Four miles northwest of Ambleside, the village of GRASMERE consists of an intimate cluster of grey-stone houses on the old packhorse road that runs beside the babbling River Rothay. Pretty it certainly is, but it loses some of its charm in high summer thanks to the hordes who descend on the trail of the village’s most famous former resident, William Wordsworth (1770–1850). The poet, his wife Mary, sister Dorothy and other members of his family are buried beneath the yews in St Oswald’s churchyard, around which the river makes a sinuous curl. There’s little else to the village, save its gift shops, galleries, tearooms and hotels, though the lake is just a ten-minute walk away, down Redbank; tremendous views unfold from Loughrigg Terrace, on its southern reaches. A four-mile circuit of Grasmere and adjacent Rydal Water takes around two hours, with the route passing Wordsworth haunts Rydal Mount and Dove Cottage.Read More
Dove Cottage, home to William and Dorothy Wordsworth from 1799 to 1808, was the place where Wordsworth wrote some of his best poetry. Guides, bursting with anecdotes, lead you around the cottage rooms, little changed now but for the addition of electricity and internal plumbing. In the adjacent museum are paintings, manuscripts (including that of “Daffodils”) and mementos of the so-called “Lake Poets”, Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, as well as “opium-eater” Thomas De Quincey who also lived in the cottage for several years.
Rydal MountAt Dove Cottage Wordsworth had been a largely unknown poet of straitened means, but by 1813 he’d written several of his greatest works (though not all had yet been published) and had been appointed Westmorland’s Distributor of Stamps, a salaried position which allowed him to take up the rent of a comfortable family house. Rydal Mount remained Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until his death in 1850, and the house is owned by descendants of the poet. You’re free to wander around what is essentially still a family home, as well as explore Wordworth’s cherished garden.