Grasmere and Rydal Tourist Information
Grasmere lies in the heart of the Lake District, centrally placed between Ambleside, Keswick and Coniston.
Grasmere is probably the most visited village in the Lake District.
The shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants are devoted entirely to ensuring that "you" the visitor are well provided for in all respects.
The focal point is the Church of St. Oswalds with the graves of William Wordsworth and his family.
Close by is the recently completed Wordsworth Garden; a tranquil place beneath trees and next to the River Rothay. You may wonder from where the appetising aroma is radiating close to one of the church entrances. It comes from Sarah Nelsons Gingerbread Shop. Built in 1630, this small building, now a bakery and shop was once the schoolhouse.
Opposite are the 17th century cottages of Church Stiles. Formerly an Inn, they now house the National Trust Shop.
A visit to The Heaton Cooper Gallery is recommended with it's display of water colours by the famous artist. In the mid-summer of each year the Gallery presents an exhibition by various artists and sculptors.
Late August sees the entertaining Grasmere Sports with displays of Cumberland wrestling, fell racing and hound trailing. This event is a huge visitor and local favourite.
The Rush Bearing Ceremony is in August where a procession, carrying bundles of rush, proceed to St; Oswalds church. Here the rush is laid upon the floor. This is a centuries old tradition of providing extra warmth to the often cold stone floor covering.
Grasmere is an enchanting area with it's mountain sentinels and wooded slopes. It is reached by the often busy A591 which in parts between Ambleside and Grasmere is narrow and winding. Extra caution and patience are necessary, and once there you will find much of interest and more than likely you will return again and again.
Rydal is the home of Rydal Mount, which, as Wordsworths residence for the last 30 years of his life, attracts 1000’s of visitors each year.
Comprising of a small hamlet, church, and a beautiful mile long lake, and sitting between its larger neighbours of Ambleside and Grasmere, it is an ideal retreat with comfortable visitor accommodation set alongside or near to the idyllic lake and its surrounds.
The A591 provides easy access to and from Rydal, and places the larger towns, villages, mountains and lakes within a relatively short car journey
A bus service operates from Windermere train station, linking Rydal to Ambleside and Keswick with connections to destinations further afield.
This friendly rural community set amid glorious scenery comes highly recommended, especially to the professional and amateur photographers alike, who wish to catch on camera, the tranquility and shadows of the lake on a summer’s day.
Reach us from J36 of the M6 along the A590 / 591; or J38 along the A685 to Kendal before joining the A591; or; J40, and follow the very scenic A592 via Ullswater and the Kirkstone Pass to Windermere.
Alternatively, take the train to Windermere via Oxenholme, and continue by bus or taxi.
How to get there:
By rail: From the West Coast Main Line, change Oxenholme for Windermere.
From Windermere, take one of the many buses or taxis. The journey is about seven miles.
By road: Situated on the A591, Grasmere is easily accessible from the M6 motorway, exiting at J36.
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Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum
The inspirational home of the poet William Wordsworth.
The grave of William Wordsworth in the churchyard of Saint Oswald is probably the most visited literary shrine in Europe. Together with the grave of he and his wife are the graves of his sister Dorothy, children Catherine, Thomas, and Dora, and Mary’s sister, Sarah Hutchinson. One of the eight yew trees planted by the poet himself shades his resting place.
Wordsworth Daffodil Garden
The garden, created largely by volunteers, is placed between the River Rothay and the churchyard of Saint Oswalds. It’s a lovely contemplative setting with wooden seats under trees, springtime daffodils and encircled by fell views. Check the notices and leaflets at the entrance for information of how to make a contribution.
Saint Oswalds Church
A notice at the entrance to the church welcomes visitors in six languages. This greeting together with the home addresses from worldwide inscribed in the Visitors Book vividly indicates the popularity of the church. The terms “beautiful” and “serene” dominate the comments section of this same book. The church was named after Oswald, the 7th C. King of Northumberland who was instrumental in reintroducing Christianity to his Kingdom and other areas of Britain. It has stood in the village of Grasmere for centuries and on entering, the immediate feeling is that it will remain so for centuries to come.
Sarah Nelsons Gingerbread Shop
The appetizing smell of cooking soon attracts customers to the small serving counter of the Ginger Bread Shop at the gates of Saint Oswalds Churchyard. The gingerbread, prepared from a closely guarded secret recipe is a local speciality. The building is the centuries old former Grasmere village school where Wordsworth, his wife and sister occasionally taught. Just follow your nose, you can’t miss it.
Taffy Thomas’s Magic Garden
The Magic Garden stands opposite the church of Saint Oswalds on Grasmeres main street. The story telling garden provides stories and expert telling for schools, theatres and arts projects. Children will love the lantern lit decorated garden.
Grasmere Rush Bearing Ceremony
Centuries ago, the floors of the church were cold, damp and of earth only. Indeed, it was not unknown for parishioners to be buried within the church confines as well as outside. Rushes were therefore laid on the floor to provide extra warmth underfoot. Each year, on the Saturday closest to August 5th, villagers walk in procession to Saint Oswald’s carrying crosses of flowers and rushes.
Grasmere Garden Village
A Home and Garden Centre selling a wide range of products, homemade soup, meals and drinks. Good parking.
