We also went to visit Wordsworth’s cottage. There is a little bit of me that is aware that it is quite un-academic and slightly silly of me to get so excited about visiting the homes of great writers, but it is somehow impossible not to feel that the atmosphere of a place somehow retains something of the past inhabitants, and there is no doubt that Dove Cottage in Grasmere certainly makes Wordsworth come alive, helped by the excellent tour, which was both informative and amusing.
The museum attached to the cottage contains a wealth of detail about Wordsworth’s life and times, from the French Revolution to his love life (which are kind of linked, anyway). Items belonging to the poet, including his socks (looking, I have to say, fresh from Marks and Spencer), his ice-skates, and his cloak, are bizarrely fascinatingm, while original manuscripts are much more absorbing – I do like to see a poet’s handwriting! The cottage itself is quite small and dark, but homely, and the tales of the inhabitants – Wordsworth and his wife, sister and sister-in-law, children, visitors, and Thomas de Quincey – are both poignant and amusing. The tour guide conjured everyday life there, from Wordsworth in his writing chair, preferring to be away from the domestic areas of the house, to Dorothy writing her Grasmere journals, and the Wordsworth children in a room so cold that Mary papered it with old copies of the Times (looked quite effective; still freezing cold).
After the cottage, we walked into Grasmere itself, and admired the church there, St Oswald’s, an ancient church where Wordsworth used to worship, and is now buried with his family.
There is plenty of information of the website of the Wordsworth Trust.