If you are in the south of the Lake District, then venturing out of the national park and into the cute little town of Ulverston is a great idea. I’ve been spending a lot of time there the past year or so since Ross is from those parts. Ulverston is full of culture, with various festivals held there during the year, and lots of quaint shops to explore. But if you head just outside of the main town center, there is another hidden gem – Swarthmoor Hall.
I hadn’t heard of it before, so when I stepped out of the van, I had no idea what to expect. What I came face to face with was a solid square-shaped house. It was grey and simple and not much to look at, if truth be told. But the little garden in front of the cottage was bursting with life and flowers – the idyllic cottage garden.
It made me wonder – what was so special about this building that we had to get a ticket (£6 each) to look inside? We were handed an audio guide and sent to find out. I love a good lil audio guide so I was already pretty content.
Swarthmoor Hall is often thought of as the birthplace of the Quaker movement. It belonged to Judge Thomas Fell and, more importantly for the Quaker movement, his wife Margaret. She converted to become a Quaker after hearing George Fox’s teachings. George Fox was the founding father of the movement and the Fells allowed their home to become its headquarters and he stayed there often.
The hall is now home to many important Quaker artifacts which have been donated by Quakers all over the world. The audio guide explains the beginnings of the movement and how the history of the Quakers is so entwined with that of the house, as well as how Thomas, Margaret and George would have lived during the mid-17th century.
Asides from all the history, the best thing about Swarthmoor Hall is its surroundings and gardens. We took a stroll through the gardens, and accidentally wandered into fields and woodland via a public footpath, over a bubbling stream and past a field of nonchalant cows. The sunny weather certainly helped but it was beautiful.
If you’d like to see exactly how we got on, feel free to check out my vlog of my trip to Ulverston here. And of course, if you go to Swarthmoor Hall, let me know what you think~