“ Grasmere is probably the Cumbria's most popular village probably thanks to William Wordsworth (1770-1850). Today Grasmere is totally given over to the tourist industry, with plenty of gift shops, and places to eat and stay. „
I think I have to agree with Wordsworth - Grasmere really is one of the loveliest places on earth.
When I was young I used to come here once a year with my Dad for a weeks holiday and we'd spend most of that time in or around the village, walking up mountains like Silverhowe and Easedale Tarn (don't get the impression we're fit, we really aren't and we're even less fit now). Unfortunately other things that happened in our lives meant that this tradition ended up falling my the way side and although I wanted to go back, I could never really afford it.
Back in April of this year (2013) I was booked to photograph a wedding by Lake Windermere and as the distance from my home required at least one overnight stay, I decided to use the opportunity to book myself into a B&B in Grasmere the night before.
To cut a long story short I took a quick photo of the room I was staying in and later emailed it to the B&B owner asking if he'd like to exchange a few nights free stay in return for me photographing the whole B&B for him - he said yes and a few days ago I got back from said holiday, on which I had taken my Dad to relive old times.
Grasmere is now, much like it was as I always remember it at least a dozen years ago - a couple of new shops and a small collection of new houses being built, but it was a real relief to find the village much unchanged.
Grasmere is incredibly popular with walkers as it is essentially surrounded by mountains - Easedale tarn has a waterfall with a lake at the top, and if you don't think you can make it up a mountain then the village has a good sized lake of its own down at 'ground level'. Even if you're not a keen walker the views are stunning every way you look so there are loads of photo opportunities or you can just sit back and relax at a coffee shop and enjoy the scenery.
As the village is so popular with tourists, there are an awful lot of B&B's, hotels and self catering accommodation to hand, so you shouldn't be short of somewhere to stay. On my trips this year I stayed at Chestnut villa on the main road out the village - lovely B&B, great host (Mike) and definitely recommended.
There is a small village green and a larger park close to hand which has a play area for small children. Shops wise there are a fair number of gift shops, a large newsagents called Barney's (with a huge range of puzzles and model cars in stock), a lovely garden centre, plenty of walking gear shops, a book shop that's over 100 years old and plenty of places to eat. One particularly famous shop is located next to the church and is Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread - it's a long established business, run from a tiny quaint building where they sell delicious gingerbread and a few other ginger related items. Even if you don't like ginger, it's worth a quick peak inside and the smell wafting out is heavenly.
Pub wise you have The Travellers Rest which is a short walk out of town (see my review on this place - it's ok but nothing special), The Lamb which is attached to the Red Lion hotel and serves decent 'pub' food at normal prices, or you have Tweedies which is a little more expensive, but the food is absolutely delicious (best fish and chips I've ever had and worth the £14.50, wild boar burger was scrummy too).
The village church has a little bit of a tourist attraction - it's home to the Wordsworth family graves, including William himself. The graves are ringed my a small iron fence and there is a small informational plaque nearby. If you'd like you can also visit Wordsworth's home 'Dove cottage' - it's not owned by the National Trust and does cost about £7.50 per person to get in though.
Many of the buildings are traditionally stone built and beautiful to look at - they really give you a sense of place quite different from many other areas I've been to and make it easier to imagine what it must have been like living here many years ago, whilst still retaining all the modern comforts (mobile phone signal tends to be fairly good and consistent for one).
As far as parking is concerned there are a number of car parks in which you should be able to find a place with relative ease, however these are fairly expensive. There is a small amount of free parking on the stretch of road opposite Barney's and down one side of the green - these are both free, but restricted to an hours stay and you'd be lucky to find a space most days.
If you do decide to walk into the village in the evening then you may wish to take a torch with you as there aren't a huge number of street lights and you have to be careful where you place your steps.
For needs that outweigh those the village can provide (the only chain shop I can think of that isn't walking related is a small Co-op) then Ambleside is a short drive away and both Windermere and Keswick aren't too far.
While good weather certainly makes any stay more pleasant, the village oozes charm whatever the weather may bring - when we last arrived it was pouring with rain and mist was shrouding many of the mountains - far from being annoying, I thought it was incredibly atmospheric and beautiful.
