Poetry contest launched by the Wordsworths

A popular competition for young poets organised by the family of William Wordsworth is inviting entries from school pupils throughout Cumbria.

The Rydal Mount Wordsworth Prize for Young Poets was established in 2013 and has to date attracted a range of remarkable and exciting offerings from young people.

Now the organiser, Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the Romantic poet, is launching the new contest after last year’s fell victim to the pandemic.

Students at primary and secondary schools are being invited to submit their entries on the theme of Renewal. The poems will be judged by members of the Wordsworth family, and the inspirational “Fire Poet” Philip Wells who is joining the team.

Ella Drury, latest winner of the competition

The contest, said Christopher, has been a triumphant success since the first staging of the event, drawing in thousands of entries over the years. He and other members of the family will hand out prizes at the award ceremony at Rydal Mount near Ambleside in the autumn.

“We have been so impressed with the maturity, wisdom and sensitivity of the young writers who send us their work,” said Christopher. “It’s gratifying to see that Wordsworth still inspires others. He resonates with young people today because he was an environmentalist as well as a great poet, and his legacy is so relevant today. And we are thrilled to be collaborating with Philip Wells, the ‘fire poet’ who does so much wonderful outreach work to take poetry to young people, and particularly those who are disadvantaged.”

Rydal Mount, still owned by the Wordsworth family, was the home of William Wordsworth and his family for the second half of his life, and is where he enjoyed the height of his fame and recognition as the Nation’s Poet.

A popular tourist attraction, the house and extensive gardens are open to the public daily. And there’s now a regular programme of events staged there, including poetry readings, talks, concerts, and a Spring Fair to be held at the end of May.

The winning poem will be framed and displayed prominently in the drawing room at the house. The winner will receive a £50 cash prize, a personal trophy, and his or her name will be added to the roll of honour on the plaque at Rydal Mount. There are book prizes for the poets judged as highly commended in the primary and secondary school categories. The closing date for entries is Friday May 20, and details of how to enter can be found at https://rydalmount.wordpress.com/2022/03/16/entry-form-wordsworth-prize-for-young-poets/

Next year, which will be ten years since the competition began, it’s planned to roll it out nationwide to invite entries from young poets throughout the UK.

Meanwhile, the winner from the 2020 competition, which was put on hold during the pandemic, has been announced as Ella Drury, now a pupil at Barrow Sixth Form College. Ella was still at Furness Academy when she wrote her poem, Letting Go.

As the sun set, its smoky blur filled the vinegar-yellow sky;

I couldn’t wait for the darkness.

I saw the glistening stars begin to poke through the cloak of night,


And I knew that if I closed my eyes I’d be able to see you again.


I sat upon a grassy hill, in the middle of nowhere, talking to you,

because I knew you were up there, somewhere.


And as I felt the soft hand of the wind brushing against my cheek,


I knew that you were there with me.


You opened up the clouds and showed me the moon,


And as its soft glow shone onto the swaying grass,


I thought I saw your silhouette.

I could hear your inaudible whisper in the wind, but my mind saw it as illusion.


Why am I here? I know you’re gone, but I still need you with me.

Spring fair at Wordsworth’s home

A spring fair will be held here in the house and gardens at Rydal Mount, the home of the poet William Wordsworth.

The event, on the weekend of April 30/May 1, follows a highly successful inaugural Christmas fair at our historic house near Ambleside.

Moongazer cards

Stalls selling locally made crafts and other goods, cards, jewellery and much more will be based on the ground floor of the house, and others will be in garden gazebos. The entire house will be open for ticket-holders to look round.

The Rydal Mount tea room will serve coffee, tea and cakes, and there will be an outside caterer providing hot snacks.

Following feedback from visitors at Christmas, ticket prices have been reduced and will now cost £4 if booked in advance and £5 at the door on the day. Ticket booking is available on the website www.rydalmount.co.uk. Limited free parking will be available at the house and on the lane, with other car parking at Rydal Hall and Pelter Bridge nearby.

