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/

A tribute to Dorothy Wordsworth

Christmas Day this year marked 250 years since the birth of Dorothy Wordsworth, the sister of William.

A fine poet, author and diarist herself, her talent and her reputation are being recognised increasingly now, critical scholars appreciating that she had a strong literary voice of her own.

She was William’s inseparable companion, after they had been forced to live apart from one another in childhood after the death of their father. Once re-united, they remained living together even after the marriage of William to Mary Hutchinson and Dorothy outlived her brother by five years; she died at Rydal in 1855.

William acknowledged Dorothy in his own work, perhaps most famously in Lines Written a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey:

Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes …
My dear, dear Sister!

Our friend Muriel Strachan, who has studied the Wordsworths, and the children of William and Mary, says that Dorothy loved the children as if they were her own. Delightful details about Dorothy’s relationship with her nephews and nieces are described by Muriel in this reading which we commissioned to be filmed specially to mark the special anniversary.

Are you sitting comfortably….?

New curator for Rydal Mount

We are very pleased to have a new curator here at Rydal Mount, Leo Finighan.

Leo has taken up duties at our historic house and has begun his role in caring for the building and grounds that so inspired William Wordsworth when he lived here.

Leo studied for an MA in Literature, Romanticism and the English Lake District at the Univeristy of Cumbria’s Ambleside campus, just a mile along the road from Rydal Mount.

Leo Finighan, new curator at Rydal Mount

It was the place ‘loved best’ by Wordsworth’s family and home from 1813 up until his death in 1850. The estate is owned by descendants and Christopher Wordsworth Andrew welcomed Leo’s appointment, describing him as a ‘breath of fresh air’.

He added: “Leo not only loves Wordsworth, but knows a lot more about him than the family! He brings an enthusiasm to launch us out of Covid in a very positive state of mind.”

From Richmond, in North Yorkshire, Leo wanted to study at Ambleside so he could be in the heart of the Romantic-era literature and landscapes that galvanised the movement.

His private sitting room in Rydal Mount is where Wordsworth’s clerk, John Carter, copied out the penultimate edition of The Prelude, one of the most important poems ever written, and etched his name on to a window pane.

Leo says: “It is the dream job and I’m only here because my lecturer, Associate Professor Penny Bradshaw, not only introduced me to the Romantics but was a significant influence when it came to applying to be curator. Saying she is inspiring is an understatement.

“This is a very special place and where Wordsworth produced his incredibly influential Illustrated Guide to the Lakes, prefaced with the River Duddon Sonnets. In his time here, he saw his beloved Lake District become a tourist destination, but that is another story.

“I’m most excited to be securing funding from projects ranging from replacing the roof to cataloguing Rydal Mount’s collection. I’ve already starting on the library and some 400 books owned by the great man.

“It’s a treasure trove. I’ve discovered many first editions, letters, notes and memorabilia, slipped between pages from two centuries ago, which makes the lives of those who lived here so much more real.”

Dr Bradshaw said she was delighted by Leo’s success, adding the house and grounds, which attract tens of thousands of visitors a year, had a very able and scholarly custodian.

“That Leo was appointed as a result of his studies with us is a source of great pride and we wish him every success.” 

Keeping alive the legacy of our most-loved poet

William Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount near Ambleside has been given a further grant from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund. It is among 925 recipients to benefit from the latest round of awards from the fund.

More than £100 million has been awarded to hundreds of cultural organisations across the country, including Rydal Mount, in the latest round of funding, ensuring they can thrive in better times ahead.

The Culture Recovery Fund supports arts and cultural organisations so they can continue to bring culture to communities the length and breadth of the country, supporting jobs, boosting local economies and inspiring people.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet, whose family still own Rydal Mount, said: “We are very pleased to receive this grant because it has helped us to make the necessary adjustments and improvements to keep Rydal Mount open for visitors during these very difficult times. This house is a treasure for the nation, as the home of our most loved poet, and it is so important to keep his memory and his legacy intact.”

One of the innovations has been a series of garden gazebos to enable safe outdoor afternoon teas, lunches and special events at the house.

Plans are well under way for the first ever Christmas craft fair to be held inside the house at Rydal, on the weekend of December 11/12. Advance tickets can be booked here: https://www.rydalmount.co.uk/rydal-mount-christmas-fair/

Another evening of poetry with the Wordsworths

The hugely successful evening of poetry, with members of the Wordsworth family reading work by the great poet, is to be staged again at Rydal Mount.

Christopher Andrew, and Simon Bennie, who are the great great great great grandsons of the poet William Wordsworth, will be reading some poetry to guests at the exclusive event at the end of this month (Oct 29).

The Wordsworth family still own the house where the poet lived for much of his life, and from where he wrote most of his greatest work. This summer there has been work on the house itself, decorating, adding new items of historic interest.

Christopher Andrew

In the gardens, work continues to develop the different areas of lawn, woodland, shrubs and borders as planned originally by Wordsworth himself.

Christopher said: “We are starting a little earlier, (5pm) so that people can see the garden in the light. For those who would like to come again we cannot promise 100% new poems – but we will be mixing it up a bit.”

The event will include a tour of the house and gardens, a glass of wine, and Grasmere gingerbread. A limited number of tickets is now on sale, at £25 per head, via this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wordsworths-read-wordsworth-tickets-188193962207

Christmas fair at Wordsworth’s home

A Christmas gifts and craft fair will be held in Wordsworth’s home at Rydal Mount in December.

The two-day event will feature some of the county’s best artists and makers of glass, ceramics and jewellery along with cards and prints.

Copies of poetry and other books signed by members of the Wordsworth family will also be on sale.