Overall I can't recommend Grasmere highly enough - I always held a soft spot for it in my heart due to my childhood connections, but though the years have worn on the allure of this stunning village has never waned. I'd move there in a heart beat were it possible. If you're staying nearby in Cumbria, you should certainly put this on your list of places to visit and if you're planning a holiday up there, but haven't yet picked a 'base' then go for it because you won't regret it.
Grasmere is a very small yet very popular little village set in the English Lake District. This village is in the heart of Cumbria and is set in an area of stunning natural beauty. Although Grasmere has a very small population it often gets busy in the summer months when thousands of tourists from all over the world come to visit. This really is one of the countries prettiest little villages and is somewhere that is well worth a visit.
If you are looking to stay in Grasmere there are a few nice options. There are some top notch hotels that have an excellent reputation. The five star rated Moss Grove Hotel is very popular and provides a high level of rooms and service. Another very well known hotel is the Wordsworth Hotel, this is a four star hotel and has some stunning grounds that people can enjoy. There are also some smaller hotels and even some little guesthouses which are very nice and much more affordable. Grasmere also has a really nice campsite with some amazing views of the mountains.
Possibly the biggest pull for tourists and the reason why Grasmere is famous is because of the well known poet William Wordsworth. This is where Wordsworth wrote much of his poetry and it's easy to see where he got his inspiration from. There is a small museum next to the famous 'Dove Cottage' where Wordsworth did his writing. This museum is great for people with an interest in poetry and literature.
Grasmere is only a small place but there are some nice shops to look around. There are also a few nice little cafes that provide excellent home cooked food and a nice warm welcome. My personal favourite shop in Grasmere is the Gingerbread Shop. The smell when you walk in here is wonderful and the shop offers some really good quality gingerbread and other delicious items. There are also some really nice places to eat out in the village, some of the pubs and hotels offer excellent food and a high quality of service, one thing you do find in Grasmere is that the people are very friendly and the service always comes with a smile.
There are also some really nice places to visit around Grasmere. The Lake District has some stunning scenery and some really nice towns. Keswick, Ambleside and Windermere are all within half an hours drive from Grasmere. There are also some lovely walks around Grasmere Lake, or up into the mountains. The views that you can find in this area really are second to none.
Although Grasmere is only a very small place it does have so much to offer visitors. I have been to Grasmere many times and always enjoy it. The scenery in the area really is first class and using Grasmere as a base to explore the area is a great idea. If you have never been to Grasmere I would say that you are missing out. Go and check it out.
Grasmere is one of my favourite places to base ourselves when we are visiting the Lake District to do some hiking, it is a beautifula classic Lake District village and is also linked to Wordsworth as he resided in the village for a number of years hence there are lots of references to him as well as the odd tourist trap themed place.
Grasmere the lake is an inmpressive stretch of water and about a two mile walk to circle and the paths are well set out and easy to negotiate. After that brief warm up there are a host of great walks in teh area to suit all standards of fitness, as with any hiking in the Lakes only tackle what you are confident you can achieve, go suitably attired and prepared for sudden changes in weather and visibility and of couse check the weather before leaving and leave details of your route just in case.
If all that activity builds up a hunger then replace those lost pounds with some excellent cream teas as there are many fine establishments to sample with a dizzying array of lovely looking cakes to indulge your sweet tooth.
Amongst the landamrks to go and view St Oswald's Church where Wordsworth is buried is a lovely place to visit and the daffodil garden can provide a splash of colour, as you walk along the path you can do a spot of name spotting for clebrities who have made donations to fund the building of the path and maintian the garden and other attractions.
There are plenty of places to stay to suit all budgets and that includes the Youth Hostel which is pretty good if you are on a tight budget, we have alos used a guest house before the name of which escapes me but it was perfectly nice.
Less busy than some of the other Lake District locations in terms of non tourist trade Grasmere is a lovely location to spend a few days.
I have been to New Zealand. It is stunning. Breathtakingly stunning. Staggeringly stunning. Absolutely completely "to die for" stunning (whole new set of reviews on its way shortly.
