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How to celebrate 250 years of Wordsworth in the charming Lake District village of Grasmere

There’s cause for celebration in the Cumbrian village this year, as the literary landscape takes centre stage.

Published 10 Mar 2020, 08:00 GMT
Langdale Hotel is an ideal place to stay when visiting Grasmere.
Langdale Hotel is an ideal place to stay when visiting Grasmere.
Photograph by Langdale Hotel

Why go

This year marks 250 years since the birth of Romantic poet William Wordsworth, who spent most of his life in the Lake District. His home in the pretty village of Grasmere, hugging the lake of the same name, reopens to visitors this month following a £6.2m renovation. It’s not all cultural, though, since the Lake District has plenty of natural attractions too. 

Where to stay

Langdale Hotel’s peaceful setting makes it well worth the 10-minute drive from Grasmere, especially if you check into one of the Waterside rooms, which come with terraces jutting out over a babbling brook. There’s also a pool and sauna, plus a huge spa at Brimstone, Langdale’s sister hotel, on the same estate. From £140, B&B. 

What to do

Dove Cottage, the former home of the Wordsworths, reopens on 7 April, with restored interiors, a recreation of the poet’s orchard garden, new walking trails and a visitor centre. In the summer, the onsite museum also relaunches, with expanded exhibits of Wordsworth’s manuscripts, books and fine art, new galleries exploring his life and a rooftop viewing deck where you can soak up the scenery. The landscape of the Lakes has inspired countless writers; experience the best of it on foot, whether it’s a hike up Helvellyn or Scafell Pike or a stroll along the shore of Grasmere, Windermere or Thirlmere.

Bluebells nod in the sun on Loughrigg Terrace, overlooking Grasmere.
Photograph by Getty

We like

Sam Read Bookseller has been a fixture on Grasmere’s village green since 1887, and word has it novelist EM Forster would send letters home via the bookshop when he holidayed nearby. The store stocks plenty of volumes by and about the Romantics, as well as maps and guidebooks. 

Don’t miss

Local brand Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread has made this village the spiritual home of sweet-and-spicy biscuits. And the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is the best place for buying some to take home.

Where to eat

Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms The Forest Side sits on the edge of Grasmere in a converted Victorian mansion. The seasonally changing tasting menus feature ingredients that have been foraged, grown in the kitchen garden and fished or farmed locally. Expect the likes of homegrown carrots with preserved green walnut and cheese curds.

Published in the April 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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