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Things to do at Wordsworth House and Garden

Two women smile as they take a selfie while dressed in period clothing in Wordsworth House
All smiles while getting into the Georgian spirit. | © National Trust Images / Paul Harris

Step back in time and explore Wordsworth House and Garden in the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth. This immaculately preserved Georgian townhouse was the birthplace and childhood home of romantic poet William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy.

A Georgian time capsule

Experience life in the 1770s on a visit to Wordsworth House and Garden, furnished and presented as it would have appeared when William and sister Dorothy lived here with their parents, brothers and servants.

You can take a guided tour or an audio tour, listen to a talk or explore the working kitchen and other rooms at your own pace.

Detail of the table in the Kitchen with freshly picked herbs and pestle and mortar at Wordsworth House, Cumbria
Freshly picked herbs in the kitchen at Wordsworth House, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Get hands-on at Wordsworth House

Friendly and knowledgeable guides are on hand to answer questions. You'll see real food on the dining table, a fire burning in the kitchen grate, and you can taste a recipe like one William and Dorothy might have eaten. Ink and quill pens are ready in the clerk’s office and if you play the piano you might like to try the replica harpsichord.

Child’s play

Discover the children’s bedroom which is full of toys and dressing-up clothes. There's also a daily children’s trail.

The exhibition rooms house a changing programme of displays. In the discovery room you'll find a permanent exhibition about William’s Lakeland legacy and his key role in the founding of the National Trust, along with family games.

A red squirrel holding an acorn on a mossy log in the rain
"Red Squirrel in the Rain" part of this year's exhibition featuring wildlife photography by Rosamund and John Macfarlane | © Rosamund and John Macfarlane

This year's exhibition

Every year, the team at Wordsworth House and Garden carefully select a new exhibit to fill its exhibition rooms. Designed to delight and inspire, the themes vary from year to year and reflect the local communities history, culture and talent.

Wildlife Encounters: An Exhibition of British Wildlife Photographs and the Tales behind them

This year's exhibition has been put together by local wildlife photographers Rosamund and John Macfarlane in collaboration with artist Jackie Morris and author Robert Macfarlane. Presenting intimate stories of interactions with animals across the UK’s varied landscape, this curation of striking photographs, paintings and poetry lays bare the complexity of contemporary human-wildlife relations.

Three people gaze into a display case in the exhibition room at Wordsworth House and Garden
Enjoying the new exhibition at Wordsworth House and Garden | © National Trust Images/ Paul Harris

Activities and events for 2024

For family friendly events, click here

Guided tours


Tours start every hour on the hour, last tour at 3pm.

Join us for a 30-minute guided house tour and enjoy a personal insight into the family life that forged one of our greatest poets – plus the story of how this special house was saved from demolition.

Short films in the Discovery Room


View our short films in the Discovery Room, including Why does Wordsworth matter today? to find out more about William and Dorothy’s legacy to us and the landscape, also exciting new local history content in collaboration with family history website Find My Past.

Free weekend for locals: William’s birthday weekend

Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 April

Free entry all weekend for anyone with a Cumbria postcode. Come and view our new exhibition and see Wordsworth’s favourite flowers in bloom in the garden, weather permitting!

Winter and Wildlife Photography Adventures

Thursday 25 April, 7pm

Photographers John and Rosamund Macfarlane share stories and slides from their winter photographic adventures in Norway and the Arctic Circle.

Cockermouth Live

Saturday 6 July and Sunday 7 July

Free entry: music and poetry from varied local performers.

Farming with nature

Thursday 19 September, 7pm

Writer, farmer and Lakes Future Farming Partnerships Manager Andrea Meanwell shares her stories and vision for the future of farming in the Lake District.

Two visitors admire the pink apple blossom in the garden at Wordsworth House in spring
Exploring the garden at Wordsworth House and Garden, Cumbria | © National Trust Images/Annapurna Mellor

The garden that inspired a poet

Wordsworth House’s walled riverside garden was William’s secret childhood playground. It was here that he learned the love of nature that turned him into one of the world’s favourite poets.

Today, it is filled with the colours, scents and sounds of Spring. Wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’ among sleeping centuries-old varieties of flowers and fruit trees under a gentle covering of frost, it isn’t hard to picture the wild child born 250 years ago and how his ‘sweet birthplace’ inspired a lifetime of creativity.

Beneath the foliage-shrouded terrace where he and his beloved sister Dorothy used to play, the Derwent, his ‘fairest of all rivers’, gurgles by.

Two visitors browse the shelves of the second hand bookshop at Wordsworth House
Visitors browse the shelves of the second-hand bookshop at Wordsworth House | © Claire Steels

Second-hand bookshop

Take time to browse the shelves of our second-hand bookshop. Thanks to your generous donations there is something for everyone. With classic volumes, colourful children’s tales, modern fiction and vintage treasures, it's the perfect place to discover something new.

Once you’ve made your selection, why not take your pre-loved treasure out into the garden for a quiet moment reading among the flower beds?

All funds raised go towards the care of Wordsworth House and Garden, so if you’re able to donate any good quality books we’d love to hear from you. If you can help us, please drop any small donations into reception during our opening hours, or if you have a larger amount, please call ahead on 01900 824805.

Visitors sat on the steps talking in the garden at Wordsworth House, Cumbria

Discover more at Wordsworth House

Find out when Wordsworth House is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

You might also be interested in


History of Wordsworth House 

Discover the history of William Wordsworth’s childhood home, which was a place of both great happiness and sorrow, and learn how it was saved from complete destruction.

Children cooking at Wordsworth House, Cumbria

Family-friendly things to do at Wordsworth House and Garden 

Discover what family-friendly activities are on offer at Wordsworth House and Garden this autumn, from scary crafts and spooky stories by the fire to Georgian-inspired fun and games in the house, there is something for everyone no matter the weather.

Two visitors amongst the apple blossom in the garden at Wordsworth House in spring.

Visiting the garden at Wordsworth House 

Wordsworth House’s walled heritage garden, where William learned his love of nature, is filled with the colours, scents and sounds of the season.

Bright pink roses in the garden with views of Wordsworth house in the background

Weddings at Wordsworth House and Garden 

What could be more romantic than to get married in the birthplace of one of the world’s greatest poets? Find out all you need to know about holding your wedding at Wordsworth House.

Rainbow across the Victorian revival house at Tyntesfield, Somerset - exterior

Houses and buildings 

Historic buildings are a treasure trove of stories, art and collections. Learn more about their histories and plan your next visit.

View up the garden path at Hill Top, Cumbria, in spring.

Houses and buildings in the Lake District 

Alongside its natural outdoor wonders the Lake District also has many inspiring houses and buildings to visit, from the impressive Allan Bank where Wordsworth once lived, to the former farmhouse of Beatrix Potter.