Grasmere & Rydal: A day in Wordsworth’s footsteps

Sketch of William Wordsworth (Wordsworth Trust) The Grot at Rydal Hall (photo by Dave Willis, Cumbria Tourism) Dora's Field, Grasmere Wordsworth Museum, Grasmere, the Lake District Dove Cottage, Grasmere, Cumbria

A stroll from Ambleside up the long drive to Rydal Hall will take you along a sculpture trail through beautiful gardens and woodland. Marvel at the unique permanent outdoor exhibition of textile sculptures in Britain, alongside those in wood, metal and stone. Made from natural materials that are continually interacting with the elements; you’ll get a different perspective every time you visit.

Across the lane behind the Hall is Rydal Mount – Wordsworth’s home for 37 years. Enjoy a self-guided visit of the house and four acres of terraced garden, and stop for a coffee here or in Rydal Hall’s Old Schoolroom.

Rydal Mount and Gardens - home to William Wordsworth for 37 years
Rydal Mount and Gardens – home to William Wordsworth for 37 years

Then set off past Dora’s Field – planted with daffodils by William and Mary, in memory of their daughter Dora – and along the old “Coffin Path” to Grasmere – enjoying the lovely views of Rydal Water through the trees, and of walkers on Loughrigg Fell. There are plenty of places to stop for a breather along the stoney track, just as the coffin bearers taking bodies from Rydal to the church at Grasmere had done in centuries gone by.

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

Next door is the impressive Wordsworth Museum, with treasures from the age of Romanticism…

In Grasmere, after lunch it’s time for a guided tour of the world-famous Dove Cottage – Wordsworth’s first Lake District home after returning in 1799.

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

Next door is the impressive Wordsworth Museum, with treasures from the age of Romanticism, including paintings, watercolours, portraits, and the greatest collection of the poet’s letters, journals and poems.

Passing the churchyard where Wordsworth is buried, it’s hard to resist the delicious smell of the famous Grasmere Gingerbread that has been made to a secret recipe for hundreds of years. It’s a popular tradition, so you may find you have to queue. Once you’ve bought your warm gingerbread, cross the road to the Northern Centre for Storytelling. If you’re lucky, you’ll find Taffy Thomas – the first-ever Storytelling Laureate – in residence and sharing tales.

Grasmere is a lovely village and just right for a bit of shopping. The Heaton Cooper Studio may be calling you – enjoy wandering round the gallery and again it’s hard to resist a purchase. Perhaps an original watercolour of a Lakeland landscape to take home with you?

USEFUL POSTCODES

Rydal Hall – LA22 9LX

Rydal Mount – LA22 9LU

Dove Cottage – LA22 9SH

Heaton Cooper Studio – LA22 9SX

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