Things to do at Allan Bank and Grasmere
Once home to William Wordsworth and National Trust founder Hardwicke Rawnsley, Allan Bank has a rich history but it isn’t a traditional National Trust property. This historic villa combines a small, informal art gallery with a giant indoor mural space - a place for artists to explore nature. Surrounded by Romantic 19th century wooded pleasure grounds with stunning views over Grasmere, Allan Bank offers a rare chance to encounter red squirrels, have a picnic or relax by the fire.
Christmas at Allan Bank
A roaring fire, a house decked with greenery, live festive music and a wintery walk with views of snow topped fells. Take a moment this Christmas to slow down and appreciate the simple things at Allan Bank with lots of festive fun for everyone.
After a walk round the gardens grab yourself a warm drink of alcohol-free Christmas punch from our self -service kitchen and settle down in front of a roaring fire. Keep an eye out for the red squirrels running to and from the feeders on the lawn. Our art room is the perfect place to make a start on those Christmas crafts.
Festive Intro to Lino printing workshops
Get ready for Christmas with this festive edition of our popular lino printing workshops. Linocut is a traditional relief printing technique where a print is taken from the surface of a lino block. In this one-hour workshop you will learn how to use the tools, equipment and materials to get started in linocut. You’ll carve your own lino and use the burnishing technique to make cards, gift tags or prints inspired by the season and the nature around you at Allan Bank. £20 per person, admission to Allan Bank & hot drinks included. Book your tickets.
The garden in autumn & winter
The garden and woodland pleasure ground are a magical place to explore at this time of year. The changing colours, smells and sounds of the season are all around us. Jewel coloured Autumn leaves drift slowly to the ground on a gentle breeze, or dash and whirl in a frenzy on blustery days. Bracken on the hillside is burnished gold, contrasting with the emerald green of mossy rocks and the brooding crags in shadow sweeping down to the house. On wet days, rain falling on the fells above the house rushes through streams and channels, tumbling over the cascade in the old kitchen garden. Ferns thrive in the damp, cool woodland.
The view of the landscape is ever changing, from swirling mists cloaking the valley, to crisp winter days when alpenglow on snow capped mountains lends an alpine charm to the vista. Find a quiet spot to admire the view by the bothy in our kitchen garden and don’t forget to explore the woodland walk that opens up to the views of the rolling country behind the house, where the likes of Wordsworth, Coleridge and DeQuincy once found inspiration.
Allan Bank’s woodland walk dates back to Wordsworth’s time at the house. The walk follows an historic rugged path and forms a circuit that takes about 45 minutes. Look out for secret hideaways and historic features such as the Victorian viewing tunnel as you wander. You might spot some fascinating fungi along the way – pick up a fungi spotter guide from a member of staff if you want to know more about the different species.
Perfect picnic spots
There aren’t any food outlets at Allan Bank, but we welcome picnics both outdoors and also in the house, where you can help yourself to free hot drinks. Bring something along with you or pick something up from one of the many cafés and shops in the village on your way to Allan Bank.
Spot a red squirrel
The garden and woodland pleasure ground is a great place to observe the comings and goings of nature. A visit to Allan Bank offers the rare chance to catch a glimpse of native red squirrels busily caching hazelnuts for their winter larder. Working in partnership with Grasmere Red Squirrel Group, the estate is a safe haven for these charming and charismatic little creatures. Borrow a pair of binoculars to take on your walk or settle down by the window in the study where you may see them scampering across the lawn.
Relax and unwind
Allan Bank is a place to while away a few hours whilst enjoying the magnificent views unfolding from the windows. Hot drinks are available for you to help yourself to as you warm up in front of the fire after a wander through the woods. Allan Bank is full of quirky touches reflecting the history of its former residents and its role in the conservation movement. Have a lie down in Coleridge’s bedroom, try the 3d glasses in the mountain heritage room or see the newly restored stained glass windows in the ornamental chapel.
The newly restored Billiard Room
In 2022, restoration of the Billiard Room was completed to include conservation and re-installation of the original stained-glass windows. The picturesque pavilion, built in 1836, has undergone significant work to its electrics, plaster, masonry and joinery to turn this back into a usable space for visitors with funding from the Department of Culture and Media.
The art room
If you're feeling inspired by your visit then head into our self-led creative space to have a go at designing your own artwork. Coloured pencils are available free of charge, watercolour kits are available to purchase and you are welcome to bring your own supplies. The team love to see any creations or photos from your visit, please share them on Facebook.
Walking around Grasmere
From lakeshore strolls to fell-top expeditions, when it comes to walking you’re spoilt for choice at Allan Bank and Grasmere. Click here for some popular walks to get you started.
From relaxing lakeshore strolls to fell-top expeditions, when it comes to walking you’re spoilt for choice here in Grasmere. Here are some popular walks to get you started.
Allan Bank is a three pawprint rated place. Well-behaved dogs on leads are more than welcome at Allan Bank, inside or outside – even muddy ones.
Find out how to spot red squirrels, the best times to see them and how to tell them apart from grey squirrels.
Come and play at Allan Bank this winter. Whether you are following the hibernation trail, looking for red squirrels in the woods or having an indoor picnic, we’ve got plenty of family activities to help you create great memories together come rain or shine.
Plan a visit to one of the special countryside places in our care and discover the benefits of being in the great outdoors. Pack your walking boots and get ready to explore woodlands, valleys and rivers.
Explore the Lake District's majestic mountains – among them Scafell Pike, the tallest in England – ancient woodland, hidden waterfalls, rugged coastline and, of course, its many lakes. You might even spot a red squirrel, roe deer or bird of prey.