The history of the village of Hawkshead dates back over 1,00 years to the vikings and the current Parish Church is believed to stand on the site of an old viking temple.
The church od St Michael and All Angels stands in a commanding position above the village with beautiful views across
the Esthwaite Valley.
The church is refered to in William Wordsworth's auto-biographical poem the prelude and he refers to the "snow white church upon the hill" - the church was painted white in Wordsworth's day, as all important buildings were. The church is open to the public and is certainly worth a visit.
Situated below the church is the old Hawkshead Grammar School, founded in 1585 by John Edwin Sandys of Esthwaite Hall. The school was attended by William Wordsworth from 1779-1787. The school today is open to the public and houses some wonderful historic artefacts dating back to the 16th century. One can even see where William Wordsworthcarved his initials in the desk.
In the centre of the village is the old solicitor's office where William Heelis, the husband of Beatrix Potter, practised. Today the offices are home to the Beatrix Potter Gallery that houses the National trust's collection of all Beatrix Potter's original artwork from her "little books". For fans of Beatrix Potter and her childrens' characters, Hilltop, her home, can be found in the village of Near Sawrey, just over two mile to the south east of Hawkshead. The cottage is open from Easter until late autumn, though it can get busy at peak times.
The village is set around the two old market squares and boasts a variety of cafes, pubs and shops of all kinds. In addition to the post office, pharmacy, grocery store and a deli there are art galleries, outdoor clothing shops such as
SumitTreks and Hawkshead Clothing. Also in the village are two shops owned by the Stewartson family selling high quality outdoor clothing such as Burberry and Barbour.
There are four pubs to choose from in the village, The Queens Head, The Kings Arms, The Red Lion and The Sun Inn so searching out local food and drink is certainly not a problem.
Just south of the village is Estwaite Water which is the premier tout fishing lake in the north of England which is home of the Hawkshead Trout Farm. The lake is stocked with trout up to 12lb in weight and visitors are able to hire boats and fishing tackle.
A short drive to the south west is Grizedale Forest which offers a variety acivities from forest walks to view the art installations, the North Face mountain bike trail and the high level fun of GoApe.
For walkers setting off from the village the most popular walk is to Tarn Hows ("England's most beautiful view"). The circular walk takes about three hours and starts from the Grammar School
Hawkshead Parish Church: www.hawksheadbenefice.co.uk
Hawkshead Grammar School: www.hawksheadgrammar.org.uk
Beatrix Potter Gallery: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
Grizedale Forest: www.forestry.gov.uk
Hawkshead Trout Farm: www.hawksheadtrout.com
Queens Head Hawkshead: www.queensheadhotel.co.uk
The Kings Arms Hawkshead: www.kingsarmshawkshead.co.uk