No trip to Cumbria is complete without a visit to its best-loved places, Coniston and Grizedale among them, but even here you can uncover some lesser-known cultural highs. Grizedale Arts, for instance, is an organisation that puts sculpture in forests, has helped revivify a local library and community centre and is behind the Lawson Park Farm Cottage, an award-winning eco-retreat at Parkamoor. William Wordsworth’s former home at Dove Cottage in Grasmere offers both a historic look at poetry and, via its workshops, tours and events, a route into new writing too.
Nearby, Allan Bank – a home a first described by Wordsworth as a “temple of abomination”; he later changed his mind and moved in – is a place where visitors are encouraged to “write on Wordsworth’s walls”, while Blackwell in Bowness-on-Windermere is one of the finest architectural examples of the Arts & Crafts Movement anywhere in the world. Time a visit to Ulverston to coincide with the annual Printfest, a celebration of artist-led printmaking, and don’t miss Cartmel’s ancient Priory – as well as Simon Rogan’s Michelen-starred restaurant L’Enclume.