back to blog

blackwell, the arts & crafts house

  • places to visit
August 2, 2016

Experience one of the finest holiday homes in the Lake District exactly how it was over 100 years ago


Many of us have dreamed about having our very own luxury holiday home in the Lake District, but the Holt family made this dream a reality in the late 19th century when they commissioned the stunning Blackwell House, which offers stunning views overlooking Coniston Fells and also Lake Windermere.

You can experience everything that the Holt family experienced over 100 years ago when you visit this fantastic historic house that has been preserved exactly how it was originally. At Blackwell you can also take in various arts and crafts exhibitions which are held throughout the year. Read more about everything that Blackwell, the Arts & Crafts House has to offer as well as finding out about a special offer which is open to Darwin Escapes customers staying in the Lake District.


the perfect holiday home in windermere

The centre is based in Blackwell House, which was built between 1989 and 1900 by architect M. H. Baillie Scott for the wealthy Holt family, from Manchester, who wanted a luxury holiday home overlooking Lake Windermere with glorious views of Coniston Fells.

This is perhaps the finest example of Scott’s work, which took inspiration from Tudor designs as well as arts and crafts styles reminiscent of the work of Charles Voysey. The arts and crafts movement of the time was a response to the industrial revolution, with the aim being to recognise the skills of British craftsmen of the time.

This Grade 1 listed building remains fully intact, with many of the original decorative features and furnishings still in evidence. You’ll see things exactly the same way that the Holt family would have seen them over 100 years ago when the house was originally completed.

The period rooms are still furnished with the same styling and furnishings that were originally advocated by Scott. This includes various pieces made by leading arts and crafts designers such as Morris & Co and William de Morgan. When you visit the house, you can sit back and enjoy the atmosphere in front of the fireplace or stroll around the beautiful rooms without being restricted by roped off areas. This is a stately home with far more open access for visitors than is the norm.

The house was also designed to take full advantage of the tranquil atmosphere and surrounding natural wonders, with the gardens also following this philosophy. The surrounding gardens were designed by Thomas Mawson to take advantage of the stunning beauty of Coniston Fells.


exhibitions & events

Blackwell is more than just a beautiful building with stunning furnishings and surroundings; it also hosts various exhibitions, displays and events which will be heaven for art lovers.
Currently on display until the 9th October 2016 are the works of renowned potter Chris Keenan, in the ‘Houseplace’ exhibition. Keenan has an international reputation in his industry, and recently undertook a six week residency at the Mashiko Museum of Ceramic Art in Japan. Examples of his work are showcased far and wide including in the V&A Museum in London. Funded by the Headley Trust, this fantastic exhibition showcases his distinctive porcelain pot designs, which are designed as a response to this “mind-consuming house and the man behind its creation”.

On the 24th September, the house will be opening a new exhibition devoted to the textile designs of Annie Garnett who was a figurehead in the revival of weaving and hand spinning in Cumbria. The exhibition will describe the ethos behind Garnett’s workshops set up in Bowness-On-Windermere, which provided employment for over hundred women at the time. It will also show case examples of her work along with original paper designs.


2 for the price of 1 on tickets

There are plenty of reasons to head to Blackwell this year with its various exhibitions, but if you need another then Darwin Escapes customers staying in the Lake District are entitled to 2 for 1 adult admission until the 31st December 2016. All you need to do to redeem this offer is present your Thanet Well Lodge Retreat z-card to reception upon purchasing your ticket. You will be given this Z-card upon arrival at the resort, but if you don’t think you’ve been given one just ask a member of the Darwin Escapes team.

Tickets cost £8.50 each (£7.70 without Gift Aid donation), with all children and students entitled to completely free admission.

back to blog