The Wordsworth House and Garden, a National Trust property near the centre of Cockermouth, is one of my favourite spots to while away a couple of hours.
The National Trust presents the house as it was in about 1770, when William Wordsworth was born there as the second of five children.
William Wordsworth is best known for I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, a poem often memorized in classrooms across the world:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
I had garden and house almost to myself on Tuesday morning.
It’s an impressive Georgian house that stands aloof from the busy main street, all sash windows, formal garden, and solid portico.
The dining room was designed and decorated to impress. As it does, even now.
Beautiful, especially with sunlight streaming in those large windows.
There’s an approachable elegance to this house.
Jane Austen was a contemporary of Wordsworth. Can you envision her characters in these rooms?
Even as a modern day visitor, the kitchen’s crackling open fire draws you into the heart of the home. The scent is inviting too: warm spices and fresh herbs, woodsmoke and baked goods.
On every visit, there’s a tasty treat to sample. Often you’ll be offered gingerbread, oatcakes, or rum butter. Delicious.
The family’s bedrooms, though less ornamented, still enjoy the good proportions and natural light that fills this house.
Viewed through the windows along the back of the house, the enticing garden promises to be special.
And it delivers. Such a magical feel on this summer’s day.
This garden is a lesson in restrained abundance, its carefully laid out beds filled with fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. New plants, like the Verbena bonariensis above (introduced in 1726), began flooding into Europe during this time period. Exciting stuff!
I could totally bore you with photos of this garden, but I will restrain myself.
You do need to see the view toward the house from the terrace above the River Cocker, though.
Today, this stately Georgian house is peopled by knowledgeable and enthusiastic staff and volunteers. In the kitchen, in the garden, at the harpsichord, in the shop and in the café – these folk bring a moment in history back to life and welcome you to enjoy it.
Their sense of humour is also appreciated.
A delightful place to visit.