We visited the The Grasmere Gingerbread Shop specifically for Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread.
We tasted and bought enough for ourselves and other family and friends, some of whom may have received the yummy gifts and some not.
If your on a hiking holiday in the Lake District then these biscuits are ideal for the rucksack.
It's a small shop, so you have to take a chance and not visit along with a coach load of other tourists.
I did this last year, end March 2010, and it snowed. The hill-tops were dusted with snow and it was beautiful.
We parked at White Moss Common, to the South of the Lake, which is a lovely picnic spot in itself. We had our lunch here watching the ducks, there are loos here which helps too!
We set off walking around the left hand-side of the lake, as you're looking at it with Grasmere town at the top, pretty quickly you get a beautiful view of the lake and mountains surrounding it. You have a pebble beach to the right and woodland to your left, it's lovely walking around.
You have to leave the water's edge and cut up by the side of a farmer's land onto a country road. After a while again you get to Faery Land which is a little hut cafe where you can also hire rowing boats. It's a lovely place to stop, admire the view and try to decide which of the many teas to drink. After here it's only a short while to Grasmere where we alyays have a good look around, buy some gingerbread, see the Wordsworth graves and set off to Dove Cottage and the Jerwood gallery. From here back to the car park you walk mainly by the road which isn't too nice but there are some dips into the woodland too.
The entire walk is about 3.5 miles
Luckily my visit was at the end of March 2011 (warmer and wetter) and the daffodils were in full bloom, I went the year before at the same time and they were not out yet (very cold then). It really does depend on the weather.
The Wordsworth Daffodil garden is beautiful, just behind St Oswald's Church with the river running along one side, you'll see ducks, squirrels and other birds.
The pavers are sponsored so you can spend a while searching for people from your area and there are ones bought by the odd famous person.
You can donate £10 to plant a daffodil and pay £225 for a Lakeland slate pavior to be laid with your name and town on.
To see the Wordsworth family graves in the graveyard of St.Oswald's church.
The church has its roots in the 7th century when it is said that St Oswald preached on the site but the actual church there today dates from the 13th century.
The major draw here are the graves and the daffodil garden, it's a pretty graveyard anyhow. The Wordsworth graves are sign posted and just in front of them is the daffodil garden and river flowing by.
A trip to the Lakes is not complete without the odd walk or two. We bought some walking leaflets in a visitor centre and the woman at the desk said this was the best one.
This one is called Easedale Tarn.
We parked in the main Grasmere car park (there is a public loo here too) and set off, we packed some juice and a cereal bar to have at the top and took waterproofs; just in-case.
The weblink gives you a much better description of the route than I ever could so I'll talk a bit more about what you see.
We started on a quite lane plassing farms and holiday cottages; one had a stick across a gate asking for it not to be removed as it keeps the deer out!
You go over a bridge and get onto a path, this goes over a couple of very narrow foot bridges and you follow the river for a while. We went in March 2011 and the footpath was very wet the whole way up, there were places at the side you could walk. In some places it was more like you were walking through a river than on a footpath. My mum did the walk in wellies and she was fine.
You can see the waterfalls in the distance as you pass through some farmland but the roar of it slowly builds as you get closer.
The footpath gets rather rocky as you ascend and you can get very close to the powerful waterfall. You pass through shrub land and get amazing views down onto Grasmere and the surrounding hills. After a while you get up to the tarn itself, which you don't expect, it is incredibly windy up there you can lean into the wind, we found a rock to shelter behind to eat our bars and drink juice.
You can walk all round the tarn and back down the other side but we were recemmended not to walk down the other side as the path wasn't very stable.
We got into Grasmere for a coffee and some ginger bread. A lovely walk, it took a bit under 2.5 hours.
We decided to take a tour of Dove Cottage which was the poet William Wordsworth's home from 1799-1808. Here he wrote some of his best poetry such as "Daffodils" and his sister Dorothy wrote her "Grasmere Journals". Wordsworth had fallen in love with the Lake District and in particular Grasmere while on an earlier walking tour with his friend Samuel Taylor Coleridge, which prompted his move to the area to be at one with his surroundings and use them as inspiration for his work.
