Wednesday 12 October 2016

Wordsworth House and Gardens

Owned and preserved by the National Trust, Wordsworth House sits near to the river in the heart of Cockermouth in the Lake District.

The birth place and childhood home of the poet William Wordsworth, is fixed in the 1770's and has a stunning, traditional garden to accompany it.

Exterior of Wordsworth House with man in period clothes walking down the path
(Picture credit National Trust)

Realistically though, how practical is it to take a two year old, who on occasion can be rowdy, to a place like this? Well, back in September we found out!

Arriving in Cockermouth between rain showers we soon discovered we had managed to pick the day of the food and drink festive to visit! After a bit of a wait and some head shaking by Daddy at a driver who stole our parking spot (please don't get out the car, we're on holiday), we followed the crowds across the bridge and into the busy town. Thankfully we spotted the sign pointing us in the direction of the house before we got lost, something that we excel at as a family!

We were greeted by the friendly National Trust staff but were asked to leave our pushchair near to the reception. I had hoped we might be able to take it around the ground floor and at least keep the ginger menace restrained for part of our visit but out came the reins as Daddy and I prepared for the challenge ahead. As we made our way towards the front of the beautiful Georgian house I found myself worrying that we would get head shakes and tuts from people as Joseph bounced around, excited to be somewhere new and so different to our usual places.

We didn't need to worry. The staff were extremely friendly and told Joseph to look out for the Beatrix Potter characters that were also visiting Wordsworth House as part of Miss Potter's 150th anniversary. Sure enough in every room was a character and babs enjoyed looking round for each one. As he looked for Peter and Jemima it gave each of us chance to have a look around each room. The kitchen and the rum butter was one of my personal favourites! The Beatrix Potter exhibition was also a highlight. Daddy enjoyed the clerk's office and trying a quill and ink.

Even though there's toys and dressing up clothes in the children's bedroom, it was clear that Joseph's favourite part was the garden. He gave a great big "WOW" as we stepped outside. His little ginger head dipping to sniff the flowers is a memory that will always stay with me. As we strolled around the garden reading extracts of Wordsworth poems, presented on pieces of slate, it is clear what an amazing job the staff and volunteers have done to repair the damage of last December's devastating floods.

A beautiful garden, full of trees, plants and hedges

Daddy and toddler walking in the gardens

Toddler looking in the gardens

Toddler looking at a hedge

Wordsworth House and Gardens is definitely worth a visit if you are in the Lake District and although from the outside it may not seem child friendly, the staff and the house will give you a warm welcome.

Now for the important stuff. The car park isn't on the doorstep but its only a brief walk, so don't let that put you off. There are toilets and baby changing facilities in the outbuildings in the garden and even they are interesting! Picnics are welcome in the garden but there's no cover if it rains. There's a tea room but it is on the small side so check if there's space before you haul everyone up the stairs. It's worth it though, the cakes are yummy! If cakes aren't your thing pick a fallen apple from the wheelbarrow in the garden. Its not everyday you can eat an apple from the house of a Poet Laureatte!

Mummy Snowy Owl

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