Brockhole- The Lake District National Park Visitor Centre

Location : Bowness-on-Windermere / Ambleside / Windermere (lake)
 

Brockhole, situated between Ambleside and Windermere, is the Lake District National Park Authority Visitor Centre. It is set in 30 acres of magnificent terraced gardens and grounds stretching down to the shore of Windermere lake, with splendid views of the surrounding countryside.

 
The grounds at Brockhole are now home to a large range of outdoor activities and boats and bikes can also be hired. Or you can just relax and enjoy the historic house, grounds and visitor facilities. You can also arrive at Brockhole by water.
 

image of Brockhole, the Lake District National Park Authority Visitor Centre

Activities at Brockhole

In recent years Brockhole has extended the range of outdoor activities available in the grounds. Some run only in school holidays or at peak times.

  • Treetop Trek & Treetop Nets: adrenaline packed adventure on high ropes. Enquiries 015394 47186. Ages 5+.
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  • Boat hire: rowing boats, sit on top kayaks, open canoes, motor boats and paddle boards. Enquiries 015394 46601.
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  • Kayak Tours: in association with Cumbrian Kayaking, half day guided tours on Windermere lake in kayaks. Enquiries 015394 46601. Age 12 +
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  • Raft building: see if you can create a raft that will stay afloat. Enquiries 015394 46601. Age 7+
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  • Brave the Cave: 45 minute challenges in Brockhole’s new indoor caving tunnels. Enquiries 015394 46601. Age 5+
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  • Laser Clay Shooting: 45 minutes moving target shooting with laser-adapted rifles. Age 10+
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  • Archery: Call 0845 272 0004 to book. Age 7+
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  • Mini Golf: 9 hole mini golf course. Booking not necessary.
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  • Pony Rides: around Brockhole grounds with Bigland Hall Equestrian. Enquiries 015394 46601. Age 2+
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  • Children’s Adventure Playground: free with entry.
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  • Bike Hire: a variety of bikes available to hire from 2 hours to full day. Enquiries 07919 881622.

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image of children on the Treetop Trek course at Brockhole on Windermere

Arriving at Brockhole by Water

Brockhole has a jetty on Windermere which is suitable for the landing of big steamers. It is visited by the Windermere Lake Cruises launches and direct connections can be made from and to Bowness, Ambleside Waterhead and Wray Castle.
 
The Green Cruise, operating from Easter to November, is a 50 minute circular voyage in a traditional wooden launch. It leaves Ambleside Pier and visits Wray Castle and Brockhole before returning to Ambleside. You can disembark at both attractions and continue your cruise with a later boat.
 
In summer the “Bike Boat”, especially for cyclists, leaves from here to the opposite quieter side of the lake at Bark Barn.

 

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image of a launch arriving at Brockhole jetty on Windermere lake

The House & Grounds

On the ground floor the Lake District World Heritage interactive wall explores why the National Park was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status and how that inspires local people. There’s also a fascinating display of aerial photographs of the Lake District, all taken in one day. A shop sells books, maps and gifts.
 
The Gaddum Gallery on the first floor hosts 4-5 exhibitions per year of paintings, sculpture and photography by artists with local connections.
 
Eating and drinking is well covered by a restaurant and tea room with terraced seating outside, a Lakeshore cafe and a cabin selling food to take-away. There are plenty of places to picnic and relax and enjoy the view.

 
Various events are held at Brockhole throughout the year, many of which are listed in the What’s On Windermere section.

 
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Brockhole seen from Windermere Lake.

History in a Nutshell

The house was built by wealthy Manchester silk merchant William Henry Aldolphus Gaddum who in 1895 bought four plots of farm land. Architect Dan Gibson designed the house and the local landscape gardener Thomas Mawson laid out the five acres of formal gardens, landscaping the remaining 25 acres to provide spectacular views of the lake and fells.

 

A frequent visitor to the house was Beatrix Potter, a cousin of Mrs Gaddum. She refers to visits to the house in her journals.

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Contact Brockhole

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Grid Ref : SD 389009

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