Travelling to Grasmere
Grasmere is deservedly one of the Lake District’s biggest draws. Nearby Ambleside and Bowness may nestle against the vast Lake Windermere, but the attractions here are on a smaller and more intimate scale.
For a start there’s the connection to the Romantic poets, with Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage and his final resting place. Wordsworth described Grasmere as "the loveliest spot that man hath ever found". And it’s hard to disagree: Grasmere’s real pleasures are not literary but visual. This is one of the prettiest of the Lakeland hamlets.
There’s a good choice of hotels in Grasmere and in its surrounds too, so you can stay amid the scenic splendour. The hamlet huddles next to a small but perfectly formed lake that is studded with islands, which William and Dorothy would row out to for picnics and inspiration. Beautiful woods surround the lake and the whole landscape is set off by pastures and slate-coloured hills.
Thanks to its literary associations Grasmere does get busy, so it may not be the rural idyll you have dreamed of, but choose your hotel carefully and you can still stay in romantic seclusion nearby.
If you are looking to be pampered there is an excellent spa hotel in Grasmere itself. For those looking not to splash out budget hotel options in Grasmere include a hostel and a number of bed and breakfasts. For a sense of space and seclusion romantic hotels and country house hotels can be found in the surrounding area set amid the delightful Lakeland scenery.
There’s plenty to do here all year round but there are some added attractions in the summer months.
During this time you can hire your own rowing boats and take a tour of the pretty lake. And, if you visit, during August you may catch the annual Grasmere Sports. First held in 1852, these are the main event in Grasmere’s calendar, and one of the most popular traditional events in the entire Lake District. Take your seat to enjoy Cumberland wrestling, fell running and hound trails.
Every year on the Saturday nearest to St Oswald’s Day (5th August), Grasmere celebrates its Rushbearing Festival. This custom dates back to the days when the earthen floor of the church was strewn with rushes for warmth and cleanliness and involves parades and music throughout the streets.
Each year from the end of July to the beginning of September, Grasmere Village Hall hosts the Lake Artists’ Society Summer Exhibition. Here you can see hundreds of exhibits by local artists and sculptors.
Simple pleasures such as wandering around the lake can be combined with some sweet treats. The legendary Grasmere gingerbread is still sold, made to Sarah Nelson’s secret recipe that was much admired by Wordsworth himself. It has also been joined by the Handmade Chocolate Shop, whose artisanal delights have been wowing visitors.
After visiting Dove Cottage you can stroll to Wordsworth's grave in the churchyard and then follow a footpath along the west shore of the lake for a pleasant stroll that will take you to Rydal Water. This small lake reflections the majesty of Loughrigg fell in its waters and is where Wordsworth lived in Rydal Mount, which is open to the public. Nearby Dora’s Field, named after Wordsworth's daughter, is covered in daffodils in springtime.
A short drive from Grasmere will introduce you to the World of Beatrix Potter, a theme park that brings Peter Rabbit and his friends to life. Less aimed at the children is Ambleside’s Armitt Library and Museum, which focuses on the cultural heritage of the Lake District. It includes among its collection is a fascinating exploration of Beatrix Potter’s life and work.
While you are here you can admire the strength of the flowing water at Stock Ghyll Force, a spectacular 70-foot waterfall. At its top there is Bridge House, a 17th century structure that is now used as an information centre for the National Trust.
A little further afield there’s the chance to admire the Lake District as its first tourists did, by steam train. The Ravenglass & Eskdale Steam Railway takes you along the coast to the foot of the Scafell range.
Those looking to enjoy gentle strolls or strenuous hikes will find many to choose from nearby. There are a number of gentle walks and strenuous hikes to enjoy. Popular walks include following Red Bank Road and then the footpath along the west shore of the lake towards Rydal Water, heading up the footpath to Loughrigg Terrace where a huge cave awaits or taking up the challenge that is the ascent of Scafell Pike.
Save money on your Grasmere hotel
If you are looking for the best deals on your Grasmere hotel, why not combine your flight and hotel booking to make the most savings with Expedia?