Enjoy a bottled vintage experience full of corking things to see and do this Whitsun, by taking a Cumbrian ‘Muse Cruise’ – the staycationer’s alternative to a booze cruise.
Here at Cumbria’s Living Heritage our 36 amazing attractions are offering everything from monumental paintings by Julian Cooper at Abbot Hall Art Gallery (Kendal), to an exhibition tracking the story of walking and climbing at the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry (Kendal) and a fusion of glass-making and digital technology enriched by video and sound recordings made in and around Blackwell – Britain’s finest arts and crafts house, in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Kids can enjoy a ‘Muse Cruise’ of their own, with painting workshops exploring texture, perspective and scale at Abbot Hall, and light, colour and reflection experimentation at Blackwell. Who can resist manipulating projections on to walls and ceilings, whilst learning how lenses and light together produce images?
Admirers of overseas artists can revel in an exhibition by Fu Zi at Brantwood – even cruising on Coniston to reach it – whilst poetry lovers can explore Wordsworth’s Duddon Valley sonnets in ways including walking on stepping stones and feeling a touch wall that plays the sound of water (Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere).
If that’s not enough, you could cook in a 17th century kitchen, trying out period recipes (NT Townend,
Troutbeck) or tour Beatrix Potter’s former home at Hill Top (Near Sawrey) and learn how it, and the landscape inspired the Peter Rabbit author. That will be particularly sweet for booze Cruisers turned ‘Muse Cruisers’, as it includes a free glass of wine within the ticket price of £25.
You can get on the trail of a host of quirky facets, features and fittings that distinguish each of our attractions, by downloading a Cumbria’s Living Heritage fact-filled Heritage Past-Port. We hope to see you here soon!
What’s on offer:
1. At Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal, Muse Cruisers can drink in 30 monumental paintings by internationally celebrated Cumbrian artist, Julian Cooper. With works from the 1970s to the present day, the exhibition reflects the artist’s travels across the fells and mountains of the Lake District, and also to far-flung places such as South America, Tasmania and the Himalayas, and closer-to-home locations, Italy and the Alps.
Painting workshops form a ‘Muse Cruise Lite’ experience for children, who can explore texture, perspective and scale, inspired by Cooper’s paintings. Drop-in sessions run on May 27 and from May 29 to June 3, between 10.30am and 1.30pm. Children aged over 3 can take part, but must be accompanied by an adult.
Abbot Hall is open Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 5pm (plus Sundays in July and August, 12-4pm). Admission costs £7.70 with a donation and £7 without. Kids and full-time students enter for free.
2. In the Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, on the same site, Muse Cruisers can enjoy a ‘Fun on the Fells’ exhibition tracing the story of walking and climbing. Naturally, the Lake District is the focus, as the exhibition considers early aristocratic climbers and working-class ramblers and incorporates artefacts on loan from the Fell and Rock Climbing Club. MOLLI is open Monday to Saturday (10.30am to 5pm) and Sunday in July and August (from 12-4pm). Entrance costs £5.50 with a donation and £5 without. Kids and full-time students enter for free.
3. At Blackwell – Britain’s leading Arts and Crafts House, located in Windermere – a site-responsive glass, sound and video installation shimmers and shines for Muse Cruisers. ‘The Light Within’ installation, by up-and- coming artists, Beyaert and Miller, is inspired by Baillie Scott’s use of light in the architecture of the arts and crafts movement. Blackwell is open every day from 10.30am to 5pm. Entrance costs £8.80 with a donation and £8 without. Kids and full-time students enter for free.
Family workshops, which engage through light, colour and reflection experimentation, are the Muse Cruise Lite experience here. Sessions run from 10.30am to 5pm on Blackwell’s May half term schedule and are for accompanied children aged over three.
4. At John Ruskin’s former home, Brantwood, on the shores of Coniston, there’s a chance to see the work of Chinese artist Fu Zi in an exhibition that is the artist’s first outside of his native China. The images draw on the traditions of Chinese landscape painting and depict shared spaced, and the fleeting moments enjoyed by passing strangers, in what is a fusion of photography and print. The exhibition runs to June 11. Brantwood is open from 10.30am to 5pm. Entrance to house and gardens costs £7.70 for an adult (children enter for free) and gardens-only adult admission costs £5.35.
5. At Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere, a small exhibition on the Duddon Valley and Wordsworth’s sonnets will feature original manuscripts, as well as stepping stones and ‘magic’ touch wall. This is a chance to discover, or look anew, at this charming Lakeland valley. Admission costs £8.65 for adults and children enter for free, if accompanied by an adult. Dove Cottage is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm.
6. At National Trust Townend, there’s a chance to cook recipes from the 17th century recipe book of the Browne family, who lived in this incredible farmhouse. Recipes range from meaty mince pies and macaroons, to medicines. Cooking will be between 1.30pm and 4pm on May 25, June 1 and June 8. Townend is open Wednesday to Sunday 1pm to 5pm and house tours take place from 11am to noon. Gift aid prices are £6.80 for an adult, £3.40 for a child and £17 for a family.
7. A showcase tour of Beatrix Potter’s former home at Hill Top and the Beatrix Potter Gallery, is on offer from the National Trust on June 3 between 7pm and 9pm. It will open up Potter’s world to visitors, but also include a complimentary glass of wine – all for just £25. The large and varied collection at Hill Top and the Gallery provide insights into Beatrix Potter’s mind. Some objects are over 400 years old, including antique furniture and original paintings, but there are also many more modern items, from across the world, which Beatrix acquired and brought to the Lake District. Book this tour in advance.
Those visiting Hill Top can tour the garden (on days when Hill Top is open) between 10am and 4.30pm on a weekday and house and garden from 10am to 5.30pm at weekends. Entrance costs £11.50 for an adult, £5.75 for a child and £28.75 for a family ticket, at Gift Aid prices.