So when my best friend in the whole wide world (literally, i think a seperate hemisphere counts as the whole wide world) announced he was coming to visit from afore mentioned amazing kiwi country we quickly entered into a competition of "my place is better than your place." My only issue was that I knew I was about to loose, massively with an air ticket to NZ riding on it.
This was about to get expensive...
So i racked my tiny little brain for the best place in the entirity of the UK that was:-
a) Easily manageable as a car journey
b) Lots of free places to go visit and minimal costs to eat
c) Contained stunning scenery
d) Had plenty to do and some challenging walks
And that in all honesty sums up both Grasmere and the Lake District as a whole.
Arriving in Grasmere under cover of darkness on the 2nd day of our lakeland stay, the town was as pretty as a picture. All lit up on a balmy easters evening with the lakeland hills silhouetted all around, both myself and my travelling comapnion (and my parents in the car behind) were all extremely impressed.
The town of Grasmere nestles in the valley between Helm Crag, Long Crag, Loughrigg Fell and the main Langdale range. It immediately smacks of old world charm, contributed to by the typical bubbling brook and riverside church.
Mainly famous as being the dwelling place of Poet Laureate William Wordsworth and his much loved sister Dorothy, the town attracts many lovers of his works on a pilgrimage to the family graves each year. Grasmere is also famous for its amazing gingerbread,
The High street is situated around an extremely characterful Village green and is a hot bed of typical lakeland shops and cafes. Every imaginable item is able to be purchased from the numerous guide books, os maps and walking gear that you would expect, through to some very tasteful holiday souvenirs. My advice though would be to shop around for an item as the shops tend to get cheaper the further out of town you head!
For food and general eatery nothing can come more highly recommended than Baldry's restaurant, situated on the left hand side of the road as you walk along with the Best Western hotel on your right. Strolling along looking for a place to eat we were attracted to the clean and tidy interior along with a much advertised vegetarian breakfast on the menu. Perfect!!
So we entered, ordered, and waited, and waited some more but boy was it worth the wait!!! each breakfast was sent out with a dinner plate chock full of different breads and jams, the biggest pot of tea you could imagine and an english breakfast that would've been shared between 2 people let alone eating it yourself! Thus fortified we headed out to explore the town further.
Talking a short stroll further down the road away from the Best Western revealed the Wordsworth Daffodill garden. the top path through the churchyard leads after a very short amble to the wordsworth graves. But don't expect to be able to pick out the actual William all that easily. There are no less than 4 William Wordsworths buried in the family plot! maybe a deliberate ploy to entice you to linger longer i have no idea. Taking the lower path, paved with dedicated tiles that can be purchased and installed at a small price, leads through a daffodil bound, extremely relaxing garden. This garden eventually forms part of the delightful riverside walk along a very shallow, extremely inviting river.
Nowhere can the town of grasmere be mentioned without also including the famous grasmere gingerbread, already excellently reviewed here by a fellow dooyooer but the best £1.65 you will ever spend!
growing bored with sight seeing we ensconced mother and father in a comfortable spot and headed out to experience one of the much more challenging hill walks in the area of helm crag, leaving Grasmere behind and experiencing instead a wonderful scenery of waterfalls and lakeland tarns.
There are numerous places to stay within grasmere and as such shopping around is a must. We stayed in the Best Western hotel which, I am sad to say we were all very disappointed with as it is in need of a dramatic face lift and not worth the money.
The grasmere hotel itself is hailed as one of the favoured resting places and should be considered. Or there is a vegetarian hotel for those people so inclined.
Bed and breakfasts also form a wide part of the tourism industry here but personally I would rather be able to recline in a room with my own bathroom and able to pop down to the hotel bar for a top up where required!
Access to the lakes is amazingly easy with the use of the M6 toll road north and the excellent road network that the lake district provides.
National Express coaches runs aq very regular service into Grasmere at a cost of a touch over £50 per adult ticket (from the midlands)
Trains also run into windermere for over £64 per return.
Grasmere, and indeed the entire lakedistrict epitomises the english countryside and is much preserved through the legacy of Beatrix Potter who purchased massive swathes of land throughout the lakes and bequeathed them on death to the National Trust. If you haven't yet and don't plan to visit then you have not experienced the jam in englands doughnut.
