A beautiful Spring day. As Allan Bank in Grasmere (a National Trust Property unlike any other) was open, I decided to take a wander up the hill and see what they were up to. This is the fifth year the property has been open and a while since I have written about it.
The property is a short walk from Grasmere (disabled parking on site) and has the most glorious views of Grasmere. The sun was shining and the daffodils were out. Lambs in the surrounding fields. Paradise!
Grasmere school children were enjoying the grounds as part of their Forest Schools activities. It looked as though they were having an Easter egg hunt.
The Art Room had been changed around over the Winter. Anyone adult or child can just sit down and use the art material provided to paint the amazing view out of the window.
In the kitchen cafe one of the volunteers (they are always looking for more) Janet was making Easter floral arrangements to decorate the tables. Tea and coffee are by donation and you can wander around the house, tea in hand.
Or if you are lucky grab a seat beside the roaring fire in Wordsworth’s Study, pick up a book and relax.
Allan Bank was once the home of Wordsworth and his young family but was also the home of Canon Hardwick Rawnsley one of the co-founders of the National Trust. This is the 150th Anniversary of Beatrix Potter’s Life and Canon Rawnsley was an inspiration to Beatrix when she was a young girl. He encouraged her creativity and also encouraged her in her love of the countryside.
Scattered around the house were cushions with quotes. I particularly liked the ones in the play room.
The play room was just waiting for little Easter visitors with books and toys to enjoy.
Allan Bank isn’t just for children. Upstairs is the Chorley Hopkins Mountaineering Library with a wealth of books on Mountaineering both in the Lake District and beyond.
Just along the corridor is a craft room where visiting crafters sometimes demonstrate lace making, printmaking etc. There are lots of vintage board games in here too. Looking out of the window you can quite often see the resident red squirrels but none today.
Just time for a quick look in the little shop, but the grounds were calling. Sunshine in the Lake District can’t be wasted.
In the grounds there is a fabulous woodland walk with great views. It is steep in places but well marked and resting places to be found. I had a little seat to look at the mere.
Next further up the path with a glimpse of Helm Crag in sight.
And finally Helm Crag in all it’s glory.
Something that hasn’t changed this year, or for a long time before is the old Victorian viewing tunnel in the grounds.
Time for a last cup of tea and tempted to cake by Sophie to round off my visit.
For more information about Allan Bank Grasmere see http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere
Follow them on Facebook. National Trust Allan Bank or Twitter. @AllanbankNT
My previous Blogs with the history of Allan Bank.
Having a few days off work and awoke to rain. Despite having a sign in my hall saying “A tidy house is the sign of a boring woman” I started doing the job I hate most. Defrosting the freezer. Soon lost interest, and left it to it. Wandered up the village, and saw two people gazing in a melancholy fashion from a holiday cottage window. This got me thinking. There is so much to do on a rainy day in Grasmere, I almost knocked on the door, told them to grab their coats and follow me!.
First port of call, another look round the Lakes Artists Society Exhibition in the Village Hall. This usually runs from end July till beginning of September every summer and is open daily. Founded in 1904 by artist W.G.Collingwood (secretary to John Ruskin no less). Membership is limited to 45 artists all who must reside in the Lake District.
A fascinating mix of painting and sculpture. For more info see http://www.lakeartists.org.uk
Next stop. Barney’s Newsbox on Broadgate Grasmere.
Now while you may have bought your newspapers from here while visiting Grasmere, have you ventured upstairs?. Home to over 20,000 jigsaws, you can’t fail to find something to while away a few hours, or more!
A few pieces, many pieces, jigsaws for young and old, take a look you will be amazed.
Can’t manage to Grasmere, they ship Worldwide. http://www.jigsawsuk.co.uk
Grasmere is lucky to have lots of independent shops, and that’s what makes it so interesting. One of my favourites is Sam Read Bookseller. Established in 1887 this is the place to browse for every type of book imaginable. Snuggle up on the couch of your holiday home or guest house, listen to the rain against the window, and transport yourself into another world.
Situated on the corner of Broadgate and College Street Grasmere, you will be surprised by what you find inside. Very helpful staff, with great knowledge to find you just the right holiday read.
