Grasmere is the quintessential Lake District village. It is impossibly pretty and attracts tourists by the coach load. But don’t let that put you off, as with many popular tourist attractions, the crowds tend to ebb and flow like the tide.
In the heart of the village is the Norman Church of St Oswald. A tiny cottage, Gate Cottage, stood at the entrance to the churchyard and for a time was the village schoolroom. Impossible to imagine when you see the size, it is as small today as it ever was. The cottage was built around 1630 as a school and Grasmere’s most famous resident, William Wordsworth, once taught there.
Sarah Nelson took ownership of the cottage in 1850 and started selling cakes and gingerbread around this time. Very quickly word spread and her gingerbread became renowned, so much so, it was trademarked with the words still printed on the packaging today, ‘None Genuine Without Trade Mark’.
Today, the gingerbread is world renowned. You will often see queues snaking along the road. As all the gingerbread is baked on site, the smell entices you in to the tiny shop as fresh batches are taken out of the oven. The gingerbread is nothing like the gingerbread men you buy from a high street bakery. It has a unique texture with a firm centre and granulose topping that crumbles in sweet, sharp, gingery loveliness when you take a bite. You will never go back to ordinary gingerbread.
Apart from gingerbread, Sarah Nelson’s also make rum butter and fudge. They stock Penrith Toffee and Fudge, Cartmel Village Sticky Toffee Sauce, Kendal Mint Cake, lemon cheese, jams and ginger beer. Make sure it is on your list when you next visit Grasmere.
For details of self catering Lake District Cottages in Grasmere and the southern Lake District click on the highlighted links.