The Lake District – packed full of beauty at every turn, stunning scenic lakes and nature to behold, it’s no wonder the Lake District is a popular visiting spot for tourists. If that’s not enough, Grasmere – a small village in the Lakes – was home to the literary legend, William Wordsworth, and makes for the perfect getaway for bookworms and poetry-lovers. Follow in the footsteps of Wordsworth – see the inspiration for his poems about the Lake District first-hand, visit his family home and find his favourite viewpoint with our helpful Wordsworth Walks guide.
So, why do people visit the Lake District? With the remnants of Wordsworth’s inspiration combined with breath-taking views, there’s something here for everyone. There are plenty of Lake District walking routes available, but to thoroughly track Wordsworth through his history, you’ll need to follow particular Lake District walks that hark back to Wordsworth’s most infamous poetry. Trace his life in Grasmere, discover his literary inspirations and walk the same routes that William himself walked – it’s the ideal way to get active with the children and learn a little bit more about the poet’s life, all while getting to know the Lake District for its scenic beauty.
Get To Know William Via The Rydal Water Walk
Also known as The Wordsworth Walk, this route is popular to hike through as it gives a thorough representation of the area Wordsworth grew up in – Grasmere. Starting in St Oswald’s churchyard where Wordsworth is buried, this circular 6 mile walk allows you to follow directly in his footsteps, passing memorable sites along the way. See Wordsworth’s houses in the lake district –Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount.
The Rydal Water Walk is home to Rydal Water lake – only ¾ miles long, but a popular attraction due to its connections with Wordsworth. Here, you can follow steps which lead to “Wordsworth’s Seat” which is thought to be the literary icon’s favourite viewpoint in the area. Wordsworth quoted that the Vale of Grasmere was “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”. As one of the most popular Lake District walks for lovers of Wordsworth, it’s not one to miss!
Cockermouth Wordsworth Walk
The Wordsworth House Countryside Walk spans the scenic North Lakes countryside, starting from the Wordsworth family house in Cockermouth. As the birthplace and family home to the world famous poet, this walk is the perfect way to find out about his childhood, tracing the footsteps of the Wordsworth family and answering questions, such as, where was William Wordsworth born?
Now home to the National Trust, the Wordsworth House and Garden holds tours, talks and trails giving information about the history of the house and how it was saved from destruction in the 1930s. Following much of the Allerdale Ramble route, this Wordsworth Walk lets you spot stunning views while walking through the hamlet of Isel, home to a 12th century church in the quiet countryside of the Lakes. The route finishes up in the Georgian town of Cockermouth. For an insight into the early life of Wordsworth, this walk is an essential on the Lake District to-do list.
Inspirational Wordsworth Walks Through Time
As well as the Rydal Water Walk, other trails dedicated to Wordsworth are continually being scheduled by various enthusiasts. On the 13th May 2017, the Lake District held a walk called “In The Footsteps of Wordsworth” – this memorable journey starts with the steamer ferry from Glenridding to Aira Force waterfalls, before returning along the lakeside. In partnership with the Wordsworth Museum and Dove Cottage, the guided tour raised money towards training and supporting their volunteer guides, helping more people discover the beauty of the Lakes.
Other Wordsworth walks take place regularly – and some of them aren’t even in the Lake District. A popular walk in Wye Valley, Wales, it’s home to a circular 3 mile walk around Llandogo. This walk follows Wordsworth in his footsteps to the Bread and Cheese boulders and Cleddon Shoots waterfall. With his inspirational prose and his zest for the beauty of nature, it’s no surprise that Wordsworth has been taken out of the Lake District to be celebrated nationwide.
Step Inside Wordsworth’s Home
With so many walks dedicated to the poet, it’s easy to forget where Wordsworth actually resided. So, where did William Wordsworth live? Many people are only aware of the notorious Dove Cottage. However, with Rydal Mount and the Wordsworth House in Cockermouth also on the map, the Lake District easily becomes an unconscious shrine to the prose of Wordsworth. With lots of Grasmere walks available and the official Wordsworth Museum nearby, Grasmere is an essential stop-off point for your Wordsworth journey through time, so make sure you add it to your list!
Visit the Wordsworth Museum
The Wordsworth Museum was first opened in 1936 in a converted barn opposite Dove Cottage. Due to the growth of the collection over time, the museum has expanded and become a two-storey coach house to accommodate for books and manuscripts of Wordsworth’s work. There is a wide range of family activities to enjoy, such as the Family Activity Room and Terrific Treks and Wild Walks – guided walks around the area with the opportunity to draw and write about what can be seen.
You can also get to visit the Dove Cottage garden, meaning there is something here for everyone. To find out more about what you’ll find when visiting Dove Cottage, see our Lake District Location Guide.
The Wordsworth Hotel Grasmere
Why not make the most of your trip away? Stay in the Wordsworth Hotel – this historic establishment brings Wordsworth to life in the heart of Grasmere. Take advantage of scenic Lake District walks and the surrounding village during your stay. Don’t forget to visit Sarah Nelson’s Gingerbread shop – famous in Cumbria for having the best gingerbread around. Once you’re done exploring, relax in the hotel’s luxury bedrooms and the adjoining spa. Take off your walking boots and lay down your rucksack to relax in the hometown of one of England’s favourite poets.
William Wordsworth Lake District Poems
With inspiration on his doorstep, it’s no surprise that Wordsworth transformed his words into iconic literature that’s still recognised to this day. Helping to define the beginning of the Romantic Period, Wordsworth is well known for his time spent in the Lakes, and it’s not hard to see why.
Want to know more about the beauty of the Lake District? From must-see points of interest to advice on what to wear in the Lakes, discover more about the Lake District’s beauty.
Photography by Kirsty Hitchen, find her on Instagram: @kitchd_explore