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A guide to Grasmere holiday cottages

A guide to Grasmere

Kim Brough 08 July 2022

Grasmere is a small village in the heart of the Central Lake District, with an abundance of traditional slate-clad cottages covered in climbing flowers. 

Surrounded by soaring mountains, a picturesque lake and mystical woodland, this is one of the prettiest villages in the Lake District and a popular location for walks, literature lovers, and those seeking some relaxation.

Our insider's guide to Grasmere highlights some of the best walks, attractions and places to eat, and if you're already intrigued to see our holiday cottages in Grasmere, just click the button below to browse our collection. 

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William Wordsworth

William Wordsworth in Grasmere

William Wordsworth is one of the reasons that Grasmere is so well known and so loved. The Romantic poet lived in and near the village for a large part of his life, along with his beloved sister Dorothy. The two would often take walks in the surrounding countryside, much of which inspired some of his best poetry.

During their time here, the Wordsworths lived in Dove Cottage (described in the poem A Farewell as "The loveliest spot that man hath ever found") and Allan Bank before moving to the nearby village of Rydal. These homes can be visited still, and you can discover a fascinating insight into the lives of this famous family.


Grasmere Gingerbread®

Grasmere Gingerbread┬«Credit: Grasmere Gingerbread®

Grasmere favourite is the famous Grasmere Gingerbread®. The mouthwatering scents of this sweet treat float across the houses, enticing anyone who catches it to head to the tiny shop where it’s made and sold.

Invented by Sarah Cook in the mid-1800s, the gingerbread has a unique and delicious flavour, made from a recipe that is kept as a closely guarded secret! You’ll be served by staff in traditional Victorian garb and will have to squeeze tightly into the cosy space to pick out your wares: there’s also a selection of gingerbread-themed foods and their award-winning rum butter.

Because this is the only place you can buy Grasmere Gingerbread®, expect a queue. But we promise it will be worth the wait!


Places to eat in Grasmere

If you’re after a full meal before snacking on gingerbread, then you’re in luck. For a small village, there are plenty of cafés, pubs and restaurants to choose from!

Grasmere pubs

The Good Sport

For pet-friendly pub fare, check out Tweedies. It has its own beer garden, a great buzz, and plenty of beer and burgers to choose from! Or The Good Sport is the tap room for Grasmere Brewery, and you can sample their freshest creations: gin, vodka and beer, all made on site!


Grasmere restaurants

The Jumble RoomCredit: The Jumble Room

The Jumble Room is a quirky and atmospheric restaurant decorated with lovely wall hangings and superb food and service. For even more cosy evening meals, head to Goody Blake’s for its unassuming appearance and tasty menu.

If you’re after something fancy, the Rothay Garden Hotel is one of only a handful of Lake District restaurants with 2 AA rosettes, while The Signature Restaurant provides amazing fine dining.

The options don’t end there either, with Lewis’s Bistro another amazing option for tasty food, including many gluten-free options and melt-in-the-mouth steaks.


Grasmere cafés

Grasmere cafe

If art is your thing, you’ll find plenty at the Heaton Cooper Studio with its attached café. Pick up one of their delicious cakes and you’ll be delighted! Or Harley’s Bistro is a stand-out café in a former Methodist church, with daily specials and outside dining available.

Open for breakfast and lunch, Green’s Café and Bistro is family run with homemade food to indulge in, while at Grasmere Tea Gardens you can enjoy food and drink on the terrace that overlooks the river. Bliss!

Finally, indulge your sweet tooth at Emma’s Dell, a creperie that also serves good coffee and yummy cakes.


Walks from Grasmere

Grasmere sits in some of the finest countryside in the Lake District, affectionately known as Wordsworth Country thanks to the great poet’s close connection to the area. You can spend days on the hills or take relaxing strolls along lakeshores. Here are some of our favourite walks in Grasmere.

Sour Milk Ghyll and Easedale Tarn

Sour Milk Ghyll and Easedale Tarn

The tumbling waterfall of Sour Milk Ghyll is visible as you leave the village to the north. Follow its white frothing waters up and up until you reach lovely Easedale Tarn. It’s a steep hike in some places, but the path is clear and stepped for much of the way. At Easedale Tarn you can sit back and relax for a while before heading back down or continuing onwards and upwards into the Langdales and to Stickle Tarn.


Grasmere and Rydal Water circular

Grasmere and Rydal Water circular

This easy walk takes in two lovely small lakes right next to one another. You’ll start from Grasmere village and follow the old coffin route to Rydal Mount (another of Wordsworth’s former homes), before heading over to Rydal Water and looping round past Grasmere Lake and back to the village. Take a small detour at Rydal to admire the impressive Rydal Caves, recently seen in Netflix’s The Witcher!


