Cumbrian Heritage Group looks back and focuses forward 

Cumbria Heritage Group properties

Cumbrian heritage attractions are ending their main 2021 season feeling they have served a major purpose during the current year – helping visitors make sense of the state of flux that has occurred all around them, by setting it into a longer-term context. 

Cumbria’s Living Heritage, the dynamic cluster group representing 13 of the county’s cultural, heritage and historic attractions, says visitors have shown a greater desire to understand their present through their past this year.   


Visitors have also taken the opportunity to enjoy more mindfulness in the heritage group’s gardens and to improve their wellbeing, through an appreciation of beautiful objects and offerings, both indoors and outdoors. 

“By understanding the challenges of past generations and eras, they have been able to gain more strength to face those of the present day”, says Chairman, Peter Frost-Pennington.  “We hope we have helped lift their spirits and provided them with more resilience.” 

This bringing together of the heritage sector and the local community during a time of Covid-19 is highlighted through a new exhibition at Blackwell – the Arts and Crafts House – near Windermere.  ‘Class, Covid & Cumbria’runs to February 27, 2022 and features artistic interpretations of the stories and experiences of Cumbrians during the pandemic, through the work of artists including Rosie Galloway-Smith and Juliet Klottrup. 

Cumbria’s Living Heritage is proud of its contribution but is not done yet.  Some of its attractions are staying open for much of the winter, including Wordsworth Grasmere, another former home of William Wordsworth,  Rydal Mount, Blackwell – the Arts and Crafts House, Keswick Museum, Brantwood, former home of John Ruskin, and Brockhole.  the restaurant, café and accommodation at historic Askham Hall near Penrith, will also welcome visitors. 

Aiming to provide uplifting highlights to enjoy and look forward to, even at venues not fully open over winter, the group is issuing some dates for the planner. 

Winter Markets will offer Christmas inspiration at Holker Hall and Gardens (November 5 to 7).  Between December 16 and 20, special tours of Levens Hall and Gardens will be accompanied by a lighting up of the world’s oldest topiary gardens and Christmas food and artisan stalls in the courtyard.  Monthly Supper Clubs in November and December, plus Christmas lunches in Levens Kitchen, will provide comfort through food and similarly scrumptious Christmas feasts can be enjoyed in the Medieval Hall at Dalemain, near Penrith. 

A new exhibition, The Gardens of Persephone by Mike Healey, runs at Brantwood from November 13, 2021 to February 27, 2022.  The contemporary artist’s paintings and drawings, inspired by the myths surrounding the fertility figures of Persephone, Demeter and Pluto, will provide a new perspective on mythology, as well as many talking points. 

At Keswick Museum, the Nurturing Nature exhibition runs to July 10, 2022 and explores people’s relationships with the great outdoors in Keswick and the seven Derwent parishes.  Items from the collection, and very recent photography, will show how people, throughout history and right up to the current day, have used outdoor space, most recently for the exercise and wellbeing benefits that have assisted during the pandemic. 

May 14, 2022 will see the Marmalade Festival staged at Dalemain and announcing the winners of homemade marmalade categories in the Marmalade Awards 2022.  Artisan winners are announced slightly earlier, during National Marmalade Week in March 2022.  If your marmalade tickles the taste buds, start planning now, with entries being accepted from December 2021 and entry closing on February 11, 2022. 

Levens Hall and Gardens is celebrating its second World Topiary Day on May 12, 2022 – an event being embraced by topiary gardens worldwide next year, due to Levens Hall’s inspiration.  Other gardens celebrating number over 40, across several countries, and include the French gardens of Versailles, Eyrignac e Ses Jardins, and the famous Les Jardins Suspendus de Marqueyssac, along with the US gardens of Longwood Gardens and Jardin de Buis. 

Peter Frost-Pennington is anticipating a significant year for Cumbrian heritage in 2022, the year of Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. 

“We can expect to see people being more interested in the past and wanting to connect with it, as they look back over 70 years of the Queen’s reign and become more engaged by history,” says Peter Frost-Pennington.  “We anticipate our members exploring connections to the Queen’s reign, or celebrating the Jubilee in unique ways, so believe 2022 will be an exciting year for Cumbrian heritage.” 

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