Wordsworth’s house re-opens with new treasures on show

The Wordsworth family is delighted to announce that one of the best-loved visitor attractions in the Lake District, Rydal Mount near Ambleside, is to re-open to visitors. And some previously unseen treasures will be on display for the first time.

The house where the poet William Wordsworth lived for most of his life has been closed due to the pandemic, although the gardens have been open for a few weeks.

Now the house itself is to be opened for limited numbers of visitors who must book online in advance.

It will be an opportunity for tourists to see the exquisite house and gardens where Wordsworth lived with his wife Mary and sister Dorothy after moving from Grasmere. But they will also be able to see some previously unseen treasures which have been added recently to the collection of the Wordsworth family’s prized possessions.

gorgeous view of house

They include two portraits which had not been seen for generations. One is a framed portrait in oils of Wordsworth by Sir Willam Boxall, the finished version of which a study can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. There’s also a chalk and charcoal drawing by Samuel Crosthwaite, the last known portrait done of Wordsworth while he was still alive. This shows Wordsworth as a wild old poet at the end of his life rather than the more familiar image as a traditional pillar of Victorian society.

Rydal Mount

For many devotees, perhaps the most startling new arrival is the Wordsworth family bible, featuring in beautiful copperplate writing the date of John and Anne Wordsworth’s wedding day, and the birth and christening dates of all their children, including William and Dorothy.

Rydal Mount

There’s also Wordsworth’s own walking sticks, one with his crest in silver on it. And there’s an artist’s impression of the west elevation of a house which Wordsworth planned to build on what’s now known as Dora’s Field. A copy of the plans of this house had been hanging in the study at Rydal Mount, but the artist’s impression of the house brings this vision to life.

Rydal Mount

All of these were due to be put on display just as all visitor attractions were forced to close due to the pandemic. The curator, Emily Heath, said: “We are so thrilled that at last we can show these new treasures to visitors. We have been welcoming people to the gardens at weekends since restrictions were lifted, and now we are delighted that the house can be opened again.

“We want visitors to enjoy seeing the house and to experience the same peace, tranquillity and stunning views that William Wordsworth enjoyed.”

The house, which dates from the 16th century, was enlarged over the intervening centuries. It’s owned by the descendants of Wordsworth, who have been extending the collection of items on display.

It’s the house from where Wordsworth published the definitive version of I wandered lonely as a cloud, arguably the world’s most famous poem.

And visitors will see the couch on which he lay, as referred to in the poem:

“For oft, when on my couch I lie In vacant or in pensive mood, They flash upon that inward eye Which is the bliss of solitude; And then my heart with pleasure fills, And dances with the daffodils.”

Wordsworth himself was a keen landscape gardener and the five-acre garden remains very much as he designed it. It consists of fell-side terraces, woodland, wild flowers, unusual shrubs, and an ancient mound.

The house will be open on selected dates through August and September, and tickets MUST be booked online via the website http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/

Only four people at a time will be allowed inside, and booking slots allow for half hour visits. The following health and safety rules are in place:

 

  • Social distancing of 2 metres must be observed at all times 

  • Visitors MUST wear a mask while in the house
  • Temperatures will be taken at the entrance
  • Access is limited to those who’ve bought 
timed-entry tickets in advance online. This ensures visitor numbers are kept within safe limits. 

  • In the gardens, please follow the one way systems where applicable. 

  • Hand sanitiser stations can be found at the entrance and exit. Please 
use upon arrival and when leaving 

  •  If you touch any hard services, please come to a hand sanitiser station and sanitise your hands immediately 

  • Please take your litter home with you and dispose of it responsibly 

  • Employees receive daily wellness checks to ensure they’re healthy and symptom-
free 
  • Carpark – there are car-parking spaces available and priority is given to ticket 
holders. However, we cannot guarantee car parking space on the day. 
If you would like to discuss anything before booking your ticket, please email info@rydalmount.co.uk 

 

 

 

Wordsworth’s gardens are open!

 

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THE house, tea room and shop at Rydal Mount are currently closed due to COVID-19.

