From breath-taking landscape photography to oil paintings and original Beatrix Potter drawings, The Lake District has always been a fantastic place for visual creativity of all kinds. Here are five places to visit within easy reach of Grasmere that are especially easy on the eye, whether you’re looking for a beautiful piece of art, some nostalgia or just an enjoyable and stimulating detour:
Rare Originals at The Beatrix Potter House
Love or loathe the cute, old school illustrations of Beatrix Potter, creations such as Tom Kitten and Jeremy Fisher have left an indelible mark on children’s literature. For anyone who grew up with the books, a trip to see many original Beatrix Potters in a historic house is simply too magical to miss. Just as fascinating, however, is her life and passion for natural conservation, for which the Lake District owes her a debt of gratitude.You can get an authentic window into her world, along with an enthralling selection of originals at the Beatrix Potter House and gallery, run by the National Trust.
Younger guests (and grownups not adverse to all things sugary cute) might also enjoy the Beatrix Potter World attraction in Windermere.
Lake District Art & Short Courses in Grasmere
Besides the larger visitor attractions, you can also see some wonderful lake district images right on our doorstep in Grasmere.
The Heaton Cooper Gallery is a prime example, with a selection of work to buy, as well as short, one day art courses and workshops, where you can capture your own impressions of the Lake District with a little expert help. The family has a proud tradition of art in the region that stretches back to 1863; many of those early works are as stirring as the day they were painted and you can both buy originals and prints in the gallery and shop. For a taste of the work on show and range of gifts and prints, visit:
Classic to Contemporary at Lakeland Art Gallery, Grasmere
To view a cross section of art from Cumbria and perhaps pick out a favourite to take home, Lakeland is another must browse gallery in Grasmere. Lots to choose from, with fresh ideas and present day artists mingling with prints and works from the past. Take a virtual tour on the website (www.lakesart.co.uk) for a taste of what to expect.
A Brush with John Ruskin
Displaying a keen sensitivity to the natural world, John Ruskin’s beautiful sketches, books, studies and fine Lake District watercolour paintings make compelling viewing at Brantwood (LA21 8AD). Along with unique artefacts, notebooks and other exhibits, the visitors’ centre in Coniston is a wonderful way to discover more about this Victorian genius, taking you into his former home for a revealing journey into another age. www.brantwood.org.uk
Keswick Museum and Art Gallery
(“Early Evening, Cumbria” (artist unknown) Source: Wikicommons
If your cup of tea is fine art and creative heritage, this award-winning visitor attraction has plenty to feast your eyes on, including some truly classic Lake District images and artists featured. There are also many other collections and things to see, however, from natural history to special seasonal events and exhibitions. Spring 2016, for example, sees the arrival of The Greta: Changing Face of a River, a stimulating look at the changing seasons on Keswick’s pretty home waterway. For full details, see keswickmuseum.org.uk