The fair – on the weekend of Saturday and Sunday December 11 and 12 – will have live music, mulled wine and mince pies in the tea-room, and it’s hoped that craft workshops will be staged in the garden gazebos.

Lakeland Stitch

Among those signed up to take part are Jane Exley of the Woolly Rug co, Letty Ashworth of Lakeland Stitch, and Sally Anne Lambert of Moongazer Cards.

The great-great-great-great grandsons of William Wordsworth, Christopher Andrew and Simon Bennie, are organising the fair. Christopher said: “The house and gardens are the perfect setting for a Christmas celebration.”

Advance tickets £8 can be booked here: https://www.rydalmount.co.uk/rydal-mount-christmas-fair/ Or pay at the door on the day, £10.

Wordsworths read Wordsworth

An evening of poetry at Rydal Mount promises a rare chance to hear Wordsworths reading Wordsworth.

Christopher Andrew, and Simon Bennie, who are the great great great great grandsons of the poet William Wordsworth, will be reading some poetry to guests at the exclusive event next month.

The Wordsworth family still own the house where the poet lived for much of his life, and from where he wrote most of his greatest work. This summer there has been work on the house itself, decorating, adding new items of historic interest, and there is an ongoing exhibition in the attic study of the paintings of Hideyuki Sobue, a Japanese artist resident in the UK.

Christopher Andrew

In the gardens, work continues to develop the different areas of lawn, woodland, shrubs and borders as planned originally by Wordsworth himself.

Simon Bennie

The event, on Friday September 17, will include a tour of the house and gardens, a glass of wine, and Grasmere gingerbread. A limited number of tickets is now on sale, at £25 per head, via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/wordsworths-read-wordsworth-tickets-168262243901

The evening will start at 6pm.

Champions of natural beauty in the Lakes

A fascinating new exhibition highlighting two key figures in the Lake District has opened here at Rydal Mount.

The exhibition of paintings by Hideyuki Sobue features two men who championed natural beauty in the Lakes, Wordsworth himself, and Canon Harwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust – who was born a year after the death of Wordsworth.

Hideyuki and the Wordsworth portrait

Two big portraits of each figure in the double-vision style are accompanied by a number of smaller paintings by Hideyuki, who is the leading Japanese artist based in the UK.

The new works were commissioned last year in the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, supported by the Arts Council England. Hideyuki has produced a series of small nature-themed works linking to the project, using the line-hatching method.

It’s a welcome return to Rydal Mount, near Ambleside, for the artist whose epic new portrait of Wordsworth was unveiled there six years ago. That portrait was one of a series of works on the theme of I wandered, to mark the 200th anniversary of William Wordsworth’s Daffodils, said to be the world’s most famous poem.

Wordsworth had a great impact on Hideyuki. “Since moving to this beautiful corner of England, I’ve learned how this natural environment, preserved as it is, was not because it has been kept itself but because of great human endeavour to conserve this natural beauty since the beginning of industrial revolution. Wordsworth was the first and foremost campaigner to raise the voice. Without his passion for the beauty of the Lake District, I believe The Prelude and many other precious poems might not exist; without his endeavour the Lake District might not exist as it is. That’s why I attempted to deliver my art projects more focused on this side of the great poet, increasingly relevant to the contemporary world facing a global ecological crisis.”

Hideyuki told guests at the exhibition opening that the project had developed during the “challenging times” of the pandemic, and perhaps because of them. His work, he says, asks the question, what does it mean to be human in the age of artificial intelligence?

“I portray Hardwicke Rawnsley when he first met the young Beatrix Potter at Wray in 1882 while he was working as a vicar of the St Margaret of Antioch parish church in Wray Castle (near Ambleside), passionately talking to her about the importance of conservation. And I portray William Wordsworth in his late 20s when he and his sister Dorothy settled at Dove Cottage, when he started to write his autobiographical poem The Prelude,” Hideyuki says. 

Hardwicke Rawnsley: spiritual guardian of Lakeland

 “By carefully determining the distance between the two images, I promote a visual illusion so that each portrait can be seen as a single image in another dimension, emerging from the surface of the supports. It is a paradoxical approach, achieved by stimulating a visual illusion.

“I aimed to portray them as the spiritual guardians of Lakeland and beyond in a period of ecological and existential crisis. I have produced two portraits and two drawings, depicting them with contrary lighting conditions, so as to create the installation to look as if the light projects and radiates out from the centre above the artworks. “

Hideyuki completed the works (apart from the drawings) with his unique brush hatching technique using Japanese sumi ink and acrylic, which he created and has developed over the past 15 years. “This method is inspired by the concept of designo, which was established in the Florentine School during the Renaissance, combined with neurological studies, one of which revealed that the human visual brain perceives objects predominantly by oriented lines.

“I completed all works with the gold background using acrylic gold paint inspired by the Japanese traditional painting style, such as Fusuma-e (sliding door painting) and Byōbu-e (folding screen painting) for exploring my cultural roots. In this way, I made my utmost effort to pay homage to these important historical figures of the Lake District, in a way that is appropriate to their memory, despite, or even because of these challenging times.”

Hideyuki created another new portrait of William Wordsworth which was unveiled for just one night in the Lake District at Rydal Mount before heading for a major exhibition in Japan four years ago. The painting of Wordsworth with the Japanese poet Basho was commissioned by the Kakimori Bunko Museum in Japan.

Christopher Wordsworth Andrew, the great great great great grandson of the poet, whose family own Rydal Mount, said that Hideyuki’s exhibition was one of the art highlights of the year in Cumbria. “We are very proud to have this strong connection with one of our leading painters who has such a talented devotion to Wordsworth, and whose work always excites and challenges.”

The exhibition will run until the end of September.