Brockhole Visitor Centre

The Lake District Visitor Centre, Windermere, LA23 1LJ
View from Brockhole Visitor Centre

View from Brockhole Visitor Centre (Henry Burrows /

Lake Windermere and its surrounding shores is the most popular place for tourists to visit in the Lake District, which is why in 1969 the Lake District National Park Authority chose to open its visitor centre here.

Today the centre, known as Brockhole, hosts a range of activities with something to please everyone, all set within the beautifully maintained grounds originally designed by Thomas Mawson.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01593 446 601 / Website
Free (Charges for some activities and parking)
Seasonal Opening:
All Year


Built at the end of the 19th century, Brockhole house was intended as a summer home for its wealthy owner, William Gaddum, a silk merchant. Gaddum employed local landscape gardener Thomas Mawson to lay out the grounds. Mawson later went on to design gardens across the UK and around the world including at The Hague. Beatrix Potter was a frequent visitor to Brockhole, being a cousin of William Gaddum’s wife.

Following Gaddum’s death in 1946 the house was used as a convalescent home, until it was bought in 1966 by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNA), who opened up the visitor centre here in 1969. Since then the centre has grown in popularity. Today the house is home to a number of activities as well as a shop and food options, whilst the grounds are open to the public with various activities available.

Things To See

Kayaking on Lake Windermere

Kayaking on Lake Windermere

Brockhole is a great place to experience your first taste of outdoor activities. You can attempt orienteering on carefully planned courses with maps available to buy in the shops. Maps are also available for various walking routes whilst mountain bikes, including trailers for children, are available to hire - please note that the bicycles must be picked up from Wray Castle, as Brockhole do not keep them on site.

If you are feeling brave you can try open water swimming in Lake Windermere, but if you prefer to stay dry then you can hire a boat or take a kayak tour. For those with a head for heights there is a fabulous high ropes course, or you can head into the depths in the centre’s new artificial caving system.

The extensive gardens are open for everyone to enjoy with fabulous floral displays, a kitchen garden open seasonally, and a wildflower meadow. You can also hone your putting skills on the mini golf course, or hire a boat for use on the lake.

Children are invited to try many of the outdoor activities, whilst in addition there is a large adventure playground with a special area for under 7s. There is a separate tree top nets course with a series of trampolines and bridges suspended in the trees enclosed within nets making it safe for children aged three and up. For children aged 3-6, Brockhole offers an outdoor Mini Tractor experience, which is available seasonally. 

Throughout the year, the LDNA hold events and activities at Brockhole, including guided walks, bird watching, and taster sessions. In the main house, there are various exhibitions that celebrate life in the Lake District.

Useful Information

The cafe at Brockhole consistently offers a range of hot and cold meals throughout the year. Brockhole also has the famous Gaddum Restaurant, which offers a range of seasonal menus with an option for afternoon tea, as well as Sunday lunch. Open seasonally only - please do check with the venue in advance of your visit - is the Garden Shed takeaway cafe, the Lakeshore Cafe, and a BBQ and Fish & Chip Van.

At the shop, you can purchase locally made produce and gifts. The house is wheelchair accessible. The gardens are partly wheelchair accessible with electric wheelchairs available to use free of charge.


Entrance to the house, gardens, and adventure playground is free of charge. There are charges for other activities and some require advanced booking.


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