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MuseumsRuskin's Museum

Want to find out more about the rich history of South Lakeland and its people? Explore our museums and travel back in time to discover what made South Lakeland the place it is today.

The Kendal Museum is one of the oldest museums in the country, charting the social and natural history of the area from prehistoric times to the present day. Look out for the famous polar bear! Kendal’s Museum of Lakeland Life & Industry shows how our ancestors have worked, lived and entertained themselves for 300 years. Exhibitions include reconstructions of a Victorian street, pharmacy, toy shop and market hall.

The Lakeland Motor Museum in Backbarrow, near Newby Bridge, contains over 100 years of motoring history with fascinating stories for all ages. The Campbell Bluebird Exhibition, shop and riverside café make this much more than just a motor museum. Windermere Steamboat Museum, set in a magnificent location on the shores of Lake Windermere, is presently closed to the public pending the development of the site but does open on special days.

Learn about the history of Coniston and its most famous resident, John Ruskin, at the Ruskin Museum, with its comprehensive selection of Ruskin’s watercolours, drawings and manuscripts. Brantwood, Ruskin's former home, offers a fascinating insight into his file, filled with many fine paintings, beautiful furniture and personal treasures. 

The Armitt in Ambleside houses over 10,000 books covering local history and devotes an area to Beatrix Potter, displaying some of her natural history watercolours. Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum in Grasmere offer unique insights into the life and work of William Wordsworth.

For something light-hearted, why not try the Laurel and Hardy Museum in Ulverston, home to a hoard of memorabilia about the funny men!

To further explore museums in our area, visit GoLakes.