Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
To me, Grasmere is the heart of the Lake District and not just because of its geographical location. It's your typical lakeland village bringing together all the elements of the National Park in one place - a friendly local community, homemade delicacies, impressive mountains peaks, quiet country roads, and of course the lake that shares the name Grasmere. Whenever I visit this beautiful corner of the Earth I feel really lucky to live so close by and it's somewhere that I'd love to spend more time. For such a small village there's loads to do, so here's my top tips for having a grand day out in Grasmere...
1. St Oswald's Church & the Wordsworth Graves
This beautiful building on the banks of the River Rothay is hard to miss when wandering the village streets. Take a peek inside to see the lovely, homely interior complete with exposed oak beams and sofas for relaxing on - not your typical church decor! In the grounds of the church you will also find the graves of the famous poet William Wordsworth along with members of his family. This is a fantastic sight for poetry lovers and historians alike, or anybody who has come across the work of Wordsworth in fact! Looking around you can see first hand the landscapes that inspired many of his most famous works, and it's easy to see why he loved the Lakes so much!
2. Wordsworth Daffodil Garden
Next up, as you follow the road round from the church, you will see the entrance to the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden. This is a lovely riverside stroll with an unusual path made from stones engraved with names. The idea was to pay for your stone to be laid as part of the path and raise funds for local charities - what a lovely idea! And at the right time of year you'll be greeted with a 'host of golden daffodils' as you wander along - even better! Also look out for wildlife - on my recent visit I came across some very friendly baby frogs on my walk - how sweet!
3. Grasmere Gingerbread!
No trip to Grasmere is complete without a visit to the world famous Sarah Nelson's Gingerbread shop! Next door to the daffodil garden is this teeny tiny little building (that used to be the old school) selling the best homemade gingerbread you'll ever taste - and that's coming from someone who doesn't normally like gingerbread! You'll smell it before you see it, with the tasty aromas wafting down the street, drawing people in to see their fantastic range of ginger-flavoured goodies. Grab as much as you can carry - it's the only place in the world that sells it!
4. Pretty buildings and cosy cafes
After stocking up on gingerbread take a stroll down the village streets - lined with beautiful buildings, stone cottages, quaint little gardens, local shops and a good range of cafes and pubs there's something to please everyone! Look out for The Storytellers Garden (so cute) and try out The Inn for a drink or a bite to eat - the decor is amazing!
5. Allan Bank
When you think of National Trust houses you usually think of big stately homes set out like museums, with ropes that restrict access and no dogs allowed. However, Allan Bank is completely the opposite! It's one of the only National Trust properties in the Lakes that I know of which allows dogs inside (is it the only one?) and the atmosphere is so laid back you feel like you're at home. Read a book in the library, learn a new craft in the study, paint a masterpiece in the art room, pull out a board game, or sit with a cuppa and watch the wildlife out of the windows. If you're lucky you can even spot red squirrels hopping around the feeders! If you'd rather be outdoors there's loads to explore in the grounds too. Take a woodland walk, play some badminton on the grass or sit back and take in the views from the gorgeous kitchen garden. Allan Bank is fantastic and you can't have a day in Grasmere without visiting here too!
6. Grasmere (The Lake)
As exciting as the village is, while you're in Grasmere don't forget to take a trip down to the lake too! There's an easy 30 minute walk straight from the village along the lake shore bringing you out on the lovely Penny Rock Beach - perfect for picnics and paddling! You can also hire rowing boats from Faeryland and explore the lake from a different perspective. However you decide to spend your time at the lake you're guaranteed a peaceful experience with stunning views of some of the best lakeland scenery!
7. Hiking trails
And finally, if you fancy exploring Grasmere in a different way, why not try one of the many hiking trails that start from the village? A favourite is Helm Crag, also known as The Lion and The Lamb - if you look at the summit rocks from down in the village this is what they resemble! There's also a great route up Loughrigg Fell with views that take in the neighbouring Rydal Water, or head up to Easedale Tarn or Alcock Tarn which both make great picnic spots!
It's safe to say that just writing this blog post is making me want to go back to Grasmere already! Have you visited here before? What are your favourite things to do in the area? Share your stories in the comments below!