Seven reasons to visit Wordsworth House this summer

A woman helps a man try on a tricorn hat

A visit to Wordsworth House and Garden, childhood home of one of the world’s favourite poets, makes the perfect day out.

Here are seven very good reasons why...

1. Our exhibition will pull on your heartstrings

Where Poppies Blow commemorates the end of the First World War in 1918 by telling the stories of a doomed generation, including poet Edward Thomas, author of Adlestrop, who went to war to protect the fields, flowers and birds of Britain.

Guest curated by historian, farmer and prize-winning author John Lewis-Stempel, it reveals the importance of the British countryside and sense of place as an incentive to join up, and the solace that nature and gardening gave these brave men as they suffered the horrors of life in the trenches.

Poet Edward Thomas (middle row, second left) and the company of Hut 35 at Hare Hall Camp, Essex, in October 1915
A company of First World War soldiers
Poet Edward Thomas (middle row, second left) and the company of Hut 35 at Hare Hall Camp, Essex, in October 1915

2. William’s garden is a riverside oasis

Follow in William’s footsteps and “wander lonely as a cloud” in the heritage walled garden that provided him with life-long inspiration. Drink in the colours and scents of centuries-old varieties of flowers and herbs, stroll on the terrace to watch the Derwent, his “fairest of all rivers”, flow by – and meet our mini flock of hens.

You can explore at your own pace or, on Tuesday mornings in June, take a special tour with our head gardener.

Wordsworth House head gardener Amanda Thackeray loves to chat with visitors
A man photographing roses and two women talk in a garden
Wordsworth House head gardener Amanda Thackeray loves to chat with visitors

3. There’s lots to keep kids entertained

There’s an Amazing Animals children’s trail around the house and garden plus replica toys, games and dressing up clothes available every day. At weekends, they can go wild like William and his sister Dorothy with an explorer bag, hunt for bugs and bees in the garden, and get tips on how to turn an ordinary backyard into a nature haven.

4. You deserve a special treat

Our shop is packed with tempting gifts and souvenirs – you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to treating yourself or a loved one.

When you’ve finished browsing, our cosy café serves indulgent cream teas, so why not join us for a cuppa and a homemade scone topped with clotted cream and jam? Independent blog National Trust Scones says ours are “divine”! We also have local delicacy Solway potted shrimp, hearty soup, lots of delicious cake – and jugs of hot chocolate.

What could be nicer than a homemade scone with clotted cream and jam?
A homemade scone with clotted cream and jam
What could be nicer than a homemade scone with clotted cream and jam?

5. You can get to the truth about William and Dorothy

The costumed servants are hard at work in the kitchen on Wednesdays and Saturdays during term-time and daily in school holidays – and they’re always keen to stop for a chat.

They also give 10-minute talks at 11.30am and 2.30pm. So whether you’re interested in the horrible truth about 18th-century life, the happiness and heartache of William’s Cockermouth childhood or the secret life of his sister Dorothy, they have all the answers.

6. There’s so much more to discover

There are hands-on rooms to explore and our Discovery Room has a permanent exhibition about William’s Lakeland legacy.

If you’re musical, you can play a tune on our harpsichord. There’s a 10-minute film show in the cellar about how William and Dorothy changed the world, and visitors say our quirky toilets make a visit worthwhile on their own!

7. The drive is Britain’s best

If you’re travelling from the central or southern Lakes, Cockermouth is around 45 minutes from Ambleside – and the drive on the A591, through the fells and along the side of Thirlmere, is officially Britain’s best!

We look forward to welcoming you to Wordsworth House and Garden!