Enjoy a Literature Break in the Lake District

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria Daffodils in Caldbeck, the Lake District, photo credit Brian Sherwen Dorothy Wordsworth's Grasmere Journal (photo The Wordsworth Trust) Journal on display at Dove Cottage (photo The Wordsworth Trust) Rydal Mount and Gardens (photo by Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism) Beatrix Potter illustration of Hygrocybe coccinea - Image & Reality exhibition at Armitt Museum, Ambleside Hill Top farmhouse near Hawkshead, home of Beatrix Potter, National Trust Beatrix Potter - Image & Reality exhibition at Armitt Museum, Ambleside (photo credit The Beatrix Potter Society) Beatrix Potter writing by the lake - (photo credit Momentum Pictures) Beatrix Potter - Tailor of Gloucester, 1902 edition (credit Armitt Museum)

The spectacular landscape of the Lake District has been a huge influence on some of England’s best known and well loved writers. In particular the Romantic Poets of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century, including the literary legends of Wordsworth, Coleridge, de Quincey and John Ruskin, were hugely affected by these surroundings.

Literary legends such as William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey & John Ruskin were profoundly affected by the dramatic Lake District landscape.

Many other writers have been profoundly affected by this landscape even seemingly unlikely children’s authors namely Beatrix Potter, Arthur Ramsome and the creator of Postman Pat, John Cunliffe. To this day the remarkable Lake District landscape continues to inspire writers such as Lord Bragg, and Martin Edwards.


Borrowdale near Keswick has long literary legacy, though it is hard to believe that this now quiet valley, was once a hive of industrial activity with iron smelting, charcoal burning, and mining for copper and graphite. The names of scattered hamlets such as Rosthwaite, Seathwaite and Watendlath reflect ancient Norse influences and the landscape itself chronicles centuries of farming, home to the iconic Herdwick Sheep.

Watendlath hamlet and tarn in Borrowdale (photo by Paul Harris)
Watendlath hamlet and tarn in Borrowdale (photo by Paul Harris)

Take the time to explore and be inspired by the rugged beauty of this valley, discover the medieval pack horse bridge at Ashness and a little further up ‘Surprise View’ offering birds eye views of Derwentwater and the fells. Walk a little further onwards and stare in awe at the delicately balanced 2,000 tonne Bowder Stone and admire the pretty meanderings of the River Derwent as it tumbles from the fells on its passage through the epic grandeur of the ‘Jaws of Borrowdale’.


It is here that Wordsworth wrote fondly of the tumbling waterfall of Lodore Falls. That, Sir Hugh Walpole set his Herries Chronicles, with ‘Judith Paris’ fictional residence being Watendlath, ‘Rogue Herries’ uses Uldale as the location for David Herries’ farmhouse, and nearby Ireby is featured in ‘The Fortress’, while Walpole’s former home at Brackenburn, features in ‘Vanessa’.

After a day of exploring the valley retire to the delightful Hazel Bank Country House Hotel, a place brimming with literary connections to Walpole’s Herries Chronicles and renowned for the warmth of its welcome and quality of its food!

Wander and wonder in the scenic Lake District locations associated with William Wordsworth

After a good night’s rest and a hearty repast it’s time to make for Grasmere to visit Wordsworth’s grave in St Oswald’s Church yard and explore his life further at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Trust. It was in this little cottage, at times crammed edge full with people, that William Wordsworth wrote some of the greatest poetry in the English language and Dorothy kept her famous Grasmere Journal, now on display in the museum.

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria
Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria

Begin your tour at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Redevelopment work to realise the Wordsworth Trust’s ‘Reimaging Wordsworth’ project  at Town End has started and  will be phased so that Dove Cottage can remain open to visitors throughout the summer months for guided tours. When Dove Cottage is closed, there will be a special alternative experience, ‘The Discover Wordsworth Talk’, held in the library. These sessions will include a film of Dove Cottage narrated by one of our experienced guides, plus time to view the library with objects and manuscripts on display. They will run every hour, on the half hour, every day of the week. Check website for details

The museum will be closed for the whole of 2019.

Pay a visit to Rydal Mount, Wordsworth’s home from 1813 until his death in 1850. This lovely house is set in extensive gardens landscaped by the poet himself with terraces, rare shrubs and magnificent views and take in Dora’s Field, next to the churchyard of St Mary’s Church at Rydal, which in spring is brim full of daffodils in remembrance of the great bard’s daughter.

Rydal Mount and Gardens
Rydal Mount and Gardens


Later visit The Armitt Museum’s Image & Reality exhibition and discover an unusual side to a world renowned children’s author – a certain Beatrix Potter – discover her love for nature and all things fungus!

Explore the beautiful landscape that inspired the illustrious writer, scientist and illustrator – Beatrix Potter

After all that enjoy a comfortable night’s repose at the Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel, which Beatrix Potter bought for her mother. Wake refreshed, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and then potter over to The World of Beatrix Potter, in Bowness.  Discover Peter Rabbit and all his friends in a magical recreation of Beatrix Potter’s books, complete with sights, sounds and even smells of the countryside. Learn more about this remarkable lady and her characters at this award winning Lake District attraction

From April to November, why not have a really different day out by using the Cross Lakes Experience and catch the special ferry from Pier 3 at Bowness and then the Mountain Goat 525 bus, which meets the ferry. You can get dropped off right at Hill Top at Near Sawrey too and visit one of the world’s most famous literary homes and the setting for many of Beatrix’s stories. Hill Top in Near Sawrey is managed by the National Trust and kept as if she had just stepped out for a little while. Many of her characters lived here, Tom Kitten, Jemima Puddle-Duck, and Samuel and Anna Maria Whiskers!


To mark the 150th Anniversary of this Lake District icon in 2017 we collected 150 fab facts celebrating Beatrix Potter’s life & legacy.

You can also catch the Mountain Goat 525 from Hill Top and onwards to Hawkshead and wander around this higgledy-piggledy place, which dates back to the 17th century. Visit the Beatrix Potter Gallery, which was the solicitor’s office of her husband, William Heelis. Beatrix Potter loved this pretty Lake District village. With a collection of attractive hotels and B&Bs, Hawkshead makes a perfect location for your evening stop.

The National Trust's Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Lake District
The National Trust’s Beatrix Potter Gallery in Hawkshead, Lake District

After breakfast take a scenic stroll up from the village to the peaceful haven of Tarn Hows. Beatrix Potter fell in love with this beautiful tarn, surrounded by a variety of trees and wildlife, and bought it. Today it is owned by the National Trust, who have provided a series of delightful walks around the tarn which you can explore to your heart’s content.

After a gentle meander you can pop over the hill to The Drunken Duck at Barngates and sample their famous food and take in the spectacular Lakeland views over a well-deserved pint and enjoy a comfortable evening’s rest before continuing with your literary adventures.


Ashness Bridge – CA12 5UN
Hazel Bank – CA12 5BX
St Oswald’s – LA22 9SN
Dove Cottage – LA22 9SH
Rydale Mount – LA22 9LU
Armitt Museum – LA22 9BL
Lindeth Howe – LA23 3JF
World of Beatrix Potter – LA23 3BX
Hill Top – LA22 0LF
Beatrix Potter Gallery – LA22 0NS
Tarn Hows – LA21 8AN
Drunken Duck – LA22 0NG

Discover another Lake District cultural itinerary – Grasmere & Rydal: A Day in Wordsworth’s Footsteps

To enjoy these Lakes cultural events and much more, book your break in the Lake District here