Tilly Mint silver

The house and gardens at Rydal Mount are also available now to be booked for weddings https://www.rydalmount.co.uk/weddings/

One of the owners of Rydal Mount, Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet, said that the Christmas Fair had shown how well the house could come to life with celebration events. “We are very pleased to be able to host the many talented artists and craftspeople here in Cumbria, but also to bring an entire new audience to appreciate the home, spirit and work of Wordsworth,” he said.

A few stalls are still available for booking; please email events@rydalmount.co.uk for details.

Lorna Singleton, basket weaver

The most Romantic wedding venue

The Lake District home of our most famous Romantic poet is to be a new wedding venue.

Rydal Mount near Ambleside can be booked by couples wanting to tie the knot in the house or garden where William Wordsworth spent most of his life.

Wedding guests will have access to the dining room and the drawing room here – where Wordsworth is thought to have penned his world famous poem, Daffodils. There will also be space on two lawns in the beautiful gardens for marquees.

Our house, between Ambleside and Grasmere, is on a hillside with views over Windermere and Rydal water and the surrounding fells. A focus for romantic literature, it was Wordsworth’s best-loved family home from 1813 to his death in 1850 at the age of 80.

Special features which will be offered to wedding couples include the option to have a tree planted in Wordsworth’s garden, or even a permanent seat in their name. And to mark their first anniversary, couples will be able to book a private dining experience at the house.

Marquee reception

Wedding manager Annabel Candler said: “Having a wedding in an historic place such as this adds the couple’s beautiful story to the romance of the past. This is a very special venue indeed. Rydal Mount continues to be owned by the Wordsworth family and retains the feel of a lived-in family home.”

Wordsworth was a keen landscape gardener, and the five-acre garden remains very much as he designed it. It consists of fell-side terraces, rock pools and an ancient mound.

You can download our brochure by clicking on the link below.

For further information and to arrange a tour of the house and grounds, email weddings@rydalmount.co.uk .

Come and stay in the poet’s bedroom

This year we will be welcoming overnight visitors who will stay at our historic house which was once the home of the most famous of the Romantic poets, William Wordsworth. And they will sleep in the bedroom where the poet slept with his wife, Mary.

The new Wordsworth Experience is a joint venture between Rydal Mount and the nearby guest-house, Rydal Lodge Bed and Breakfast, where our visitors will go to eat in the morning.

The owners of Rydal Mount, descendants of the poet, are working with Helena and Mark Tendall who have been running Rydal Lodge for three years. Visitors will have an option to stay at both locations, perhaps two nights at the Lodge and one at Rydal Mount. Both lie a mile north of Ambleside in the heart of the English Lake District. Only ONE night at a time will be available at Rydal Mount as the room is open to the public daily as part of the visitor experience.

The scheme was drawn up by Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet. He said: “This house is very much a home, and we have been looking at different ways to open it up to visitors. Our recent Christmas fair saw local crafts artists located around the house, in the drawing room, dining room, and bedrooms, and it was wonderful to see the place so full of life. We are sure that guests will be thrilled to stay here.”

Rydal Mount: welcoming overnight visitors

Helena Tendall, a former teacher who has a degree in English Literature, said: “This is a perfect partnership for us. We love Wordsworth and his poetry, and we are close enough to Rydal Mount to be able to offer a shared experience like this. We are very excited to be working with the Wordsworth family.”

Rydal Mount was the home of Wordsworth from 1813 until his death in 1850; his wife Mary continued to live here until her death in 1859. The house dates from the 16th century, and the interior features many of Wordsworth’s personal effects, furniture, and mementoes. Bedrooms which belonged to William’s daughter Dora, and his sister Dorothy, are also open to the public. The house was bought by Wordsworth’s descendants in 1969.

Breakfast at Rydal Lodge

Bookings can be made by phone or email only:  info@rydallodge.co.uk or 015394 33208.  Please explain you are booking for The Wordsworth Experience.  