Loughrigg Terrace

Loughrigg Terrace

If you’re visiting in the spring, then you’ll find Loughrigg Terrace covered in beautiful bluebells. Even at other times of the year, this is a lovely short walk, with views over Grasmere Lake. Extend it a bit by heading right up to the summit of Loughrigg Fell, a small and easy mountain walk.


Helm Crag (the Lion and the Lamb)

Helm Crag

The famous rocks at the top of Helm Crag are known as the Lion and the Lamb due to their unique shape. Although close up they don’t quite resemble the two animals, the walk up Helm Crag is still well worth doing during your stay in Grasmere. This is a reasonably short but steep hike, involving a bit of scrambling towards the top.


Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn

Heron Pike and Alcock Tarn

One for you more experienced hikers, this Heron Pike walk is a circular route with a number of challenging areas. There are some steep sections up Nab Scar, but all the effort is worth it for the wonderful views. Alcock Tarn is a great spot to stop for a breather and enjoy some tranquillity.


Things to do in Grasmere

For such a small village, Grasmere is packed with things to do! We’ve already discussed the walks and the eateries, but just take a look at all these other wonderful attractions!

Grasmere shops

Grasmere shops

There are some lovely little outlets in Grasmere and there’s nothing nicer than enjoying a potter around on a relaxed afternoon! The famous Herdy characters have a shop in the village, and you’ll also find an abundance of art galleries and a lovely bookshop that has been open since the 1800s! Then there are outdoor stores, gift shops, homeware sellers, and even a handy Co-op for all your groceries and essentials!

Don’t miss out on a trip to Grasmere Garden Village, a garden centre that stocks lots of different bulbs, bedding plants and shrubs, as well as gifts, homeware, clothes, and garden accessories!


Dove Cottage

Dove Cottage

Once home to William Wordsworth and his family, Dove Cottage was immortalised in his poem, A Goodbye. Go along to see how the family lived 200 years ago! There’s a museum and library, as well as regular literary-themed events throughout the year.


Rydal Mount and Gardens

Rydal Mount and Gardens

Another of the Wordsworth family’s homes, Rydal Mount and Gardens is still owned by descendants of the famous poet! The house and garden are open to the public and offer a fantastic insight into William and Dorothy’s life there. The garden - still representing much of the work William did on it - is a particular treat to explore with its multiple levels and beautiful flora.


The Wordsworth Graves

The Wordsworth Graves

In a quiet corner of Grasmere’s church cemetery are the graves of many of the Wordsworths, including William and Dorothy. A contemplative spot, the carved stones are a reminder of tragedies that befell the family. But there is some peace in knowing that they are laid to rest in a corner of the world that was so beloved.


Allan Bank

Allan Bank

Though Allan Bank was briefly home to William Wordsworth, he was not a fan of the building when it was erected. He condemned it as an eyesore! Nevertheless, it’s well worth a visit. Now owned by the National Trust, the property, which has suffered through a number of fires, is a more relaxed venue than other Trust properties. You’re invited to picnic on the extensive grounds, enjoy many child-friendly activities indoors, or just sit back and enjoy views of the lake.


Art galleries

Art gallery in Grasmere

There are numerous art galleries in Grasmere, with work ranging from the abstract to the hyper-realistic. The Fitzwilliam Gallery specialises in fine art, particularly antique Lakeland watercolours, while Lakes Art Gallery is another seller of fantastic Lake District works and bronzes.

At the Heaton Cooper Studio, you can pick up some supplies as well as browse original paintings and sculptures. Or pop into Beck Steps Gallery for a mix of contemporary and traditional art.


Faeryland

Faeryland

It’s easy to picture fairies paddling in the shallows of Grasmere Lake! Hire one of the colourful row boats at Faeryland and see if you can spot any sprites dancing among the reeds! This is an excellent way to get onto the water in a truly magical setting. Add a sense of occasion with some loose-leaf tea at the café, complete with fancy teapots and silverware!


Getting to Grasmere

By car

From the A591, turn left at Dove Cottage (from Ambleside) or right at The Swan Hotel (from Keswick). The Grasmere car parks are reasonably sized, but there is limited parking elsewhere in the village and we would advise you to leave your car in either Broadgate Meadow Car Park, Stock Lane Car Park, or Red Bank Road Car Park.

By bus

The Grasmere to Ambleside bus (number 599) runs regularly on a daily basis in both directions. You can also continue to Bowness and Windermere if you want to explore further afield.

From Keswick, you can catch the 555 bus to Grasmere on a regular daily service.

By train

There is no train station in Grasmere, but you can get as far as Windermere before taking the 599 bus into the village.


Holidays in Grasmere

With so much to see and do in this charming Lakeland village, why not place yourself in the heart of the action with a stay in one of our holiday cottages in Grasmere? From cosy cottages for couples to fun-filled retreats for the whole family, you're sure to find the perfect staycation within our collection of self-catering accommodation. 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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