Allan Bank

Allan Bank Grasmere LA22 9QB

Grasmere's Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount attract most of the Wordsworth fans, keen to see where and how the great man lived, but the newly opened Allan Bank, high on a hill above village and lake, offers a different kind of visitor experience. William Wordsworth and family lived here too, but only for three years from 1808, and Wordsworth never really liked it – complaining that the chimneys smoked too much. After decades of neglect, and unseen by the general public for 200 years, the house (all bare walls and floors, peeling paint and chipped plaster) has been re-opened again by the National Trust, who have left the house partially restored and undecorated. This means that children are welcome to paint, draw and play in Wordsworth's bedroom, while comments and ideas can be scrawled on the walls. Grab a cuppa and have a seat in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's room (he was a frequent guest) or chat to the effusive guides, before heading outside for a stroll through the barely tamed wooded grounds with their distant lake views. It's a remarkable place, living history at its best. Note you'll have to park down in the village – the house is a ten-minute walk up the lane by the side of the Miller Howe Café.

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