Museums in Cumbria

Polly Checkland Harding

Cumbria’s museums do a fantastic job of showcasing the area’s historic figures and practices, with Hill Top – Beatrix Potter’s 17th century farm house – as much of a draw as The Wordsworth Museum, next to the writer’s first family home. Here’s our selection.

Our top picks

The Ruskin Museum

The Ruskin Museum, The Ruskin Museum, Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8DU - Visit now

The Ruskin Museum tells the story of Coniston in Cumbria – a place of copper mines and slate quarries, Swallows & Amazons country where Beatrix Potter owned farms and Stone Age fell walkers once dwelled.

The Ruskin Museum.

Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories

Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Rayrigg Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA231BN - Visit now

Windermere Jetty Museum, on the banks of one of England’s largest and most picturesque lakes, is a new museum dedicated to the timeless pleasure of boating.

Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in Cumbria
Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

The Wordsworth Museum

The Wordsworth Museum, The Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, Cumbria, LA22 9SH - Visit now

Next door to Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s first family home, is the Wordsworth Museum, which houses an unsurpassed collection of the Wordsworths’ letters, journals and poems.

Dove Cottage and The Wordsworth Museum

Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry

Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry, Abbot Hall, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AL - Visit now

The Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry tells the story of how the unique landscape in the Lake District has shaped the lives of its inhabitants, tracing historic farming, mining and tanning practices as well as showcasing a typical Victorian farm house and high street.

Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

Hill Top

Hill Top, Near Sawrey, Hawkshead, Ambleside, Cumbria, LA22 0LF - Visit now

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with the proceeds from her first book; the 17th century farmhouse has since been turned into a time-capsule of her life, surrounded by a lovely cottage garden.

Hill Top © National Trust Images / Stephen Robson.

Where to go in Cumbria

Cumbria
Museum
Dent Village Heritage Centre & Museum

Dent Village Heritage Centre & Museum displays important, yet lesser known, histories. The centre itself has been built entirely through local labour, with the displays covering histories from vampires to slavery.

Cumbria
Museum
The Puzzling Place

Interactive optical illusion, for each visitor to immerse themselves in. This specialty museum in Keswick will baffle, surprise and amuse.

Cumbria
Museum
A World in Miniature Museum

Considered one of the best collections in the world, whether you are already a miniaturist fan, or a fresh face, you won’t leave this Museum without an appreciation.

The Armitt Museum
Cumbria
Gallery
The Armitt Museum

Full of interesting and unusual objects, The Armitt is a museum that shares the history and heritage of Ambleside and its people.

Cumbria
Museum
Wordsworth Grasmere

From book launches to writing groups to poetry nights, there’s always something going on at Wordsworth Grasmere.

Kendal Museum
Kendal and Sedbergh
Museum
Kendal Museum

Kendal Museum houses an impressive collection of artefacts, both historical and natural, from Neolithic treasures through to beautiful animals.

Cumbria
Museum
Hill Top

Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top in 1905 with the proceeds from her first book.

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