Lakeland Poets: Wordsworth and his circle at Dove Cottage, Grasmere and Rydal Mount - Full Day All-inclusive Tour One-day tour
Our partner: English Lakes Tours
Our partner: English Lakes Tours
The English Lake District weather can change quickly, even in the summer months. Please bring a waterproof coat with a hood in case of rain or windy weather.
As there is some walking involved in the tour, some uphill and on uneven or wet terrain, please wear suitable, comfortable shoes.
On every day except Fridays, the day starts with a scenic drive to your first location, Greta Hall in Keswick.
On a Friday, because Wordsworth House is closed, we begin the tour with a visit to the medieval village of Hawkshead. The journey there takes you along narrow, winding woodland roads through undulating fields filled with Herdwick sheep and rocky outcrops. Relax and admire the picturesque farms, barns and houses made from local Lakeland slate and stone. Your entrance to Hawkshead Grammar School is included in your tour. Here you will be able to see where Wordsworth was educated and the desk where he carved his signature as a boy. Your guide will also take you on a short guided walk around the village pointing out all of the places of interest and then you move on to the next location, Greta Hall in Keswick.
Greta Hall is now privately owned but we pause at the bottom of the driveway for a brief look at the building. It was built about 1800 and was the former home of the romantic poets Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Southey, who was Poet Laureate from 1813 to 1843, lived here for 40 years. Many famous literary personalities visited Greta Hall including the Wordsworths, the essayist, poet and antiquarian Charles Lamb and his sister Mary. William Hazlitt the English essayist, drama and literary critic, painter, social commentator and philosopher was also a guest as was the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and the poet and novelist Sir Walter Scott. From here we travel to the beautiful and tranquil St. Kentigern's Church at Crossthwaite.
Situated on the outskirts of Keswick, Crossthwaite Parish Church is dedicated to St. Kentigern who came to Keswick in 553 AD. There has been a church on this site ever since. The present church was built in 1181 with alterations and enlargements in the 16th Century and extensive restoration in 1844 by Sir George Gilbert Scott who was a leading architect of the Gothic revival style. Your guide will take you to see the grave of Robert Southey in the churchyard and then into the church to see the splendid memorial to him. The epitaph and memorial were written by William Wordsworth who succeeded him in the post of Poet Laureate.
After our visit to St. Kentigern's Church, on every day except Friday, we travel on to Wordsworth House in Cockermouth. On a Friday we leave St. Kentigern's and go to our lunch stop near Grasmere.
Wordsworth House in Cockermouth is a lovely Georgian townhouse, the birthplace and childhood home of romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy. The house is presented as it would have been when they lived there with their parents, three brothers and household servants. Here you can experience life in the 1770s with real food on the dining table, a fire burning in the kitchen grate and a recipe William and Dorothy might have eaten for you to taste. Ink and quill pens are ready in the clerk's office, and if you play the piano you might like to try the replica harpsicord. After a quick 'hello' to the small flock of heritage chickens in the garden, we move on to our lunch stop near Grasmere.
The location for our lunch (not included) has many stories to tell, not to mention a never-ending list of visitors including many writers, painters and explorers. It was here, whilst visiting their dear friend Elizabeth Fletcher, that William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy would stroll around the grounds pausing only for Dorothy to note down William's words. Their favourite places, such as Dorothy's Seat and Wordsworth's Well, are dotted around the 30 acres of grounds.
Having enjoyed lunch we take a short drive into the picturesque village of Grasmere. Your guide will take you on a short walk to see the Rectory where the Wordsworths lived for two years; the school where William and Dorothy taught and which is now where the famous Grasmere Gingerbread is made; Church Style, the former inn where Wordsworth and Coleridge stayed during their walking tour of 1799; views of the Wordsworth's home of Allan Bank perched high on the hill over the village. St. Oswald's Church, cradled in its sublime Lakeland setting, is where Wordsworth chose as his last resting place rather than at Poet's Corner in Westminster Abbey.
After enjoying Grasmere Village, we now move on to Dove Cottage, the home where Wordsworth with his sister Dorothy lived in from December 1799 to May 1808. There is major development work happening at Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum during 2019. The tour includes either a guided visit to Dove Cottage or a guided virtual tour of the cottage depending upon the availability on the day of your visit.
We now drive from Dove Cottage to your next location at Rydal Mount. After the death of two of their children, the Wordsworth family felt that they had to move away from Grasmere Rectory with its constant view of the graveyard where they were buried. In 1813, they moved to Rydal Mount. This was William Wordsworth's best loved family home for the greater part of his life from 1813 to his death in 1850 at the age of 80. The house with its beautiful gardens were a focus for romantic literature. They continue to be owned by descendants of William Wordsworth and retain the feel of a lived in family home. The house dates from the 16th century and was enlarged over the intervening centuries, and also by Wordsworth himself. It contains a selection of the family's prized possessions and portraits. Wordsworth was a keen landscape gardener and the five acre garden remains very much as he designed it. It consists of fell-side terraces, rock pools and an ancient mound. Entry to Rydal Mount is included in the price of this tour.
Near to Rydal Mount is Rydal Church. The chapel of St Mary was built by Lady le Fleming, of Rydal Hall in 1824. William Wordsworth helped to choose the site, which was originally an orchard. The Wordsworth family and the family of the English poet Matthew Arnold, from nearby Fox How, worshipped here. Their family pews are on each side of the aisle at the front of the church. Wordsworth was church warden from 1833-1834, and there is a memorial plaque to him.
The Rash field next to the churchyard is a plot of land which was bought by Wordsworth who originally intended to build on it. The house never materialised. After his daughter Dora died in 1847, William went down to this field, and together with his wife and gardener, planted hundreds of daffodils as a memorial to Dora.