Rydal Mount

Rydal Mount, Ambleside, LA22 9LU
Rydal Mount
Rydal Mount (P.K.Niyogi / Wikipedia.org)

Dove Cottage in Grasmere and Wordsworth House in Cockermouth might be better known as associated with William Wordsworth today, but it is actually at Rydal Mount in the village of Rydal that Wordsworth spent most of his years.

Today, the property remains in the hands of the Wordsworth family and is open to the public as a museum and historic home that celebrates the life and works of the Lake District’s best loved poet. The house is open daily throughout the summer and visitors can explore the bedrooms of Wordsworth and his children, along with other rooms and the vast gardens that were originally designed by the poet.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01539433002 / Website
Cost:
Adults £7.50, Students £6.50, Children 5-15 £4, Garden Only £5
Seasonal Opening:
Daily 9.30am to 5pm (3rd March to October)
 

History

The building dates back to the 16th century and, during the 17th and 18th century, it was extended in various places, most notably in 1750 when the owner, John Knott, completely changed the house in order that the main rooms gave views towards Lake Windermere. During the early part of the 19th century, the house was part of the Rydal Hall estate. William Wordsworth moved into Dove Cottage in nearby Grasmere in 1799 but his growing family and frequent visitors led him to seek larger accommodation.

He spent five years living at Allan Bank before renting Rydal Mount from Lady Fleming of Rydal Hall. He stayed at the property, renting throughout, until his death in 1850. His family remained in the property until 1859 when Wordsworth’s wife, Mary, died. In 1969, Mary Henderson, great great granddaughter of William Wordsworth, purchased the property and opened it up to the public in 1970.

Things To See

Rydal Mount
The Gardens of Rydal Mount (Cmyk / Wikipedia.org)

Inside the house, there are eight rooms that are open to visitors. On the ground floor, visitors can tour through the dining room, the drawing room, and the library. There are a number of Wordsworth’s former possessions on display here, including his ink stand, his favourite chair, and a bookcase that was once in the possession of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.

Look out for a mullioned window on the east wall that gives a fascinating insight into the way taxes worked in the 18th century. In order to finance the Napoleonic Wars, the government of the day introduced a window tax. Houses with more windows had to pay more taxes, leading to many occupants hiding some windows. This window was hidden under whitewash and was discovered in 1979 during repairs to the house.

Upstairs visitors can explore Wordsworth’s study, where on display, there is a sword that belonged to his younger brother, John, and was salvaged from the wreck of the “Earl of Abergavenny”. John was captain of the ship and drowned when it sank. The former bedroom of William and Mary is also open to visitors and includes a letter from Wordsworth to Queen Victoria. Visitors can also peer inside the former bedroom of William’s sister Dorothy, who also resided here, and the bedrooms of William and Mary’s children.

Whilst Wordsworth was best known for his literary works, the man was also a keen gardener and at Rydal Mount he was able to fully realise this passion with four acres of grounds. Wordsworth redesigned the gardens and often referred to the gardens as his office, choosing to write many of his works outside amongst the plants. Today, the Wordsworth family have worked hard with a team of gardeners to ensure the layout remains just as Wordsworth designed it. There are terraces to explore and, during the spring, the daffodils and rhododendrons provide extraordinary displays of colour.

Spring Daffodil Display
Spring Daffodils at Rydal Mount (Photo thanks to Rydal Mount)

Adjacent to the grounds, and owned separately by the National Trust, is Dora’s field. Wordsworth purchased this field when he was threatened with eviction by Lady Fleming, claiming he would build on it and block the view of Rydal Mount if he was evicted. His threat worked and he was permitted to stay. When his daughter, Dora, sadly died of tuberculosis, William and his wife, Mary, planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs in the field in her memory.

Useful Information

There is a small tea room serving a selection of cakes and hot and cold drinks. For an additional fee, visitors can enjoy a special guided tour that includes a glass of wine and some Grasmere gingerbread. Alternatively, guests can enjoy a unique afternoon cream tea in the dining room. These events need to be booked in advance. The property has a civil wedding license with the ability to host small wedding celebrations.

Map

Swap Start/End