John Ruskin (1819–1900), who lived at Brantwood for 28 years, was one of the great thinkers of 19th-century society. A polymath, philosopher, painter and critic, as well as an inveterate shell-collector, he expounded views on everything from Venetian architecture to the finer points of lace-making.
The best way to arrive is by boat from Coniston (you also get a 50p discount on admission). While you wait, you can have lunch at the Jumping Jenny in the house's former stables. If you'd prefer to drive, take the B5285 towards Coniston from Hawkshead and follow the signs.
In 1871 Ruskin purchased this lakeside house and spent the next 20 years expanding and modifying it, championing his passion for traditional 'Arts and Crafts' over factory-made materials. He even dreamt up the wallpaper designs.
Of particular note are Ruskin's enormous shell collection in the downstairs study, and several works by JMW Turner (Ruskin's favourite artist) in an upstairs bedroom. The formal gardens are also delightful to wander, with unsurprisingly majestic views.