Entry costs £7.50 for adults/£4.50 for children with family tickets available too for £17.20 for up to 2 adults and 3 children. This includes entry to Dove Cottage with a guided tour, entry to the museum and art gallery and entry to see any special exhibitions. Open 9.30am-5.30pm every day but closed from beginning of Jan to beginning of Feb 2009 and during Christmas. There is also a restaurant on the site.
It is well worth a visit to buy some of Sarah Nelson's famous gingerbread which sells for around £2 per small pack. The shop opens from 9.15am - 5.30pm Mon-Sat and 12.30pm-5.30pm on Sundays but times may vary in the winter months.
Sarah Nelson was a cook to Lady Marie Farquhar of Grasmere and it was during this time that she developed her gingerbread which was enjoyed by many villagers, gentry and travellers. In 1854, she moved into the present day location of the shop and began selling her lovely gingerbread.
The gingerbread is baked freshly every day on the premises using a secret recipe and has many famous fans such as Jamie Oliver.
There are several gingerbread treats to buy at the shop as well as things such as rum butter, preserves, confectionery, aprons, postcards, etc.
Back at "ground level" you continue on the way to Rydal Water by following the river Rothay and staying on the right hand bank. The bridge over the river is quite picturesque and on the other side is a nice bit of woodland walk and some other picnic spots that you can find by the lake.
To go on to Rydal Water you have to follow the path you can see here and eventually bear right (keep to this side of the river). To "escape" to the road and/or the path directly back to Grasmere, cross a bridge further on to cross the river, head through a car park and eventually find the road.
There's a very pleasant and easy walk that you can do, either around Grasmere lake or around Grasmere and Rydal Water. In both cases you can do either a full circuit or take the bus back after completeing half of the trip (the "half of the trip" is the nicest part).
To get to Grasmere lake you have to walk down the road out of the village that heads towards Langdale. This is not the main road that runs to Windermere, but the one that heads out of the back of the village by Grasmere Garden Centre. You follow the lane for maybe 1.5km before you eventually reach the lake path.
The next few tips show you around the lake walk.
St Oswald's is (in my mind) a quite unattractive church, with it's discoloured pebble-dashing and plain lines.
It's churchyard is worth a visit though, especially for those interested in the poet William Wordsworth. Not only are he and his wife Mary buried here, but also his sister Dorothy, and his children Dora, William, Thomas and Catherine.
However you get back to Grasmere, stop off at Dove Cottage on the way. This is by the main A591 road near one of the turn-offs to Grasmere village. The location of Dove Cottage is actually the hamlet of Town End.
The famous English poet William Wordsworth lived here for about 8 years at the start of the 1800's and it has now been bought by the Wordsworth Trust for use as their main museum to William Wordsworth.
The poet lived in many places throughout the lakes, and I've even spent a holiday at one of the places where he lived, Ann Tyson's Cottage in Hawkshead. That was an experience.
You have three choices:
Walk back to Grasmere via the path by the road;
Walk back via an elevated route on the hill above the road (get to this path by going up past Rydal Mount and then go left);
Get the bus back.
We usually take option 1, though it's possibly the least attractive option.
Whichever route you take you'll eventually round the head of Rydal Water and cross the river that runs out of it eventually come to the road.
Just over the road is a hotel & bar - "The Badger Bar", a welcome sight after the long walk, most likely more for the fact that it has a loo then the fact you're desperate for a beer!
If you're unlucky you'll find it closed (doesn't always hold all-day openeing, especially out of the main season).
Another way to get from Grasmere to Rydal Water is to climb up the hill behind the beach at Grasmere and get onto Loughrigg Terrace. There's a distinct track leading up here from just around the bridge over the river. Follow it up until you get to the obvious left-right track that skirts around the hill. Follow that path in the direction that the river is flowing down below, and keep going. Eventually you'll get to a spoil heap from some old slate workings. Around these workings is a cave, which is flooded inside (but it's not deep, so don't worry). It's a nice place to spend a couple of minutes.
You have to kind of take a right furher along the path, well before you reach the car park and road, and go up over a small hill and through a gate in a wall and... hey presto, Rydal is in view! This is a lovely little lake - really small, and with an island in the middle. Again, it's a nice place to stop for picnics and relaxing, and also some paddling or swimming. Like Grasmere, it can get a little busy in the height of summer.