The warm, welcoming scent of homemade gingerbread drifts through Grasmere village centre, and draws you to the little shop near the church. The gingerbread itself is unique, prepared according to a closely-guarded local recipe, and the tiny shop offers many other homemade gifts. No visit to Grasmere is fully satisfying without a visit here.
Dove Cottage was William Wordsworth’s first family home, which he shared with his sister Dorothy. The house has been wonderfully preserved, and along with the adjacent Wordsworth Museum, gives an unparalleled insight into the great poet’s life, and various talks, walks, and mini-festivals are organised here. Do be sure to visit the excellent Dove Cottage Tearooms, too. – https://wordsworth.org.uk/home.html
You should certainly pay a visit to the rustic, centuries old church sitting prettily by the river in Grasmere’s village centre. In the churchyard are William and Dorothy Wordsworth’s graves, a shrine for those with literary interests, and nearby is the Daffodil Garden, planted in honour of the poet.
Browse for gifts, clothing, and garden essentials at this lovely garden centre in the middle of the village, and take some tea at the Potting Shed Cafe. – http://www.grasmeregardens.com
A little way along the Red Bank Road towards Langdale nestles this picturesque little tearoom, whose gardens must be some of the most perfectly situated in the country for sunny days, right by the shores of tranquil Grasmere lake. The range of teas are equally pleasing, and often includes such intriguing beverages as Russian Caravan Tea or Organic Khartoum Hibiscus Tea. You can sit with a brew or an ice-cream and bask in the beautiful scenery, or go and explore it by taking a rowing boat out on the lake.
William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to this house overlooking Grasmere lake in 1808. It is now owned by the National Trust, and was also once home to its founder, Canon Rawnsley. It is well worth adding to your itinerary when planning what to do in Grasmere, and there are many activities available here for children.
Taffy Thomas is a well-known local story-teller, and his story-telling garden will enchant children. Events are occasional or by request, so use the link below to find out more. Located opposite St. Oswald’s church. – http://www.taffythomas.co.uk/frame1.html
There are several excellent art shops, craft shops, and galleries in Grasmere, as the area is a rich source of inspiration for painters as well as poets. The Heaton Cooper Gallery is at the top of the list, and showcases the work of local artists, whilst also selling art materials. There is an annual Lakes Artists Society exhibition between July and September in Grasmere, also showing at Easter.
There is a National Trust shop and information centre near the Gingerbread Shop to help you decide what to do in Grasmere.
Grasmere has a range of shops including a Co-op on Broadgate, and an excellent bakers in Red Lion Square in the town centre. Further afield, Ambleside has a Tesco Express, while Windermere and Keswick both have Booths supermarkets selling high-quality grocery produce.
There is a Health Centre in nearby Ambleside on Rydal Road, and a branch of this operates on a part-time basis in Grasmere village at Fieldfoot. – http://www.amblesidegrouppractice.co.uk
The Oakhill Veterinary Group have a surgery in Ambleside located in the town centre on Church Street. – http://www.oakhillvetgroup.co.uk/Ambleside1531.html
The nearest filling station is on Lake Road in Ambleside.
The main pay and display car parks can be found at Broadgate Meadow off Broadgate near the village park, Stock Lane as you enter Grasmere from the Ambleside direction, and Red Bank Road heading out of the village towards Elterwater and Langdale. Parking in the village itself is time-limited according to roadside signs, though you can find some unrestricted parking, especially in the lay-bys on the A591.
Grasmere enjoys a wonderfully central location, and may justifiably claim to be the true heart of the Lake District. As such, it is a great base from which to explore the varied delights of the National Park. Driving south on the A591 takes you to Ambleside, with its shops, pubs and restaurants, and the Lake Windermere steamers at Waterhead. From there you can continue to Windermere and Bowness, or bear west toward Coniston, Hawshead and Beatrix Potter country, or east over the high Kirkstone pass to stunning Ullswater. Going north, Thirlmere reservoir is just over Dunmail Raise, the steep pass above Grasmere vale, named after a historic battle. Beyond lie Keswick and the north lakes, including the astounding beauties of Borrowdale and Buttermere. You will also surely wish to take the Red Bank Road east of Grasmere to Elterwater and Langdale, and some of the prettiest scenery in the Lake District.
There are several excellent pubs in Grasmere, including Tweedies Bar, part of the Dale Lodge Hotel, which has a superb and extensive beer garden to complement the strong selection of real-ales, along with an enticing food menu. Look out for the beer festival here at the end of summer. The Lancrigg Hotel on the edge of town at the far end of Easdale Road is a vegetarian restaurant of high repute. Cafes and tearooms line the quaint streets in abundance, and amongst them are Baldry’s Tearoom in Red Lion Square, Potted Out on Stock Lane, and Lucia’s on the corner of College Street and Broadgate. The Croft Bakery will certainly tempt you in the village centre, and Sarah Nelson’s special recipe gingerbread must be tried at the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop near the churchyard, while Grasmere Chocolate Cottage on Stock Lane will delight any chocoholics in your party. Takeaway options are plentiful in nearby Ambleside, and there are a range of great restaurants and pubs there as well.
Please follow the link below for further suggestions on where we think you should eat out in and around Grasmere: https://www.lakelovers.co.uk/grasmere-cottages/dining-out/
Head off in any direction from Grasmere and you will hit upon some superb walking trail or conquer some dramatic peak. This is prime mountain-biking territory, too, and the trails on the fell sides on either flank of Grasmere lake are particularly popular.
Sam Read’s Bookshop is a good choice for maps and guides, and there are plenty of outdoor clothing stores in the village, too.
