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A view of Wray near Ambleside, a National Trust visitor attraction
A view of Wray near Ambleside, a National Trust visitor attraction
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Historic Buildings & Sites

Wray is a great value day out near Ambleside. It’s a National Trust castle and parkland but entry is currently free – check before you go to make sure. The best way to arrive is by the Windermere Lake Cruise – catch the Green Cruise from Waterhead Pier in Ambleside. The Gothic boathouse at Wray is an attraction in itself.

Although storm damage and cutbacks mean that both the play trail and the Peter Rabbit adventure rooms are closed, there is still plenty to do and see.

The ground floor of the castle is open to the public and as well as exploring the rather stern Gothic revival architecture, you can pop into a photography exhibition and a secondhand bookshop.

Outside, there’s a small arboretum with all sorts of exotic giant fir trees which were a bit of a Victorian craze. You can also follow the way-marked trails around the lake shore and parkland or use the castle as a starting point for longer walks in the area.

The views over Windermere are spectacular and there’s a lovely shingle beach that’s ideal for skimming stones. The best activities here are about taking in the surroundings and making your own fun. This pleasantly lo-fi visitor experience contrasts nicely with the busy itineraries you feel obliged to mark off at many National Trust properties.

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