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“The loveliest spot that man hath ever found” – William Wordsworth
You can’t get a much more rousing endorsement for a place than those words spoken by the famous romantic poet, William Wordsworth, about the Lake District town of Grasmere.Wordsworth regularly waxed poetic about the town he chose to call home, and though the town may have changed significantly since the time of Wordsworth and his compatriots, it remains today a picturesque village perfect for exploring on the May bank holiday weekend.
Learn more about the life and writings of William Wordsworth at one of two local attractions that were once close to the poets heart.
Dove Cottage, located on the edge of Grasmere, was the home of Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy from December 1799 to May 1808. Here Wordsworth wrote much of the poetry for which he is remembered today, including “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”, “Ode to Duty”, “My Heart Leaps Up” and “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”, together with parts of his autobiographical epic, The Prelude. Today the cottage is owned and run by the Wordsworth Trust and welcomes some 70, 000 visitors per year. You can find out about opening times and tickett prices by visiting the Wordsworth Trust website.
After outgrowing Dove Cottage, Wordsworth and his family move to the more spacious abode of Allan Bank. Here the family lived for two years, regularly welcoming poet friends such as Thomas de Quincey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Allan Bank is now owned by the National Trust and was only opened to the public in March 2012. The house has been partially restored since a devastating fire in 2011 and offers you the opportunity to see and touch the many layers of this home’s fascinating history. Get up to date information about events at Allan Bank by following them on Twitter @AllanBankNT.
If there is one thing that the Lake District is known for it’s walking. From afternoon strolls around the lakes, to challenging hikes up hefty hills, there are walks suitable for all levels. Two of the best rated walks in the Grasmere are include Helm Crag and Easedale Tarn. Both walks are of moderate difficulty, with the Helm Crag route travelling for 7.5 miles and the Easdeale Tarn route travelling 4.5 miles. Give yourself plenty of time no matter which walk you choose to take in the Grasmere area, as you’ll want to have the time to stop and enjoy the spectacular views along the way. The weather in the Lake District can be unpredictable however, so make sure you bring along some rain gear and snacks for along the way.
After all of your exploring and hiking around Grasmere you’ll want to reward yourself with some of the delicious food that is available in the local areas. One of the most famous foodie stops, and one that is not to be missed, is Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread shop, nestled right in the centre of Grasmere village. The traditional gingerbread that is baked here uses the same recipe developed by one Sarah Nelson more than 150 years ago. The diminutive shop, located in an old schoolhouse, is easy to find, just follow the smell and look for the lineup stretching out the door.
If you’re looking for more than just a snack there is no shortage of cafes and restaurants to choose from in Grasmere. For a relaxed pub lunch or dinner consider Tweedies Bar, renowned for it’s selection of local ales and hearty pub fare. For something a little more upscale, head for The Jumble Room, and eclectic and relaxed restaurant serving the very best of local food.
The Lake District town of Grasmere is one not to be missed. Filled with fascinating history, beautiful vistas, and wonderful walking what isn’t there to like?