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Photo: © National Trust

Wordsworth House and Garden, Cockermouth

This lovely Georgian townhouse where William and his sister Dorothy were born offers an unforgettable chance to experience life in the 1770s. It is peopled by friendly, knowledgeable guides, and the maid-of-all-work is often cooking in the kitchen – and keen to stop for a chat.

There is real food on the table and a fire burning in the grate. Ink and quill pens are ready in the clerk’s office, and anyone who plays the piano can try the replica harpsichord. William’s bedroom is full of toys and dressing up clothes; there is a daily children’s trail, and down in the cellar, the household’s ghosts tell their stories. The beautiful riverside garden that gave him lifelong inspiration is packed with 18th-century varieties of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers.

There is a permanent display about William’s Lakeland legacy and his key role in the founding of the National Trust and global conservation movement. A special 2020 exhibition, The Child is Father of the Man, explores how he was shaped by his wild, outdoor upbringing. Alongside insights from Wordsworth expert Kathleen Jones and poet Helen Mort, evocative photographs by Simon Mooney explore the ephemeral nature of childhood objects and what their loss or preservation means to us.

Useful Information

Main Street,
CA13 9RX

See website for opening hours.

Organisation: The National Trust