THE Lake District is a pretty inspirational place.

From artists, photographers and writers to chefs, gardeners and nature lovers, travellers and visitors, it has inspired awe, amazement, joy and the full range of emotions.

The fantastic views, nature and people have prompted the likes of JMW Turner and Beatrix Potter to immortalise it and the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was even to driven to make the first recorded ascent of Scafell by a visitor in 1802.

But it is William Wordsworth and his famous daffodils who is most associated with the area and with the 250th anniversary of his birth being celebrated in 2020, there is no better time to explore the national park and, perhaps, become a little inspired to greatness yourself – whether by exploring the great outdoors or getting creative in your own way.

To get a taste of what is on offer to visitors, particularly in view of the forthcoming anniversary, we based ourselves in Grasmere, the epicentre of Wordsworth country which he loved so much he described it as “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found”.

It features two of the houses he lived in – with a third close by - a museum dedicated to him, many of the walks he would recognise and which inspired him and his final resting place in the church graveyard which is a place of pilgrimage for many.

And what better accommodation to stay at than the hotel named in his honour in the centre of the village, the Wordsworth Hotel and Spa, originally an Earl's shooting lodge and now boasting luxury facilities and a welcoming atmosphere which makes you feel right at home.

Each bedroom features plush furnishings and fittings as you would expect and bathrooms are well appointed. It was nice to have a large bath to relax in.

There is a cosy bar to unwind in and a choice of two rooms to eat in, the Signature Restaurant and the Dove Bistro, both serving wonderful locally-sourced food, with the latter offering a more relaxed dining atmosphere with offerings like gastropub-style burgers, steaks and fish with local ales to wash them down with.

The menu in the former consists of fine dining with a fantastic range of starters, mains and desserts featuring such mains as cuts of British lamb, roast duck breast and char-grilled vegan halloumi. The food was excellently cooked and presented with the serving staff very knowledgeable and attentive. If you fancy trying something different, the mix of tastes and textures should fit the bill.

The spa facilities are top class with pool, Jacuzzi and sauna giving you the chance to wind down after a busy day out and about and the friendly staff can pamper you to your heart's content.

When you're ready to go out and explore, you can just walk out the front door and see why Wordsworth wrote most of his some 70,000 lines of verse, 40,000 lines more than any other poet, in the area.

He was one of the group of Romantic poets and artists who transformed the way the Lake District was viewed, turning wild landscapes from places of dread to ones of beauty and romance.

Not surprisingly, his love of the Lake District turned him into a bit of a Nimby, opposing development of the area and the coming of the railways – but his writing, especially the first guidebook to the area in 1820, helped to popularise it and create the tourist industry we see today which allows so many more to experience the beauty of Grasmere and its surroundings.

He composed many of his best-known works on open-air walks around Grasmere and you can follow in his footsteps today, experiencing all that the area has to offer, from the famous Sarah Nelson's gingerbread, which is well worth sampling, to hikes on the fells or rowing on the lake.

Wordsworth was born in nearby Cockermouth on April 7, 1770, and next April is sure to see many flocking to catch the district's daffodils in their golden hosts which he immortalised.

He lived in Dove Cottage, just outside Grasmere village, from 1799 to 1808 and to mark the anniversary the Wordsworth Trust which owns the building is transforming it in a Reimagining Wordsworth project to take it back to the poet's era.

On our visit, the cottage was still undergoing its transformation but without furniture you get a good idea of how spartan was the life of the poet, his wife Mary, sister Dorothy and their many visitors in the small and basic building. The museum next door is also being given an overhaul to mark the 250th anniversary, with updated facilities including new exhibition spaces and cafe.

The wonderfully informative guides can give you a real insight into the man and Dorothy, unheralded at the time but now considered to be crucial to his writing and a glimpse of some of the many priceless volumes in the trust's archives is a privilege.

But he spent most of his time in the Lake District, from 1813 to his death in 1850, in the more comfortable surroundings of Rydal Mount, a house just down the road towards Ambleside where his descendants still live.

A self-guided tour gives you a sense of just how highly he was revered, from receiving royal visitors and the great and worthy of the age, to getting a real taste of how he lived and worked. It has a treasure trove of Wordsworth's own books and objects and the beautiful garden adjoins Dora's field, named in memory of a beloved daughter where Wordsworth and his wife planted a profusion of daffodil bulbs and which is now owned by the National Trust.

You may not wander lonely as a cloud everywhere on a trip to Grasmere but there's no better place to absorb the culture of one of England's finest literary landscapes and no better base than the Wordsworth Hotel and Spa to be inspired by it.


Cumbria tourism -  

Wordsworth Hotel -

Dove Cottage -

Rydal Mount -