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.

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