****A village steeped in literary tradition****
The beautiful village of Grasmere situated in the heart of the English Lake District will of course be forever associated with the great poet William Wordsworth 1770-1850 who lived here at Dove Cottage for a period of 8 years at the peak of his writing powers, during which time he penned his most famous piece, the beautiful and evocative "I wandered lonely as a cloud".
All quite familiar I hear you cry, but I'm pretty sure you didn't know that Grasmere is in fact the very place that inspired children's TV icon Postman Pat's home village of Greendale!
So with that revelation still fresh in the mind, please allow me the pleasure of taking you on a small journey of discovery around some of the other delights of what in my view, can only be described as a truly picturesque and surprisingly unspoilt village, which serves as a perfect base for holidaying in the Lakes.
So let's start with the Lake itself, Grasmere, which is around a mile and a half in circumference, and is owned and the paths around it fully maintained by the National Trust. For those of you traveling by car, follow the sign to the main village off a mini-roundabout on the A591, into Stock Lane where within a few hundred yards there is a large public car park on the right.
The Lake is right opposite the Car Park, and I would highly recommend starting your visit with a gentle stroll clockwise along the paths leading from the car-park all the way around this beautiful, enchantingly undisturbed stretch of water.
Described by the great man himself (no not Pat!!) as "The most loveliest spot that man hath found", it certainly doesn't disappoint, but for me as a huge fan of a Lakeland cream tea, the real beauty lies in the wide selection of enticing tea rooms that lie in wait at the end of the journey!
One small word of caution for those less able walkers, about ¾ of the way round, just as the tea shops are almost in site, a certain portion of the Lake remains privately owned which means you are diverted up a short hillside in order to complete the journey. Unlikely to be a problem for the many seasoned fell-walkers that are attracted to the area, but lets just say I can vividly recall my sister who's boots aren't really made for walking not being best pleased at discovering this extra burden of exercise!
****Exploring the Village*****
Once you've recovered in a tea-room or two (I recommend the family run Jumble Room Café), its time to explore the village. The natural point of focus is St Oswald's Church where William Wordsworth is buried.
It did make me chuckle the first time I ever visited the church yard back in spring 2001 when I overheard a stereotypically loud elderly American Tourist proclaiming "His headstone's really kind of plain, I thought it would be grander than this honey"...At this point a sympathetic and rather unassuming old lady quietly pointed out that in fact these were the Wordsworth family graves and that the William Wordsworth gravestone he was looking at was actually that of his father William!
But what really marked it for me as a comedy moment of classic proportions and a wondrous illustration of the perils of failing to engage brain first before speaking, was the pure and simple fact that located less than 5 feet away to the right was a much more distinctive headstone and grave utterly bedecked in yellow daffodils (as you might expect), that short of a flashing neon sign and arrow pointing at it was about as obvious as it gets as the fitting shrine and tribute to the great one!
One other interesting feature of the Churchyard is the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden. The Friends of Grasmere society who have designed and are maintaining the garden ask visitors to have a daffodil planted in their name, or a name carved on one of the paving stones which make up a winding path around the garden in return for relatively sizeable donations (hence the path isn't finished yet!).
Look closely at the names at the very end of the path overlooking the attractive bridge and you may spot such notable celebrity benefactors as the inimitable Rolf Harris, Michael Ball and even the ever lovely Gloria Hunniford!
By the far entrance of the church, you'll find another popular tourist stopping point in the village, the tiny old school house building dating back to the 1700s that is now home to the Sarah Nelson Gingerbread shop.
Apparently there is controversy still raging within the village itself as to the true heir to the title of finest Gingerbread in the hamlet, but suffice for me to say that frankly this stuff tastes like no ginger bread I've ever had in my life - its definitely an acquired taste, and my recommendation is to stick to the Kendal mint cake!!
****Places to Stay****
Have stayed in two excellent establishments in and around Grasmere over the last few years and can heartily recommend both if for different reasons. Back in the day before we had our baba, via the wonders of the Interweb, we happened upon an old Lakeland Coaching house called the Travellers Rest, and stayed there with a group of friends. Situated just outside the village in the shadow of one of the most recognisable landmarks in the lakes the 'Lion and Lamb' on the summit of Helm Crag, this is a fantastic example of a brilliantly run real ale pub that also offers perfectly comfortable bed and breakfast accomodation and superb evening meals to suit any weary traveller. That is unless you have young children when sadly you have to stay elsewhere.
