Enjoy a Literature Break in the Lake District

Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria Daffodils in Caldbeck, the Lake District, photo credit Brian Sherwen William Wordsworth's bedroom at Dove Cottage, Grasmere (photo The Wordsworth Trust) 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.

// DISCOVER THE LITERARY LEGACY OF THE LAKE DISTRICT

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’.

// WANDER IN WORDSWORTH COUNTRY

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 garden overlooking Grasmere in the Lake District
Dove Cottage garden overlooking Grasmere in the Lake District

Begin your tour at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. Step back into the past with a guided tour of William Wordsworth’s famous Grasmere home. Next door, the award-winning museum presents a permanent Wordsworth exhibition with a programme of special exhibitions, events and poetry readings.

Inside Dove Cottage, Grasmere in the Lake District (photo The Wordsworth Trust)
Inside Dove Cottage, Grasmere in the Lake District (photo The Wordsworth Trust)

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

// EXPLORE BEATRIX POTTER’S LAKE DISTRICT

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!

// CELEBRATE THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF BEATRIX POTTER

To mark the 150th Anniversary of this Lake District icon – check out 150 fab facts celebrating Beatrix Potter’s life & legacy and these special National Trust Lake District events!

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 loved this pretty Lake District village.

For your evening stop, head over Hawkshead hill to Tilberthwaite and to cosy and comfortable Yew Tree Farm, saved from the threat of developers by Beatrix in 1930 as part of the large Monk Coniston Estate. This is the farm featured in the Beatrix Potter movie.

Yew Tree Farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter, is now a National Trust property that featured in the 2006 film 'Miss Potter', (photo by Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism)
Yew Tree Farm, once owned by Beatrix Potter, is now a National Trust property that featured in the 2006 film ‘Miss Potter’, (photo by Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism)

After breakfast walk up from the farm to the peaceful haven of Tarn Hows. This beautiful tarn is surrounded by a variety of trees and wildlife, Beatrix fell in love 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 hearts 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 of over a well-deserved pint and enjoy a comfortable evening’s rest before continuing with your literary adventures.

// USEFUL POSTCODES

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
Yew Tree Farm – LA21 8DP
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