The idyllic lakeside retreat of Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme Park is located on the peaceful shores of Lake Windermere in the Lake District. Awarded 5-star status by the English Tourism Council, and Gold status at the David Bellamy Conservation Awards, the park spans nearly one mile of the lake’s south-eastern shore and is surrounded by ancient woodland, making it the premier destination for a step back to nature.
Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme is perfect for those who love everything about the flora and fauna of our fair country. Passionate about wildlife and nature conservation, even winning the Countryside Code Conservation Award, the park’s owners have taken a spectacular lakeside location and curated a tranquil and relaxing retreat for residents to immerse themselves in the best of the English countryside. The park boasts within its boundaries an area of managed woodlands, encouraging the growth and sustainability of animal, bird, flora and fauna species. There are also bird stations and owl boxes spread around the site, which have local birds permanently nesting there. There are also 18 islands in total on Lake Windermere, all boasting a rich biodiversity of wildlife, and these can be reached via the on-site jetty. In all, Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme is guaranteed to provide hours of entertainment for birdwatchers and nature-lovers alike. Why not take a stroll around the park and meet some of the animal species that also call it home?
The unrivalled access to Lake Windermere is really the key attraction of this site, and Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme showcase this well, offering residents a multitude of ways to experience this beautiful natural resource. The park offers the option to purchase lake view homes; or to get up close to the lake, there are public and private jetties and boating facilities. Swimming in the lake is encouraged and the park caters well for this and owing to the popularity of water sports on the park, paddle boarding and kayaking equipment are also available.
There are benches and picnic tables on the shores of the lake, providing the perfect location for an al fresco lunch that can stretch well into the afternoon if followed by a paddle in the lake! Residents rave about the lakeside coffee area, with a self-service machine and tables where you can watch the world go by alongside the most incredible views of the lake. This same setting becomes even more magical in the evening, with sunsets described as ‘legendary’, so why not return to the coffee area after dinner to catch one of nature’s best live shows?
Aside from all the wonderful nature provisions, holiday home owners at Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme can make use of the reception building, an onsite shop with all the usual provisions, gas exchange, Wi-Fi available for purchase and an information centre with brochures covering local facilities and attractions. Dogs are also very welcome in the park, with designated dog walks and off-lead areas available to residents.
The options are endless for relatives who would like to visit residents in their blissful nature retreat; as well as providing pitches for touring vans and motorhomes, the park offers glamping options from March to January, and five self-catered lakeside lodges. As with all the sites owned by the Lake District Estates Company, the park offers a ‘try before you buy’ policy for anyone considering purchasing a holiday home here. Why not get in touch with Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme today to discuss further?
Renowned for its huge variety of routes, the Lake District appeals to novice and expert ramblers alike, and Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme is perfectly located as the starting point for many walks. From the more gentle walks, such as Gummers Howe and Orrest Head, to the more challenging routes such as the famous Scafell Pike (England’s highest peak), ramblers are rewarded with stunning views whichever level of difficulty they choose.
If you are not a seasoned mountaineer but love the idea of exploring the area around Lake Windermere, then fear not; the Lake District National Park offers a plethora of guides, classes, activities and routes designed to boost confidence and help visitors to grow their outdoor skills. The organisation leads guided walks of all grades and difficulties that take in a multitude of peaks and villages, and also offers themed walks such as archaeological routes that allow walkers to immerse themselves in the history of the area. Additionally, there are courses in navigation for all ages, including a ladies-only course designed to help women feel more confident with map-reading, and the “Miles Without Stiles” range of easy-access routes designed for those with limited mobility, including wheelchair users and families with pushchairs. There really is something for every level of walker!
The weather in the Lake District during winter months can make walking extra challenging. It is important to be safe and, as such, the Lake District National Park provides a winter skills walking course to allow walkers to feel confident and remain safe in snowy and icy conditions.
As with the availability of walking routes, the Lake District offers something for every kind of cyclist; from short family routes, to long distance road routes and even mountain biking, there is somewhere not far from the park that will meet your needs! With cycles for hire if you don’t have your own, cycling is a healthy and easily accessible way to explore the area around the park.
For the hardcore road cyclist, the Saddleback Fred Whitton Challenge, a gruelling 112-mile road route around the Lake District is held every year. Notoriously difficult, it is normally held to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. If this sounds a little too much – and it is for most people – then why not stand on the sidelines and cheer on the courageous few who attempt this marathon race every year?
The area around Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme
Although the site is an incredibly tranquil and relaxing location in itself, it is not difficult to reach nearby towns, as it is well-served by local transport links. The towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and the larger Windermere are connected to Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme by bus, with many attractions to be found in these two towns. Popular with visitors since Victorian times, Bowness-on-Windermere is overlooked by many large Victorian residences which have since been converted into hotels – why not stop for an afternoon tea at Langdale Chase or Storrs Hall? This lovely little town also boasts the Windermere Steamboat Museum and the World of Beatrix Potter.
A daily ferry service runs from Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme to Lakeside during the main season, from where you can travel by boat along the entire lake, with docking points at Bowness, Windermere Jetty Museum, Brockhole – home of the Lake District National Park Visitor Centre – and Ambleside, a larger tourist resort on the northern edge of the lake with shops, restaurants and a cinema.
Wray Castle, a neo-Gothic structure from the 1800s, sits on the northwestern shore of the lake, only a few miles south of Ambleside and with a dedicated jetty for boat access from Brockhole or Ambleside. Complete with turrets and towers, the castle’s church-like interiors and panoramic views are a real treat for tourists. Tours run daily through the castle, where its history can be explored further, and the grounds are worth a short walk or a picnic.
Another attraction that allows you to step back in time is the Lakeside and Haverthwaite Railway. Departing from Lakeside Pier, which is not far from the park, this historic railway carries steam locomotives along the lake’s eastern shore, allowing passengers to marvel at the natural beauty of Lake Windermere and the surrounding peaks. The ideal day out at Lakeside and Haverthwaite would begin at the Station Tea Room, which serves a healthy dose of nostalgia alongside its varied, home-cooked menu, and uses local produce from local suppliers. The tea room is open 7 days a week during main season, and serves a Winter Warmer menu for the locals during the winter months.
Finding Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme
As with a lot of the Lake District, the beauty of the region lies in its remoteness, allowing visitors to get away from city bustle to immerse themselves in peaceful landscapes and relax to the fullest. As such, public transport is not as well-connected as with sites in other regions of the country, and the easiest way to arrive at the park is via car – the site is found approximately half an hour’s drive, or twenty miles, from junction 36 of the M6.
That said, it is not impossible to travel to Hill of Oaks and Blakeholme via public transport! The nearest railway station is Windermere, approximately 3 miles away on the terminus of the Windermere Branch Line, which is in turn only a couple of stops from the nearest mainline station, Oxenholme Lake District. National Express services also run to the nearby town of Kendal.
Hill of Oaks, Windermere