keswick panoramic cityscape

Wordsworth HouseKeswick
and Garden
National Trust
Main Street
Cumbria CA13 9RX
 
 
There are several properties in England’s Lake District that tell the story of its most famous poet, William Wordsworth but none are as much fun as Wordsworth House in the North Lakes town of Cockermouth.
 
This is the best house to take your young family to because it is where William was born and spent the first eight years of his life with his young brothers and sister. They loved this house with its large, walled garden and the pretty River Derwent flowing just beyond the wall.  Although this terracotta coloured Georgian house looks rather grand we are greeted by the 18th century servants in costume who are hard at work in the kitchen and garden.
 
Wordsworth House is full of activity, just as it was when William was a boy - this is a living history museum.
 
Dates from 1745 - 'Quite a House for such a town'
The house was built in 1745 for the then High Sheriff of Cumberland and even then was described as 'quite a swagger house for such a town'.  In 1761, local businessman, Sir James Lowther, bought the property.  John Wordsworth, the poet's father, moved to Cockermouth as agent to Sir James in 1764.  After marrying Anne Cookson in 1766 they moved, rent free, into the elegant house.
 
William’s elder brother Richard was born in 1768, William in 1770, his sister Dorothy in 1771, and two more brothers, John in 1772 and Christopher in 1774.  William and Dorothy were great friends, sticking up for each other in arguments with their siblings.
 
The household consisted of the Wordsworth family, a Maid-of-all-work, a Manservant, a Nurse to care for the children and a ‘jobbing’ Gardener. Mrs Wordsworth probably acted as Housekeeper, overseeing the running of the household.
 
Of all of the servants, the Maid seems to have worked hardest, with most housekeeping chores falling to her – including laying fires, cleaning rooms, cooking, sweeping floors, making beds and doing the laundry. By comparison the Manservant did far less. In the mornings he may have joined in the housekeeping chores - especially the outdoor jobs - but in the afternoon he would have acted as footman to his master, receiving guests and serving food and drink.
 
Accommodation - Search & Book through Agoda here:
 
Garden restored to 'as it was' during Wordsworth's time
The current garden has been restored to how it was during the Wordsworth’s tenure in the 1770s, even down to the scarecrow.  It was one of the children’s favourite places to play and the house was a lively and happy household until their mother died in 1778 when William was 8.  From this young age he spent most of his time in Penrith with relatives returning home occasionally to his family.  Unfortunately his father died when he was 13 and the orphaned family had to leave their beloved house in Cockermouth to be cared for by various relatives.
 
The house offers a lively and participatory visit with hands-on activities and costumed living history. Rooms on display include a working 18th-century kitchen, the children’s bedroom, Mr John Wordsworth’s offices and other family rooms. The garden with its terraced walk overlooks the River Derwent.
 
Plan Your Visit
Opening Dates & Times
13 March to 31 October: 11:00 - 17:00 hours.  Last entry 16:00 hours. Closed Fridays.
Timed tickets are in operation on busy days.
 
For further information go to Web:  National Trust/ Wordsworth House Opening Times
 
Admission Price
National Trust members have free admission. For all other admission costs go to Web:  National Trust/ Wordsworth House Admission Costs
 
Disabled Access
- The Building:
Lift access to ground floor of house and to café but the top floor is not accessible.
Wheelchair-accessible toilet in rear courtyard.
Virtual tour, audio tours and large print guides  available from reception
 
- The Grounds:
Loose gravel paths, steps to terrace, No parking but drop off point in Low Sand Lane adjacent to the house. Toilets in rear courtyard.
 
For further details go to Web:  Wordsworth House & Garden/ Facilities & Access
 
Facilities
Baby-changing facilities.
Family activities in school holidays: trails, art and craft activities and games.
No parking on site
 
National Trust Shop
The shop next door to Wordsworth House and Garden.
Open from Saturday to Thursday, 10:00 – 17:00 hours , every week until the end of October.
 
 
Contact & Further Information
Telephone   +44 (0)1900 824 805
Mail   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 Getting There
- By Car 
Off A66, on Cockermouth Main Street. (NB entrance is on Main Street not side gate on Low Sand Lane). 
 
- Parking
Nearest car parks in Cockermouth town centre. Long stay car park (not National Trust) signposted as coach park, 300 yards on Wakefield Road, walk back over footbridge to house.
 
- Walking
Close to all town car parks and bus stop.
 
Google Maps - Cockermouth