England-Cumbria Flag

Grasmere >  Google™ Map Jun 2023  Cumbria Coat of Arms

gres grass + mere Old English pond, lake. Population - 500.

England-Cumbria Flag UK > England > Cumbria

Jun 2023

Cumbria Coat of Arms
Hopes may rise on the Grasmere
But honey pie, you're not safe here
So you run down to the safety of the town

So sang some erstwhile grump who has now gone full Trump but don't Panic! Hopes are indeed high but it's a safe bet the honey pie is just runny with the wares of an artisan apiary up in Ambleside.

Yes, Grasmere's popularity is down to it being very much that kind of place and it's nothing like the streets of Carlisle or anywhere else in Cumbria, actually.

Grasmere - Lake View Drive

Sure, the Lakeland stone and slate is familiar but only 500-or-so folk call this home and absolutely everybody else is trying to sell you something you don't really need, really.

Despite the size, it's surprisingly easy to lose your bearings because, well, one outdoor clothing store advertising a sale looks very much like another.

The Inn at Grasmere

It's also likely to be busy, very busy, and you and the rest of today's intake will be forced onto the packed pavements by inconsiderate residents requiring use of the narrow roads.

They're driving off to where they'd rather be, which is anywhere but the middle of Grasmere during trading hours, probably, but this is all down to it looking and feeling, quite frankly, fabulous.

Grasmere - River Rothay

It is simply and naturally seductive to your average, middle-aged moocher, SlyBob included, especially on a day of rare, near-interrupted sun.

  The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop (Church Cottage)

Go on, queue for some of their world-famous fayre, hand-made from the native rhizome, not really. Not the hand-made bit, that's true, but ginger has its roots in Polynesia, they say, and was a luxury, imported ingredient in the Middle Ages.

Commoners only got a taste for it in the 19th century and localish lass Sarah Nelson scraped a living from it during the middle of it. Both her and husband Willie, seriously, were impoverished, rural folk and their early working lives in domestic servitude and farm labouring were, let's face it, ideal for creating a brand.

Working her way up through local kitchens, the business boomed when Victorian toffs came a callin' with the railway and this is her original house and kitchen still serving up the delicacy from a secret recipe that's inevitably locked away in a safe somewhere.

The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

It's still family-run, just by a different family, but here's a confession... it's not for Bob! That's likely down to the trauma of too much ginger cordial in childhood, at least that's what the psychotherapist says.

Although he was born up in Cockermouth, William Wordsworth, of worthy words fame, lived here with his sister Dorothy in Dove Cottage, which is a big draw for aficionados of the odester, like you didn't know already.

Two became three when Wordsworth married and when children started to arrive, larger lodgings were required and the unusual unit decamped down the road to Rydal. With an illegitimate child already on the continent and a fall out with his drugged-up buddy Samuel Taylor Coleridge, this should have been material enough for his musings, never mind them daffodils.

Anyhows, they're all buried here in the graveyard of St Oswald's and that can be confirmed by SlyBob despite not having a clue where Dove Cottage actually is because, well, it says nothing to us about our lives.

Grasmere - St Oswald's Church
Grasmere - Wordsworth Daffodil Garden

There's a path to their fenced-off headstones, all 12 of them, that's inlaid with Lakeland slates each inscribed with the names of donors who fund the upkeep of the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden. That means, when in season, you too can wander and wonder wistfully although you'll be doing well to conjure a better collective noun than 'host'.

Those famous flowers, by the way, were observed near Ullswater but Dorothy's version of their shared experience was fashionably ignored at the time despite now being considered to be at least as equally poetic. Them men, eh? Right girls?

It's not all dead poets and knick-knacks, though. No, Grasmere's natural setting makes for a bit of a base for your casual outdoor type. While the more serious ones are all scampering up Scafell Pike, there's a shortish hop south over Loughrigg Fell to Ambleside or uninterrupted views from the relatively modest Helm Crag to the north.

Near Grasmere - Helm Crag

It's known locally as the 'Lion and the Lamb' from the shape of the rocks on top and no, SlyBob's not really seeing it, neither.

  Tweedies Bar & Lodge (Red Bank Road)

A Grasmere staple for at least two decades and while the lodgings now look to be approaching luxury status, the bar remains full of muddy-booted types tucking into poshed-up pub grub. This is known from seeking recentish respite from a deluge, the like of which hasn't been seen since.

He said 'There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing' and while there's a great deal of respect for Alfred Wainwright in this house, that's absolute cobblers and he knew it, probably.

The lake that named that toon isn't that accessible and large parts of a circular walk to it are by road where you might get a beep-beep from this guy.

Grasmere - 555 to Keswick

There's an ongoing campaign to encourage visitors to arrive by public transport, you see, to refute the Lake District's reputation of being a big car park with puddles in it in summer. That would certainly eliminate any free-for-alls at Stock Lane Car Park, which might spill into a field if necessary, if necessary?

The bigger problem is that people only ever visit four places in the Lake District, it's true. There's here, Ambleside, Keswick and Windermere, all provincial towns you could jog 'round, but what's that you shout? Bowness?

Bowness-on-Windermere, the lake, doesn't even count because it's just the bottom part of Windermere, the town, so there! Coniston? Fair point.

There is, however, an alternative way to arrive by avoiding the crowds... leg it up Grey Crag and jump off it! Yes, paragliding nutjobs of the kind last seen at Beachy Head and they're dotting the sky in what seems like their dozens, well, at least nine of them if you look closely.

Near Grasmere - Paragliding Nutjobs
Near Grasmere - Paragliding Nutjob

One matter-of-fact and not-long-landed chap, possibly him, is folding his canopy in a field. Apologies for coming across as incredulous because, yeah, that's a perfectly normal thing to do?

You know when you don't know nearly as much about Fantasy Football as you thought and there's an annual forfeit in Sly's favour involving fancy dining? Well, the Forest Side is by the side of a forest, alright, and it's home to red squirrels if you're lucky although you'll have to watch your Green Cross Code™s over the busy A591 from Grasmere.

You too may have once tutted at a tasting menu's portions but there's more than enough grub when you tot it all up. The ingredients are carefully Cumbrian and the wines 'biodynamic', whatever that means, and they've been prepping for you since mid-morning prior to a team meal, nice to see, and a busy service.

It's only slightly formal but Bob likes to make an effort for a special occasion but the evening garments have got a little crumpled in the boot. They need an hour suspended in a steamy bathroom with the door shut...

Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ Hang the DJ, hang the DJ, hang the DJ Hang the DJ, hang the DJ...

What's What
 The Forest Side
 The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop
 The Inn at Grasmere
 Tweedies Bar & Lodge