To see a selection of their books, maps and other reading material. http://www.samreadbooks.co.uk situated next door is Lucia’s Takeaway Coffee Shop, great for a quick snack or picnic item. On sunny day’s you can borrow a sit mat to use on the village green opposite while you eat.
Across the green is situated Heaton Cooper Studio. Another family business that was established in 1905. I don’t think I have ever managed to get out of here without making a purchase from their wonderful art shop. This time wasn’t any different!
The Gallery features work by several generations of the Heaton Cooper Family. Wonderful images of the Lake District in all it’s glory.
They also have a new exhibition space. A great addition and I thoroughly enjoyed looking at the exhibition currently on, entitled “Working The Landscape”.
Have a look at their website to see what’s on when you visit. http://www.heatoncooper.co.uk
Walk out and turn to your right. Another wet weather idea is National Trust Allan Bank situated up the lane to the side of the Miller Howe Cafe. This is not your normal National Trust experience. A quirky house, once lived in by Wordsworth and co-founder of the Trust Cannon Hardwicke Rawnsley. Each room has a loose theme, Art Room, Play room, etc. No ropes and no “Do not touch” signs.
It now features a kitchen cafe with a great selection of cakes.
Dogs are welcome in the house too, so no need to leave four legged friends behind. Another interesting room has the Chorley Hopkinson Mountaineering Library in it, so if it’s not the weather for climbing you can at least read about your next adventure.
Plenty for children and adults alike to do. Sit beside the roaring fire and read the complimentary newspapers while the children paint a masterpiece. Fantastic views too, even on a miserable day.
Best of all there are red squirrels at Allan Bank and they seem to like the wet weather best. Sit at the window and see what you can spot.
No squirrels about? You never know what animal you might find (dressing up optional!).
Allan Bank Information http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/allan-bank-and-grasmere/
So what else to do on a rainy Grasmere day? Pop in to St Oswald’s Church.
Buy some Grasmere Gingerbread. Always warming on a miserable day.
Or pay a visit to the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage another of Wordsworth’s homes in the village. They usually have a great exhibition on too.
And if all else fails. Treat yourself to a fab Herdy Umbrella and do a bit of singing in the rain!
So I hope this has given you some ideas of what to do on a rainy day in Grasmere. Only one problem. I spent so much time enjoying myself wandering round the village my freezer had defrosted it’s self all over the floor, so it was not only wet outside but inside too!
A family gathering and a staycation in Grasmere. It’s not often you book in to a Hotel which is just a few steps from your own front door. With people arriving from Scotland, Manchester and London, it was suggested we all book in to a Hotel so no one had to cook or organise anything. It was brilliant! The weather was extremely kind and the Bridge House Hotel couldn’t have been more perfect. Ample parking in the centre of the village, lovely grounds to sit in, and the food… well the food was just amazing. As we had young children visiting the option of a smaller portion of a main meal or a kid’s meal was ideal.
As we were being fed so well, a bit of exercise was needed. With ages ranging from three to eighty three a walk round the lake seemed like the best plan. Having procured bread from the hotel kitchen to feed the ducks, off we set….. and didn’t get far. As we had a few tea lovers with us, we had to stop at Faeryland tea gardens on the waters edge. They have the most amazing range of teas, and everyone enjoyed the selection. There was a brief debate about whether to go out in a rowing boat but we decided to stick to the original plan.
Although the start of the walk is on Red Bank road, it is not long till you come to a house with a red postbox in the wall and just beyond, the path to the lake shore. The sun was blazing down (not often I get to write this) and everyone was desperate to reach the water and have a paddle.
Another young member of the family suddenly spotted Allan Bank the National Trust property in the distance, and had to be bribed with a visit the next day to keep him walking! Loads of fun for everyone and he had remembered a previous visit.
Another distraction was just along the path. Children love this tree.
It was fantastic to see everyone enjoying the sunshine. The beach at the end of the lake was packed with people.
There really is nowhere better than Grasmere when the weather is kind. People were starting to flag a bit, so we decided to come back through Penny Rock woods and walk along the pavement at the side of the lake.