Am happy to report that for a family alternative can highly recommend the Dale Lodge, which is literally right in the heart of the Village. Family run, with very spacious and modern rooms, with an acre or two of gardens, the best part is that within the family is a renowned head chef who has trained in Michelin starred restaurants, and they offer the same food in the adjoining Tweedies Bar (another CAMRA backed establishment) as they do in the main restaurant, so you can eat there on an early sitting with the little ones and enjoy a fine feast. Prices are a little high at peak season but that's to be expected, and you really do get what you pay for in my view
So there you have it, postman pat's personal paradise (before it was mercilessly ripped apart by those modernising TV makers - that's another subject entirely) for you to explore, just a short trip down the road from the popular towns of Windermere and Ambleside, I heartily recommend Grasmere as a base camp for your Lakeland adventures - or as Wordsworth himself might of said "good pubs, good grub, its not too shabby really!"
Keswick is often regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the UK and rated by the staff of the American credit agency Standard & Poor as one of the most fabulous places on earth. Keswick is known as the town that has it all and rightly so. Surrounded by the English Lake District Park, which consists of some 860 square miles of incredibly idyllic countryside. Keswick has always inspired philosophers, social reformers, artists and poets, such as Ruskin, Walpole, Coleridge, Heaton-Cooper, Wordsworth and Southey.
If ever there was a town surrounded by magic, myth and lore then this is definitely it. The countryside has been shaped by a history of mining, forestry and farming, the sheep being contained upon the fells by dry stone walls. Walkers are spoiled for choice in the area with the summits of Skiddaw (931m), Scafell (964m) and the gentler slopes of Catbells (445m) and Latrigg (367m) all of which (excepting Scafell) provide panoramic views of the town. Keswick is the centre of UK climbing activity and naturally is the favourite centre for Lakeland climbers. The town is planning on being the outdoor activity centre of Britain within the next few years as a result of its current prominence. Mountain biking around the lower slopes of Blencathra is said to be the best in England and the Coast to Coast Cycle route passes close to the centre of town.
Despite its small size (population 4850 approx), Keswick contains a variety of indoor and outdoor attractions far wider than you might expect. The town also has the accolade of having the highest number of B&Bs and Hotels per head of population within the UK.
Three very individual museums, a highly successful Theatre, the cinema and art and craft exhibitions are balanced for the active by an indoor climbing wall, tennis courts, mini golf course, leisure pool and sports hall. The town is also blessed with two large recreational parks within a stones throw of the town centre. Fitz Park is home to Keswick Cricket Club voted by Wisdens as the most beautiful cricket ground in the whole country. Within a 10 minute walk of the moot hall is the majesty of Derwentwater described by president Woodrow Wilson as the most perfectly set of all the lakes. The perfection of Keswick was summed up some two hundred years ago, by a guide describing Keswick as the Queen of the Lakes. These days there is only one way to book and visit the town. All the information you require can be found on www.keswick-tourist-information.com It provides a slightly quirky but factual report on this magnificent resort.
Shopping in Keswick makes friendly relaxation after an invigorating day in the open air. Keswick retains the attractive appearance of a traditional market town; the Saturday market stalls still set around the town square. The plethora of eating establishments has to be seen to be appreciated, catering for just about all tastes.
