
Utah was my favourite part. There was so much to do and it was like nothing I’ve seen before. Really liked Capitol Reef as it was much quieter and we were so close to it. Will always remember going star gazing, brilliant.
Amazing New York highlights were a Broadway show, Central Park, Empire State building and Time Square. We visited MoMA which was amazing to see all best artwork in the world, we were just not expecting it, every room we went into there was another masterpiece. Our hotel was under a mile from the subway station and we saw how the New Yorkers live and commute.
Every turn held more beauty than we expected. We were humbled by the size of the surrounding peaks. The feeling of being in a cathedral never left us as we stopped in deserted spots and just gazed at our surroundings.
Expectations were to see lakes and mountains. But with National Park Traveller's help there was something to do everywhere we turned.
On our trip there was so much to do. We enjoyed outdoor activities and the adventurous things to do. We were nicely surprised and will be coming back for sure.
We saw all of Las Vegas and really glad we've done it. All the hotels were amazing. I will always remember driving towards Las Vegas, you're just driving for hours through dessert and it suddenly pops up out of nowhere.