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Orange exterior of Wordsworth House, where William Wordsworth grew up.
The kitchen in Wordsworth House, where guests can meet the maid.
A young boy writes with a quill and ink in the Clerk's office, where a little girl watches.
A volunteer in costume as a servant picks apples in the garden of Wordsworth House

Wordsworth House And Garden

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Please be aware of government guidelines before setting off.

Government Guidelines
  • Wordsworth House and Garden was the birthplace and childhood home of poet William Wordsworth in Cockermouth.
  • Go back in time to 1770 and see the house how it would have looked when Wordsworth lived there.
  • Enjoy the fascinating exhibitions on display in the discovery centre.
  • Go out into the garden and find the fruit and vegetables growing and the flock of chickens.


William Wordsworth was a Romantic poet born in this beautiful National Trust Georgian townhouse, in the Cumbrian town of Cockermouth on the 7th April 1770. This Grade-I listed house has been recreated for guests so you can get a true sample of 18th-century life. The house and garden is a Wordsworth museum as well as a gorgeous example of a mid-18th century home and its gardens. If you like the Beatrix Potter Gallery, then you might like Wordsworth House.

William Wordsworth was an English poet and brought about the Romantic Age in literature. The Wordsworth House and Garden was his birthplace, and he lived at Wordsworth House, as his childhood home, with his siblings until he was eight years old. The house was built in 1745 and was originally built for the High Sherrif of Cumberland. He allowed John Wordsworth and Anne Cookson to live there rent-free until they died in 1783 and 1778 respectively. Wordsworth would move around after their death but eventually ended up in the Lake District at National Trust site Dove Cottage, now known as Wordsworth Cottage, with his sister Dorothy. He was buried in Grasmere, Cumbria after his death in 1850 aged 80 years old. Wordsworth Cottage was private property until the 1930s, owned by a variety of people, including the Ellises. Edward Ellis, with his wife Gabrielle and their two children, almost burnt down their house many times, usually via their Christmas tree. When Edward and Gabrielle divorced, they sold the house to Cumberland Motor Services The Wordsworth house and garden was intended to be demolished but was saved by the National Trust and the work of the people of Cockermouth, who raised money to stop Cumberland Motor Services. While the house is mainly about Wordsworth, the audio guide is available, which shares more of the memories daughter, Odille Ellis, and what the house was like in the 1930's.

Wordsworth House and Garden has been designed to show what the house would have looked like when Wordsworth lived here with his family and the family servants. You'll get a taste of what it's like to live in a 1770s house, with nine of the rooms inside decked out in 18th-century finery. You might see gorgeous bowls, seats and chests, intricately designed inkwells, and even art painted by some of the period's finest. The guides inside are friendly and knowledgeable, so will know everything you're interested in knowing. In term-time and throughout school holidays, the maid-of-all-work can be found in the kitchen, where fire burns in the grate. There's real food on the dining table, as well as recipes Wordsworth might have eaten, for you to taste. Head to the clerk's office, where ink and quill pens are ready for you to write letters. Find the replica harpsichord; if you play the piano, you might be able to bring out a beautiful tune. The children's bedroom is brimming with toys and clothes to dress up. Pretend you live in Wordsworth House. Downstairs in the cellar, be careful of the ghosts.

Wordsworth House and Garden is home to exhibition rooms. These are constantly changing, so there's always something new to discover. In 2020, 250 years since Wordsworth was born, a variety of exhibitions were created, which might give you some suggestion of what will be available when you visit. The Child is Father of the Man explored William's childhood, as well as his sister's, with the feature being the tiny hand-sewn hat created anticipating her birth. It is the only childhood relic left so is particularly special. There is a permanent exhibition about the Lakeland legacy of William Wordsworth; he played a crucial role in founding the National Trust. Warts And All allows you to speak to the maid-of-all-work about William as he was; husband, father, brother, and a hypochondriac. Sister of My Soul explored William and Dorothy's relationship, especially as they were separated for some time. He Gave Us Eyes explores how Wordsworth is still relevant today. There are also a variety of games and activities for families to join in with throughout the day. In the discovery room, there is free tea and coffee, and you can hear about the creation of Wordsworth House in the 20th century.

Outside is the garden that makes up Wordsworth House and Garden. Riverside, it gave Wordsworth lifelong inspiration. The vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers grown there are all of the 18th-century variety, so fit in with the house's aesthetic. There's a flock of heritage chickens in the small walled garden. This garden has been curated to reflect a variety of seasons. It is filled with flowers, shrubs, and fruit trees in a variety of colours. House volunteers collect cooking apples, and creepers run up the walls.

After your day at Wordsworth House, why not explore Cockermouth and everything it has to offer. The Derwent river runs past the garden. Why not follow it to see where you end up? As a market town, why not explore the shops and try and find other 18th century places that Wordsworth might have seen. For food, you might like Wild Zucchinis Bistro which serves beautiful food presented gorgeously, including a romantic meal straight from the period of Romantic literature. BLOCKS Steakhouse has tasty steak, as you'd imagine, and Fermento serves traditional family Italian food. If you feel like staying nearby, there are plenty of hotels. The Trout Hotel is near the river, so it is excellent for views. Allerdale Court Hotel is near to Wordsworth House, as is Croft House.

If you want more National Trust sites to visit, you might like Stourhead, a grand house in Wiltshire, or Blenheim Palace, the birthplace of Winston Churchill.

What to know before you go

  • Wordsworth House opening times are typically 11am to 5pm, from March to October.
  • There are two manual wheelchairs for visitors to borrow.
  • There is wheelchair access to the garden, and to the first floor by a platform lift. The second floor and cellar are not available. There are some uneven floors around the property.
  • Assistance dogs are welcome.
  • Large bags and rucksacks need to be left downstairs.
  • Buggies can be used in the garden but need to be left at reception.
  • The accessible toilet is in the back courtyard.
  • Baby changing facilities are available.

Getting there

  • There is no on-site parking, so use the town-centre car parking. The nearest car park is on Wakefield Road and has designated disabled parking. Parking is found at the side of the property, but the entrance is on Main Street.
  • To get to the house and garden, the buses you need are the X4 or X5 from Penrith, Keswick or Workington to Cockermouth.
  • The two closest train stations are Workington (8 miles away) and Maryport (6½ miles).

Please follow the latest government guidelines if travelling by public transport.

Government Guidelines

Location

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Logo for the National Trust featuring an acorn leaf on a green background.

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The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest is a renowned charity and membership organisation in England, Northern Ireland and Wales that offers natural preservation for the most beloved heritage locations in the UK, including houses, buildings, coastlines, gardens and parks. With over 500 sites and attractions under their conservation and an ever-increasing 5.6 million members, the Trust is one of the largest wilderness and heritage protectors in the world and is now celebrating its 125th anniversary year since being founded in 1895.

With a National Trust membership, easily joinable via their website with family and lifetime options, you can enjoy free entry to all of their gardens, parklands and National Trust properties including the Giant’s Causeway in Antrim, Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, Knole in Kent and hundreds more. Partly owned by H.R.H the Prince of Wales, the National Trust aims to protect, preserve and develop the most treasured locations and outstanding areas of nature in the UK so that they can be enjoyed by visitors from across the world.

Image © National Trust Facebook.