Keswick has an all year season, with visitors arriving continuously to sample the various delights on offer. Its origins are as a Lakeland market town, which gave birth to the pencil industry (hence - Derwent & Cumberland Pencils) and now as the Sunday Times readers favourite weekend retreat. As well as having the Parish Church of St John voted one of the friendliest in Britain by Daily Telegraph readers. Keswicks claim to fame must surely be its ability to transform itself to the needs of the times.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine decided to drive up to Castlerig stone circle. An opinion on that will be coming later. Happy but furiously cold after stomping around muddy fields it was suggested that our Sunday shenanigans would not be complete without a bite to eat in nearby Grasmere. I had never been to Grasmere and Goddess forgive me but I completely forgot that this was the place where Wordsworth had lived and been inspired by. I have always adored his poetry so I don't know why I forgot this. He and wife Mary lived in the village and were buried here. We arrived in Grasmere around 2pm and I was immediately struck by the peace and beauty of the place. It was a chilly day but bright and birdsong echoed through the place. I suddenly understood why artists are so drawn to Grasmere - the light is exquisite and, had I not been stood right beside a car, I could easily think that I had just stepped back in time. Quaint is the word I want to use although it is an overused word and can be demeaning. Yet quaint it is in an achingly beautiful way that makes me long for times past. Every house and building feels like it oozes history. There were quite a lot of tourists wandering but this didn't detract from the village. People dressed in country clothes with dogs or children or both seemed happy to just quietly stroll pass and everyone seemed to smile. We were making our way to The Rowan Tree - a little eating house recommended by my friend. It was only as I passed St Oswald's Church and saw the sign pointing to Wordsworth grave that I remembered why I had always wanted to visit!. I felt overwhelmed with emotion as I wandered through the quiet cemetery and twisted yews to stare at the grave of a man who had inspired me so much with his writing whilst I was at school. After paying my respects we made our way through the grounds back to the main street. I was delighted to see rooks hopping around nearby
(the goth in me never dies *grin*). They were incredibly fearless and hopped right up to my feet. The Rowan Tree eating house is just down the road from the cemetery and I absolutely recommend it to all you veggies. It’s only small but my goodness - the food! For just under a fiver each we were inundated with the most scrummy food imaginable and they aren’t mean with portions either! I heartily recommend the hot chocolate complete with marsh mellows! Mmmmmm... The service was friendly and the decor is very appealing with original artwork all over the walls. After stuffing ourselves with food, my friend then insisted we had to go and get more food in the form of gingerbread! The gingerbread shop is a tiny cottage built in 1660 that is right on the corner beside the Church. For 200 years it served as the local school then a lady called Sarah Nelson began baking and selling her gingerbread there and was so successful that her secret recipe thrives to this day. If you like ginger you just have to try this. Be warned though - eating it all in one go will make you feel quite sick! The shop also sells lots of other homemade goodies such as various fudges, Kendal mint cake (sorry but yuck!), jams and non alcoholic ginger wine. Hanging around outside I became a momentary attraction as a robin sat within touching distance of me on a wall and whistled his reply each time I whistled to him. The birds sure are very friendly in this place. After a few minutes of this my friends bundled me away. We only spent about 3 hours in Grasmere but in those few hours I could feel all the stress of the city fall away from my shoulders. Had we had more time we may have walked up to the lake that sparkled or wandered more around the village perusing the gift shops. It would be a lovely place to spend a long weekend. Definitely one of the most beautiful villages in England.
The Lake District is the most beautiful place in this fair isle, in my opinion. It is home to some of the best scenic locations anywhere in the world, and will forever continue to inspire generations of visitors. There are several towns and villages in the Lakes, and Grasmere is one of my favourites. It was once home to Wordsworth, and is his resting place even today. It is a peaceful village that gently bustles with tourists throughout most of the year. It is relatively unspoilt by the thousands of visitors who come each year, and continues to offer good accomodation and hospitality. The very old village centre is a blend of homes and shops all with a taste of days gone by. The Gingerbread shop is an example of a Victorian shop that has not changed in almost 150 years. The tiny shop bakes on the premises and sells the most heavenly gingerbread you will ever taste. It is like nothing you have ever tasted. It is a magical shop that holds you in the 19th century, and you know that it will be a long time before you see another shop like this one. There are several very fine eating houses in the village that must be visited. The Wordsworth Hotel is exceptional, so I've heard, offering the very best in hospitality. One of the Lake District's famous painting families, Heaton Cooper, has a shop devoted to their work, from prints to postcards to originals, the superb artwork and use of water colours is a joy to behold, it really is. The paintings are truly amazing, and translate onto canvas the emotive feelings the Lake District gives you. For those who like the mountains, there are many easily accessible walks from Grasmere, and not too long. The Youth hostel is a good one, and makes an excellent base for hikers. Whatever you like in a holiday, Grasmere has it. It is restful and refreshing. If planning a trip to the Lakes, make sure you go to Grasmere. It is well worth it.