Here are some of our favourite walks:
Otherwise known as Helm Crag, this peak is preeminent in the vale of Grasmere, and highly identifiable from the prominent rock formation that resembles from some angles a couchant lion with a lamb lying beneath it. It is equally notable for the spectacular views from the summit, and is one of the more easily managed fell walks in the vicinity, being lower in height than many. 1 ½ hrs.
Set in a hanging valley in the hills near Grasmere, Easedale proves that you don’t need to gain too much height to enjoy the best of the Lake District scenery. The tarn itself is beautiful and the tracks on the way up, by the waterfalls of the cascading Sour Milk Ghyll, are well-trodden. Begin from Grasmere village on Stock Lane. 2 hrs.
Walking out of Grasmere on the Red Bank road, towards Langdale, allows you to find a path that runs by the shore of Grasmere lake, and thereafter Rydal Water. Ascending near the far end of Rydal Water from the lower path to the higher path brings you to Rydal Caves, created by slate-mining. Returning by the high path on the hillside known as Loughrigg Terrace treats you to absolutely breathtaking views over the two lakes and Grasmere vale. 2 hrs.
Although it sounds dreary, the Coffin Trail, so called because coffin-bearers used to walk the trail to Grasmere from Rydal before the chapel at Rydal was built, is in fact a joyous walk, with lovely scenery and lake views. You can pass through the grounds of magnificent Rydal Hall, near Wordsworth’s Rydal Mount, to continue on to Ambleside if you wish. Walk back, perhaps making a circle around the lakes and onto Loughrigg Terrace, or take a bus from Rydal or Ambleside. 1 hr, Grasmere to Rydal section.
Visit the sheep-fold that was an inspiration to Wordsworth while writing his poem ‘Michael’, about a local shepherd. The landscape all around Grasmere is worthy of poetry, and the steep cleft valley here takes you up towards the higher fells, with superb views back towards Grasmere. 1 ½ hrs.
When a return is made from the Langdale side, this fell walk incorporates one of the finest views of Grasmere lake and village, and indeed one of the finest views in all of Lakeland. Therefore a must for photographers. 1 ½ hrs.
Ascent of Loughrigg Fell can be made via Loughrigg Terrace above Grasmere lake, or by continuing on the Red Bank road and ascending from Loughrigg Tarn. Either way, consider a visit to the beautiful tarn for dramatic views over the water to the iconic Langdale Pikes. The fell is relatively low, and not overly challenging, yet provides stunning vistas. 2 – 3 hrs.
Conquering one of the high fells of the Lakes is on the mind of most visitors when planning things to do in Grasmere. You can approach the third highest mountain in the Lake District from Thirlmere, beyond Dunmail Raise on the road towards Keswick. A car park on the right-hand side of the road towards the northern end of the lake lets you take the easiest available paths up Helvellyn. You may wish to be more adventurous and include the exhilarating and dangerous Striding Edge in your route. 4 hrs.
This elegant mansion house was Wordsworth’s final home for more than 30 years, and its gardens were landscaped by the poet himself. Well worth a visit, the house is situated in the hamlet of Rydal, on the road towards Ambleside. Be sure to visit St. Mary’s Chapel nearby, where Wordsworth was church warden, and stroll through the sloping woodlands of adjacent Dora’s Field, where he planted daffodils in memory of his daughter. – www.rydalmount.co.uk
White Moss Common between Grasmere and Rydal Water offers a chance to relax in stunning scenery, with excellent picnicking and rambling opportunities, good places to dip in the river if it is warm enough, and paths leading up to Loughrigg terrace. There is often an ice-cream van by the nearby National Trust car park on the A591.
Take the A591 through Ambleside to the pier at Waterhead, and then relax on England’s longest lake on a cruise to Bowness, or perhaps to Lakeside in the south. We recommend a trip to Wray Castle on the west shore of the lake. – https://www.windermere-lakecruises.co.uk
Drive a 4×4 vehicle through the very best of Lakeland’s magnificent scenery on one of Kankku’s exciting guided off-road tours. Inspiration and adrenaline conspire to give you a magical memory from your Lakelovers holiday. – http://www.kankku.co.uk
Located in nearby Ambleside on Compston Road, The Jazz Bar presents live music on most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and provides a wonderfully ambient atmosphere in which to relax. The cinema showcases the latest movies, and you can purchase a combined cinema and meal ticket to sample the excellent vegetarian restaurant. – http://www.zeffirellis.com
There are many reasons to make the journey north to Keswick, and one of our favourites at Lakelovers is The Theatre by the Lake. Hosting a terrific range of drama, music, films, and lectures, and with great cafe and bar, too, this is a first-class place to take in some culture near the shores of serene Derwent Water. – http://www.theatrebythelake.com
Brockhole lies at few miles to the south of Ambleside on the A591. The Lake District Visitor Centre is a great choice of destination for a day out near Grasmere and things to do include mini-golf, trails and orienteering, pony rides, an exciting tree-top trek, and simply rambling around the lovely gardens and grounds. – http://www.brockhole.co.uk
If you are coming to the Lakes by car, motorway travellers from the south should leave the M6 at Junction 36, while those arriving from the north can take the exit at Junction 40 by Penrith. Grasmere is easy to reach by public transport using the London Euston to Glasgow line. Travel to Oxenholme station by Kendal, and from there take the branch line to Windermere station. A short bus journey will then bring you through Ambleside and on to Grasmere. Blackpool, Liverpool, and Manchester are the nearest charter airports.
Bus routes in the Lake District can be viewed using the following link: http://www.cumbria.gov.uk/roads-transport/public-transport-road-safety/transport/publictransport/busserv/busservmap.asp