For more information and a link to the Sunday Times article about the Wordsworth Experience: https://www.rydallodge.co.uk/the-wordsworth-experience/

Poet will be paid to live and work at Wordsworth’s home

Poets are being invited to apply for the chance to live and work at Rydal Mount, the former home of William Wordsworth.

The University of Cumbria’s Literature team are inviting applications for a unique poetry commission, in partnership with Rydal Mount.

Rydal Mount: literary heritage

Poets from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are particularly invited to apply for the paid commission, which will include a short residency at the historic literary house near Ambleside in the Lake District.
The successful candidate will have the opportunity to be immersed in landscapes which have proved inspirational to generations of writers. They will receive a £1000 fee on completion of the work commissioned by the University of Cumbria.

Leo Finighan, curator and custodian of Rydal Mount, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer a residency scheme to the commissioned poet. Artists will have full access to William Wordsworth’s family home and five-acre garden during their stay, with use of the house’s facilities and freedom to explore the mountain pathways of Loughrigg, Nab Scar, and many more of the old poet’s haunts.”

More details: https://www.rydalmount.co.uk/whats-on/


Deadline for applications: 5pm on Friday 6th May 2022.

Art and photography classes at Wordsworth’s home

TWO Lakeland artists will be offering tuition in the house and grounds at Rydal Mount this summer.

Liz Wakelin will be offering sketching classes in the gardens where groups of up to ten people will have an exclusive opportunity to learn and develop artistic skills in the glorious setting of William Wordsworth’s former home, near Ambleside. 

Liz Wakelin

And award-winning photographer Chris Routledge will run workshops in producing cyanotypes. He will lead participants through the steps of preparing the light-sensitive cyanotype paper, capturing digital images of the house and gardens, and then transferring that digital image to acetate in order to print the final work.

Weather permitting, most of the day will be spent outside, but there’s plenty of cover if it rains. Each participant will go home with at least one print; those taking part are recommended to download the free photo-editing app ‘Snapseed’ to their phones before the workshop.

Cyanotype print, Chris Routledge

The workshops will be available on various dates to small groups, the first on May 21. They will run from noon till 4pm and tickets include £10 credit at the Schoolhouse Tearoom.

Liz Wakelin, a teacher for many years with a Visual Art degree from Winchester School of Art, aims to encourage the development of a sketchbook journal as a way of recording the Lake District. She is a predominately a sketchbook artist with a background steeped in the outdoors. Her current project is to create a visual record of a year in Lakeland for a book commissioned by publishers Inspired by Lakeland.

The artist at work

She says: “My sketchbooks accompany me on most of my walks, both long distance treks and short strolls. Sitting and sketching immerses me in a location far more than simply taking a photograph and thus holds deeper memories of the place.” Her first class will be on May 28.

The curator at Rydal Mount, Leo Finighan, said: “We are very pleased to be working our artist friends on these exciting projects. We believe there’s nowhere lovelier in the whole of Lakeland than the gardens here, with their views of the hills and two lakes. These classes will be very special indeed.”

For booking and more details see: https://www.rydalmount.co.uk/whats-on/

Entry form: Wordsworth prize for young poets

The Wordsworth family are once again inviting young people at schools throughout Cumbria to enter their poetry competition. This is open to all pupils in primary and secondary schools and sixth-form colleges.

The theme this year is RENEWAL and may be interpreted in any way that the writer wishes.

Poems must be submitted as a Word document, double spaced and no longer than one side of A4.

Each entry must carry:

The name and age of the writer (not their school year)

The school that they attend

A contact email address from a relevant teacher at the school.

Entries should be submitted as an attachment and emailed to: poetry@rydalmount.co.uk

before the deadline of Friday May 20.

The poems will be judged during the summer and an award ceremony will be held at Rydal Mount in the autumn term. The winner receives a trophy, a £50 cash prize, and his or her name will be added to the roll of honour in Wordsworth’s drawing room at the house. The winning poem will also be displayed there for all visitors to see. There will be other awards for runners-up and highly commended.