Things to do nearby Laurel Cottage
Nestled amongst the spectacular mountains of Silver How, Helm Crag and Heron Pike, Grasmere is a great base from which to explore the central Lake District. Most of the buildings in the village date from the 19th or early 20th Century, though the farms around Grasmere are much older and the church dates back to the 13th century. With its two picturesque lakes, Grasmere is the perfect place to explore and relax.
This pretty Lakeland village, made famous by William Wordsworth, has a wealth of literary history. William and his sister Dorothy moved into Dove Cottage, in 1799. It was in this little cottage, at times “crammed edge full” with people, that William wrote some of his greatest poetry. The cottage had once been the Dove and Olive Bough Inn. It became the Wordsworths’ home for eight years. In 1802 William married Mary Hutchinson and three of their five children were born here. Step inside Dove Cottage to get a feel for that time, explore the Wordsworth museum and wander in the colourful cottage garden.
In 1808, the Wordsworth’s moved to Allan Bank, living there for two years, with poet and friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge. William noted that this was “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”. Now owned by the National Trust, Allan Bank is a place to relax in front of a warm fire with a cup of coffee whilst children play in the grounds.
To complete the Wordsworth tour, visit Rydal Mount. Lying between Grasmere and Ambleside, Wordsworth’s final home commands glorious views from its lofty position high above Rydal Water. This was Wordsworth’s best loved home for the greater part of his life and the house and gardens are well worth a tour before settling back in the little tearoom to sample their tasty selection of homemade cakes.
Grasmere has long been associated with a spicy gingerbread, first made by Victorian cook Sarah Nelson in 1854 using a secret recipe. Its reputation as a unique, spicy-sweet cross between a biscuit and cake quickly spread and became an attraction for Victorian travellers coming to Grasmere to see Wordsworth's grave. The old Gingerbread Shop next to the church is now run by third-generation owners Joanne and Andrew Hunter and still makes gingerbread to the traditional recipe. Pop by to sample the wonderful aroma of freshly baked Gingerbread hanging in the air.
With a great selection of bars, cafes and restaurants, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Grasmere village. After a day out on the fells unwind in front of the log burning fire, relax with an award winning craft ale and tuck into a hearty meal at Tweedies Bar. Each September they host a popular beer and music festival with around 80 real ales and ciders on offer, BBQ food and great live music throughout the weekend.
It is only a short stroll from the village down to Grasmere lake, a gorgeous spot first thing in the morning to catch the sun’s first rays and watch the mist rising. Rowing boats are for hire between March and early November. Or take the footpath on the western side of the lake up to Loughrigg Terrace and explore its huge cave, formed by quarrying.
Commanding a central Lake District spot, there is plenty to explore within a short drive from Grasmere village. Ambleside is 4 miles away, where you’ll find an array of pretty gift shops, cosy bars, great restaurants and interesting art galleries. There are also 3 cinemas to entertain you on a rainy day. Or head over to the tiny, picturesque village of Elterwater for some tasty pub food at the Britannia Inn, followed by a stroll along an excellent National Trust path to Skelwith Bridge. Take a short detour to the idyllic spot at Colwith Force and on to Skelwith Force before stopping off at the beautiful Eltermere Hotel for coffee or afternoon tea, whilst admiring the views over Elterwater.