Grasmere stands in a charmed circle of sympathetic, intermediate and challenging walks and fell hikes. There are several low level introductory strolls ideal as a means of unwinding after a lengthy journey to Grasmere. One, not as macabre as the name suggests, is the picturesque “Coffin Trail” which wends its way between Grasmere and Rydal. It was used by medieval coffin bearers carrying the bodies of local residents for burial in Grasmere prior to the building of Saint Mary’s Church in Rydal. Other enjoyable family walks include those to Easedale Tarn overlooked by Blea Rigg and Tarn Crag, and the popular routes to Sour Milk Ghyll and Loughrigg Fell. The fell provides some of the most dramatic views to be found in the Lake District. A little more distant, but easily reached, are the intermediate and demanding tracks and paths to the higher ground of the Langdale Pikes, Bow Fell, Scafell Pike, Great Gable, Helvellyn and Borrowdale. Please ensure that you are wearing suitable clothing and footwear for all walks especially so on the higher levels where weather conditions can change with little or no warning.
The shores of Grasmere are popular with walkers, cyclists, picnickers etc; some anglers prefer to fish for the large pike and roach of the lake from a hired boat. Boat hire can be arranged by calling 015394-35060. Day permits are available seven days a week during shop hours from the newsagents, Barneys Newsbox in Grasmere. None are sold from the bank.
A rocky outcrop at the western end of Rydal Water said to have been Wordsworth’s favorite viewpoint close to his home. An hour’s pleasant walk from Grasmere with great views.
A small church a few miles north of Grasmere on the A 591 is the only visible building left after the submerging of the two villges of Armboth and Wythburn to create the Thirlmere Reservoir. Wordsworth occasionally worshipped here. The nearby car park is a good starting point for the ascent of Helvellyn.
The section of this road from Windermere to Keswick via Ambleside and Grasmere has been rightly voted by a popular motoring magazine as the most scenic in the country. It runs alongside Lake Windermere, Rydal Water, Grasmere, over Dunmail Raise with Helvellyn on one side and Thirlmere on the other, the magnificent views toward Saint Johns in the Vale and Blencathra and finally to the panorama of Derwentwater as you begin the descent to Keswick.
Take the A 591 from Grasmere to the mini-roundabout on the outskirts of Ambleside and its exit leading to the highest pass open to traffic in the Lake District where some sections have a gradient of 1 in 4. Wordsworth wrote “it is most potent when mists veil the sky”. Apparently, this steep winding road, originally a drovers track, was so named after a large stone landmark on the roadside which from some angles resembles a church steeple, hence “Kirkstone”. The centuries old Kirkstone Pass Inn at the summit stands on the site of a 15th C. monks retreat. Crackling log fires, stone floors, beams, a ghost and friendly service.
This is Grasmeres event of the year. It features all that is best of local traditions, crafts and sports. Go to our Events Page for the date and details of this annual summer festival and others all within easy reach of Grasmere.
Rydal and Grasmere together form the Wordsworth Connection. The village occupies a beautiful location close to Rydal Water and surrounded by fells and wooded slopes. Nearest towns and villages are Windermere, Ambleside, Grasmere and Keswick all situated on the A591, a road which has been voted the most scenic in England.
Rydal Mount and Gardens
The rented home of William Wordsworth and his family from 1813 to 1850. His friend Doctor Arnold described the house as “most beautiful and enjoyable spot”. The landscaped gardens were in fact designed by Wordsworth himself and had he not been a poet, would probably have followed a landscaping profession. The house contains many of the family’s personal items including first editions of his poetry. Guided tours often feature poetry readings. The house and garden tour is of one and a half hours duration and includes wine and a portion of the famous Grasmere gingerbread. A garden only tour lasts about one hour and a glass of wine. Free but limited parking on the roadside to Rydal Mount and alongside Saint Mary’s Chapel.
The “field” is adjacent to Saint Mary’s Chapel. Wordsworth purchased the land on which to build a house for his daughter Dora. Sadly Dora died in 1847 before the house could be built. In her memory, Wordsworth planted daffodils on the land. The Springtime blooms produce a beautiful display to this day. Actually, Dora’s Field is not a field, but a pleasant sloping area of rough grassland, trees and paths with benches on which to pause and reflect. Access is via the churchyard.
Saint Mary’s Church /Chapel
Wordsworth was Church Warden from1833 to 1834. His family and friends worshipped here for many years. It hosts Wordsworth Memorial Talks and lectures during the spring months.
The smallest and shallowest of the regions lakes. Overlooked by Loughrigg Fell, it has a level lake side walk and a gentle upward path to Rydal Caves. The caves are abandoned slate quarry workings with cavernous entrances covered by shallow water and easily crossed by a series of stepping stones. Lovely views and good photography opportunities especially toward Dunmail Rise.
A rocky outcrop at the western end of Rydal Water. It is said to have been much favoured by Wordsworth as a place to sit and enjoy the beauty of the waters and surrounding fells.
Walks and climbs
There are walks, hikes and climbs to satisfy all levels of experience and abilities in the nearby Langdales, Furness Fells, Helvellyn and Borrowdale. The Tourist Information Centres in Grasmere and Ambleside will provide advice and help.
A wide choice of routes including Loughrigg Fell, around Grasmere and Rydal Water, and the Grizedale Forest trails. The Tourist Information Centres and Bike Treks have full details.
Excellent pike fishing from Rydal Water plus good stocks of eels, perch and brown trout. Day permits available throughout the area. Nearest agent to Rydal is the newsagent, Barneys Newsbox, Broadgate, Grasmere. Please note that permits are not sold on the bank
Rydal Sheepdog Trials. A much loved event usually staged in the autumn. The skill of the dogs and owners has to be seen to be believed. Check our Events Page for date and details. Much, much more to see of the Lake District Culture and traditions in festivals in and around the region and all within easy travelling distance.