The thought of a drink on the terrace at the Daffodil Hotel kept everyone going. While the older members of the family enjoyed the views and refreshment, the younger ones were still full of energy and found an old boat in the grounds to play on.
“Did you enjoy your walk” I asked ? I think the answer was clear!
Definitely a Glorious day in Grasmere, and a perfect walk for all ages. Even better no meals to make that evening. Who says holidaying in your own village can’t be fun.
Wordsworth is always all around when you visit Grasmere, however sometimes more than expected! We have had a huge amount of snow this week. Imagine everyone’s surprise when despite a blizzard blowing, the valiant servants from Wordsworth House in Cockermouth made their way up the valley to Allan Bank in Grasmere.
The visit had been planned a few weeks ago but with blizzards, snow and roads closed no one had expected them to even set off!
But these servants from Wordsworth’s birthplace were made of stern stuff and it wasn’t long before they were warming themselves in front of the fire in Wordsworth’s Study.
Warmed by the fire and a welcome cup of tea the servants explored Allan Bank. Wordsworth moved here from Dove Cottage, and I did spot a servant giving a wistful look down the valley in that direction.
Time for a recital of some poetry. Wonder if it was “I wandered Lonely as a Cloud” as some of the other servants were spotted admiring some Daffodils!
Wordsworth spent a lot of his time walking the fells, and frequently walked from Grasmere to Ambleside to collect the mail. I imagine he would have loved a map like this to plan his journeys.
One last look out of the window before heading off through the snow to visit Dove Cottage and the Rydal Mount.
Group photo on the doorstep before setting off into the blizzard again.
We are so lucky to have all the History that Wordsworth brought to this area. In Grasmere alone we have the Wordsworth Trust and Dove Cottage, Wordsworth’s family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard, Robert Newton’s Inn at Church stile where he stayed and drank (now a National Trust shop), the Yew trees he planted in the churchyard, and Allan Bank where he lived, now a National Trust property open to the public. Add in Wordsworth House at Cockermouth and Rydal Mount and it is a literary feast in Cumbria.
Now about these servants…..
They wrapped their shawls warmly around them and set off,
A long cold walk to the village,
Next stop Dove Cottage, another Home from Home.
Up till now it can only have been described as a rather wet miserable winter. Nothing like the last few years where we have had a really good amount of snow. However things changed earlier this week and I was able to get out and about around Rydal and Grasmere.
The cloud was right down and it was debatable whether it would be brighter higher up but it was nice to get out without being rained on!.
A watery sunshine was trying to break through the mist.
I decided to wander up by Rydal caves and then decide which direction to continue in.
Gradually I was getting above the low cloud and arrived at a snowy Rydal caves.
Hardly a soul about. Crisp snow not too trampled yet.
Just a couple of folk on the horizon, and now well above the clouds.
Time to head back down to Grasmere.
It looked very cold down in the valley, it’s amazing how it can vary from one vale to the next.
It was starting to look very grey in the direction of Dunmail Raise. Allan Bank standing out across the lake.
The best part of the day had been and gone and it was getting very chilly. Time to head home for a warm drink.
This walk was earlier in the week and the snow has lain on the hills. It was forecast that we were going to have huge amounts of snow over night last night, however we seem to have escaped the worst and the heavy snow has been centred on Wales, Bristol and the South. It is just very, very cold and now icy underfoot. More snow forecast for the weekend. Watch this space….
When leaflets started circulating around the village at the beginning of this year, with the bold banner “unseen for 200 years” I wrote my first blog about the phenomena that is Allan Bank. At that stage it was still very much an experiment. Who knew what would happen. An empty building, on a hill, just outside Grasmere. An unusual National Trust property to say the least!.
So let’s see what has been happening over the year.
This is what the building looked like at the beginning of the year. Run down and unloved. Various paint samples of colours previously used daubed on the outside.
Looking rather good now that enough money has been raised to paint the outside.
People were asked what they thought should happen to Allan Bank. A lot of people seemed to like it as it is. A space to chill out, dream and relax.
It looks as though it isn’t just the visitors who have been having fun either. Looks like the volunteers have been enjoying things too.
