Cumbria LA22 9SQ
William Wordsworth (1770-1860), the best known of the ‘Lake Poets’ lived in Dove Cottage, Grasmere between 1799 and 1808.
The Lake District was Wordsworth’s spiritual home. He was a ‘Lakes’ man through and through; having been born in Cockermouth Town at Wordworth House & Garden, now a National Trust property and open to the public. Initially home-schooled he attended Hawkshead Village Grammar School before going to Cambridge.
Although he tried to live in Germany with his sister, Dorothy and good friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William suffered terrible homesickness and depression forcing a return to England.
When Wordsworth married his childhood friend Mary Hutchinson in 1802, his sister Dorothy continued to live with them. Their sojourn in Dove Cottage was a happy and productive time for the family. William wrote some of his best work while living in the cottage at Grasmere.
Dove and Olive Inn
The cottage was built sometime in the early 17th century but during the second half of the 18th century it became an inn called the Dove and Olive. Many of the building’s distinctive features date from this time – its whitewashed walls, flagstone floors and dark wood paneling.
Wordsworth referred to this early history in one of his poems:
“…where the Dove and Olive-Bough
Once hung, a poet harbours now,
A simple water-drinking Bard...”
The Dove and Olive was closed down in the early 1790s and the building probably remained empty until the Wordsorths took over the tenancy.
The inn’s dining room on the ground floor reverted back to being a bedroom. Initially it was Dorothy’s room but when William and Mary married it became their bedroom. The washstand displayed in this room belonged to William and Mary and is a rare example of a double washstand.
Fine views over Grasmere Lake
The upstairs bedroom of the cottage is light and airy with fine views over Grasmere Lake and valley. In the 19th century there were no cottages on the other side of the road to spoil the view. It was the obvious choice to become the sitting room, ideal for writing, reading and entertaining visitors.
The Wordsworths were regularly visited by Coleridge, Thomas de Quincey (who later lived there) and Sir Walter Scott.
Many of the family’s household items: furniture, personal possessions and portraits are displayed. All visitors are offered a guided tour as part of the ticket price, telling the story of the house and family.
The garden (open, weather permitting) has been restored to the half wild state that William and Dorothy lovingly created from local plants and materials.
The Wordsworth Trust acquired the cottage in 1891 and opened it to the public.
After visiting the cottage why not pay a visit to St Oswald's Church, Grasmere where Wordsworth is buried in the churchyard. A flat memorial stone marks his grave.
Plan Your Visit
Accommodation - Search & Book through Expedia here:
The complex is closed 24-26 December and 5 January - 4 February for annual maintenance.
Admission Times & Prices
Prices include admission to the cottage, the Wordworth Mueum and Art Gallery, audio guides, and special exhibitions.
Contact & Further Information
+44 (0)1539 435 544
The cottage is an historic building but most wheelchairs can negotiate the ground floor.
There is full access to Museum and Gallery via ramps and a lift. Toilets.
Car parking available for duration of visit
The Dove Cottage website has comprehensive 'How to Find Us' information
Google Map - Dove Cottage