Visit Grasmere and the surrounding villages and stay in bed & breakfast accommodation:
Grasmere, Cumbria. This tranquil little lake is famous above all as Wordsworth's home from 1799 until he moved to Rydal in 1813. Dove Cottage, where he lived for nine years, is open to the public. The site of his Wishing Gate is on the old road, which gives fine views of the lake running behind the main road along the east shore. There is a little island of which Coleridge wrote, “We drank tea the night before I left Grasmere, on the island in that lovely lake, our kettle swung over the fire, hanging from the branch of a Fir-tree”.
The area around village and lake is notable for the scenery along various walking routes. The strikingly shaped Helm Crag lies North West, Rydal Fell and Nab Scar lie East, and Yew Crag and Silver Howe West. Apart from the main road, the only motoring exit is South West past the lake to Red Bank where the road forks right for Elterwater and the Langdale Pikes, and left to pass Loughrigg. From the top of the steep bank the path of Loughrigg Terrace on the left gives fine views of the lake. There is little parking space at Red Bank, and cars are better left at the village or White Moss Common in order to cross the Rothay footbridge and come up at the middle of the Terrace. This continues East above Rydal Water, and past a huge cave left from an old quarry which can be penetrated by the light from the entrance. Other walks arc to Helm Crag, to Grey Crag and Alcock Tarn, to Silver Howe, to Dow Bank, and to Swinescar Hause. To reach the tops of Helm Crag, the Howe and Swinescar, however, you must climb over 1,000 ft.
Placed just West of the main road to the North of Grasmere (Lake), the village can be missed by the motorist. Below Helm Crag and Nab Scar, above the lake, provides a great attraction. Wordsworth pronounced it “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”, and Thomas Gray called it “this little unsuspected paradise”.
At Town End is Dove Cottage, the home of Wordsworth where he lived with his sister, Dorothy, from 1799 to 1808. He brought his bride, Mary, to Dove Cottage in 1802. What is often regarded as his best work was written at this small house, a former inn, and probably built in the 17th century; and it was a meeting point for famous literary figures — Coleridge, Southey, de Quincey and others. It is preserved almost as it was when Wordsworth lived there, by the Dove Cottage Trust, and holds many relics. Coleridge followed Wordsworth to the Lakes in 1800 and lived at Greta Hall, Keswick, until 1804. He returned to the Lakes in 1808 and lived for two years at Wordsworth's next home, Allan Bank. Later, de Quincey lived in Dove Cottage for 26 years from 1809. The Wordsworth Museum nearby contains MSS. and other important items.
Allan Bank, Wordsworth's next home, is just NorthWest of the village. Owned by the National Trust, it is private, but visitors may view it from the drive. While there from 1808 to 1811, the poet wrote most of The Excursion. He then lived at the old rectory, opposite St Oswald's Church, before moving to Rydal in 1813.
In The Excursion he gives a description of St Oswald's, which he attended during his life at Grasmere. In the churchyard are the graves of Wordsworth and his wife, his sister, his daughter Dora and her husband, and of Hartley Coleridge. It is believed that there was a l2th-century church on the site, of which parts may be incorporated in the present one. It contains the 17th-century manor pew of the Le Fleming family, with other monuments. A Wordsworth plaque, a pitch pipe, old chairs and alms box can be seen.
The Swan Hotel, an old coaching inn, appears in Wordsworth's poem The Waggoner. At the bottom of the south slope of Helm Crag is Lancrigg, the house where Wordsworth composed much of The Prelude, walking to and fro on a garden terrace as his sister took it down.
The 1970 Wordsworth Bi-Centenary Celebrations, supported by Mr Richard Wordsworth, great-great-grandson of the poet, and Cecil Day-Lewis, the Poet Laureate with the inclusion of the world premiere of Wordsworth's only play, “The Borderers” — underline the importance of his Grasmere period. It was appropriate to arrange these events in the village, a place Wordsworth always valued for the inspiration such an environment gave “to see into the heart of things”.
Nearby towns: Ambleside, Keswick, Ullswater
Nearby villages: Boot, Borrowdale, Bowness-on-Windermere, Coniston, Dockray, Elterwater, Glenridding, Grizedale, Hawkshead, High Wray, High Yewdale, Kentmere, Mardale, Newlands, Patterdale, Rosthwaite, Rydal, Seathwaite, Torver, Ulpha, Underbarrow, Windermere, Wythburn
Have you decided to visit Grasmere or the surrounding villages? Please look above for somewhere to stay in:
- a Grasmere bed and breakfast (a Grasmere B&B or Grasmere b and b)
- a Grasmere guesthouse
- a Grasmere hotel (or motel)
- a Grasmere self-catering establishment, or
- other Grasmere accommodation