The village of Rydal, two miles north of Ambleside is famous for being the home of the poet William Wordsworth (1770–1850). He is most famous for his lyrical ballad The Prelude, as well as the poem I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud, inspired when Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy came across an abundance of daffodils while wandering in Gowbarrow Park, Ullswater. He was also Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death.
The house he lived in for 37 years, Rydal Mount, is open to the public, and stands at the top of the little road leading up through the village of Rydal. The house is well-preserved, and filled with many mementos of the poet. There is also a substantial garden around the house with lovely views of the surrounding hills.
Below the house is Dora’s Field; this strip of woodland was owned by Wordsworth and named after his daughter; it is an excellent place to see daffodils in the spring. Dora's Field is now owned by the National Trust, and can be accessed by walking through the grounds of Rydal Church. The church dates to the 1820s with Wordsworth helping to choose the site.
Like Rydal, Grasmere is famous for its connections with William Wordsworth. He lived at Dove Cottage for just eight years (from 1799 to 1808), quite a short period of a long life, but it was here that he wrote much of his famous poetry, including I wandered lonely as a cloud. Dove Cottage stands at the south end of the valley, and is also an excellent example of cottage architecture from the 18th Century. Behind the cottage Wordsworth had a steep, little garden, a ‘… little nook of mountain-ground..’; it was a spot he dearly loved, declaring it to be ‘… the loveliest spot that man hath ever found…’. Nearby, the excellent Wordsworth Museum houses almost all of his manuscripts and tells the story of his remarkable life and times.
Wordsworth has connections to other places in the Lake District. Wordsworth House in Cockermouth, was the birthplace of William Wordsworth in 1770, and is now owned by the National Trust and open to the public.
Wordsworth attended Grammar School at Hawkshead from 1778 to 1787. Perhaps more than anywhere else, it was during his time at Hawkshead that he discovered his love of nature, often walking around Esthwaite Water before school started. The school building can be found tucked in below the church; the building is well-preserved and is open to visitors.