Perfect venue for a few events. Having to walk to the house doesn’t seem to have been a problem. This was a book launch for Taffy Thomas.
Totally brilliant for a Skywatch, very little light pollution. This event was a sellout but I hear may become a regular event.
And then there was Halloween at Allan Bank. Lots of Pumpkin carving going on, every one a different face. Even the Victorian viewing tunnel was decorated in a spooky fashion!
And some famous folk found their way up the hill to Allan Bank too. Here are Sherrie Hewson and Amanda Barrie painting the stunning scene of Grasmere from the grounds of Allan Bank.
Then the season moved on, it became colder, and Allan Bank was a great place to shelter from the elements. Handy radiators to dry cold and wet clothing on. I understand that an eco friendly biomass fuel boiler is due to be installed over the winter, saving money and keeping everyone toasty warm.
And even better, just when it started getting really chilly, Allan Bank started selling soup.
The house was due to close for the winter on the 4th of November, however everyone seemed to be having so much fun it is staying open until 23rd December.
And while you might think the best views from the house would be in the Summer, to be honest when the weather is more seasonal, the views can be even more atmospheric.
The house is now decorated for Christmas. It has been a new chapter in the life of Allan Bank.
You know how I said the leaflets said “Unseen for 200 years” ?. Well considering you have to walk to the house, in theory it’s an “empty” house, and it wasn’t even in the National Trust Handbook, can you believe over 27,000 people have made it up the hill to Allan Bank ?. Quite amazing, and many repeat visitors too.
So just over a week to go before Allan Bank closes for the Winter. But don’t panic. Visiting Grasmere in 2013 ?. Allan Bank opens March 18th. Come along and see what is new.
Previous post can be found at “Allan Bank Grasmere. Unseen for 200 years” on this blog.
I always feel proud of Grasmere, but never more so than this morning. On my early morning walk there was a sign saying “use side entrance of church” so I did!.
In all the years I have been here, I have never seen such a sight. The interior of St Oswald’s Church was all decked out for a Jubilee Party.
The lucky children of Grasmere School were having a “street party” inside the church. Something they would no doubt remember for a long time. Each child’s name was made into a crown, and the scene was set.
That got me thinking. Why not photograph more of the businesses that had made an effort for the Jubilee. So here we go. All credit to the following for making things so nice for our visitors.
Potted Out Cafe had the flags flying over their door, and also these displays in their plant pots. Well they are part of the Garden Centre after all!
All Red, White and Blue in the Information Centre Window.
I think Sarah Nelson would have been very proud of the display the present family members had made of the Gingerbread Shop.
Next up, The Wordsworth Hotel.
Nearly got lead astray at this point as I could see everyone in the Hotel restaurant tucking into their breakfasts, which looked delicious!
Luckily Baldry’s Tearoom was shut, as they have the most yummy cakes you can imagine.
The flags were flying at Heidi’s Cafe. A great place to stock up on a packed lunch for your walk.
One of the oldest buildings in Grasmere. The Red Lion Hotel.
And the newest shop, just opened in a new home. Attic, full of wonderful gifts.
Loved the Heaton Cooper Studio window. Obviously making the most of the fact that we also have the Olympic Torch passing through the village as well.
Everyone’s favourite the totally cute Herdy shop.
A great base in the centre of the village. Beck Allans holiday cottages and Bed and Breakfast.
I suppose it was inevitable that the Storyteller Laureate of Great Britain would have the flags flying.
And guess what! Storyteller Taffy was at home. Full of tales of the events he was holding over the Jubilee holiday. In his newly spruced up garden, and as part of the Tales and Trails season, which take in walks to Helm Crag and Rydal Water.
He was also telling me about an event he is appearing at, at the newly re-opened Allan Bank. An evening of fairy stories and music for mid summer. Sounded great.
So there you have it. A little insight into Grasmere life. With events planned all over the 4 day holiday, it’s a great place to be. Hog roast, sports, concerts in the church and a beautifully decorated village. What more could you ask.
Finally, come rain or shine, I spotted these in an outdoor shop in the centre of the village. You too can be patriotic come rain or shine!
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee 2012