Rydal Mount and Gardens, situated in the heart of the English Lake District, is an idyllic location overlooking Rydal Water itself. Originally built in the 16th century as a yeoman’s cottage, by the time the poet William Wordsworth and his family moved in it had been transformed into a good sized family house.
Wordsworth had lived in the nearby Grasmere since 1799 in a succession of properties, notably the diminutive Dove Cottage, but by 1813 larger accommodation was required for his extended family. Fortunately, early in 1813, Wordsworth was appointed distributor of stamps for the County of Westmoreland. This enabled him to rent Rydal Mount from Lady Diana le Fleming, owner of the adjacent Rydal Hall.
On May Day 1813 William and his wife Mary, their three surviving children, his sister Dorothy and his sister-in-law Sara Hutchinson moved in. The four acres of gardens allowed the Wordsworths, all keen gardeners, to express their design ideas. They created a large lawn bordered with flowering shrubs to the west of the house with four terraces above the lawn including the poet’s Summerhouse. To the south of the house a raised mound believed to date from the ninth century gives a view of Lake Windermere.
Today’s visitors to Rydal Mount are able to explore all the gardens with their magnificent views. They can also take in most of the house, including the library, drawing and dining rooms, three of the family’s bedrooms and Wordsworth’s attic study.
Don’t miss: Dora’s Field, bought by Wordsworth for his daughter Dora, which is accessible through the churchyard just down the road.
Rydal Mount and Gardens, Rydal, Near Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 9LU
tel: 01539 433002
Ambleside tourist information
tel: 01539 432582