But we are happy to welcome visitors to the gardens at weekends. These are the gardens planned and tended by William Wordsworth himself, and we have been working to restore and maintain them according to the poet’s own plans. We want you to experience the same peace, tranquility and stunning views that William Wordsworth enjoyed.

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Every Saturday and Sunday the gardens are open from 11am until 4pm.  To ensure your safety please book your tickets online, and when you get here, social distancing must be observed. Please see details below.

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We had to cancel many events here this year, including those to mark the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth. But we have found a wonderful way to celebrate his life by inviting many friends and celebrities to read his poems on a special website, www.wordsworth250.com. This has won the hearts of poetry lovers around the world.

Meanwhile, we are making plans so that as soon as it is safe to open the house, tea room and shop once again, we will be ready to welcome you back here. Please keep in touch via our website, via Facebook, Instagram, and on twitter @Rydal_Mount

Book tickets here: http://www.rydalmount.co.uk/

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We are greatly looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Rydal Mount’s gardens and your health is our top priority.

PLEASE DO NOT VISIT IF YOU, OR ANY MEMBER OF YOUR HOUSEHOLD, ARE DISPLAYING COVID-19 SYMPTOMS.

If you start displaying symptoms after you’ve booked your ticket, we’ll work with you to cancel or reschedule your visit.

In order to ensure your safety, we’ve put certain measures in place to protect you and to keep you safe both during and after your visit.

Please follow these guidelines:

  •  Social distancing of 2 metres must be observed at all times
  •  Please buy your tickets before entering. Access is limited to those who’ve bought timed-entry tickets in advance online. This ensures visitor numbers are kept within safe limits.
  •  Toilets are closed. Please check this link to find the nearest public loos in Ambleside, one mile away: Public Loos
  •  Please follow one way systems around the garden where applicable.
  •  Hand sanitiser stations can be found at the garden’s entrance and exit. Please use upon arrival and when leaving
  •  Employees receive daily wellness checks to ensure they’re healthy and symptom free
  •  If you touch any hard services, please come to a hand sanitiser station and sanitise your hands immediately
  •  Please take your litter home with you and dispose of it responsibly
  •  Carpark – there are car-parking spaces available and priority is given to ticket holders. However, we cannot guarantee car parking space on the day. If you would like to discuss anything before booking your ticket, please email info@rydalmount.co.uk

 

 

 

Flowers from our garden heading to Westminster Abbey

Flowers from our garden here at Rydal Mount, and from Dove Cottage,  will be selected over the next few weeks for a special event in Westminster Abbey.

The flowers will be made into two wreaths from the gardens at these two of William Wordsworth’s homes in the Lake District.

The wreaths will be laid in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey at a special ceremony next month, marking the 250th anniversary of the poet’s birth.

They are being made by Rydal Mount guide and artist Clara Li-Dunne who has been selecting appropriate flowers and foliage – including some of Wordsworth’s favourites.

The ceremony will launch a year of celebrations marking the 250th anniversary, following evensong in the Abbey, on Saturday March 7. There will be a reading by the Poet Laureate, Simon Armitage, and the Rydal Mount wreath will be laid by the poet’s great-great-great grand-daughter, Susan Wordsworth Andrew.

Clara, and gardener Helen Green

Clara, originally from Hong Kong, has a degree in fine art and is a qualified teacher. She has worked as a guide at Rydal Mount for nearly nine years, and will be choosing the flowers with head gardener Helen Green.

The wreaths will be based on 12-inch diameter frames and will comprise seasonal flowers and plants from both gardens.

Daffodils will almost certainly feature, says Clara, though Wordsworth’s favourite flower, the celandine, is tiny: “We would need hundreds of them.”

Clara will use the foliage of the evergreen shrub laurel, which was a favourite of William Wordsworth, and is said to have been grown from a clipping taken from the park containing the tomb of Virgil near Naples.

“There will be choisya, sometimes known as Mexican orange, lilies, and especially ferns, which Wordsworth loved,” says Clara, who made a Christmas wreath for display at the house last year.

Choisya in the Rydal Mount garden

The Westminster Abbey ceremony will be attended by members of the Wordsworth family, friends and writers, members of the Wordsworth Trust from Dove Cottage, and the poets-in-residence who will be working at Rydal Mount during the year.