OS grid ref:- NY 343069
Dove Cottage was William Wordsworth's first home in the lakes, the poet, his wife Mary and sister Dorothy lived there from 1799 to 1808 and it is where he is believed to have written his best poetry.
Originally an inn called the 'Dove and Olive Bough', little has changed in the house since it was occupied by the Wordsworth family. Most of the furniture on display was owned by them and three of the couples five children were born in the cottage. Visitors included Robert Southey and his brother-in-law, Samuel Taylor Coleridge as well as the writer Sir Walter Scott. Coleridge was a frequent visitor having made his home at Greta Hall.
The cottage is entered through a rustic style stone porch, leading into the stone flagged and low ceilinged kitchen parlour, where a roaring fire welcomes the visitor on cold days. The dark oak wainscotting which covers the walls dates from the time when Dove Cottage operated as a public house.
Creaking stairs lead up to the bedrooms and the sitting room, where interesting portraits of the Wordsworth family are displayed, along with those of family friends Southey and Coleridge.
Local tradition states that when Sir Walter Scott stayed with his friend, the tee-total Wordsworth who would not allow alcohol in the house, Scott would lock the door of his room, climb out of the window and make straight for the Swan Hotel in the village, to which ends he was driven to to obtain his daily dram of Scotch whisky. The household it is reported, on entering the inn with him, were puzzled as to why all the staff appeared to greet him as an old friend.
The gardens at Dove Cottage were laid out by Wordsworth himself. When the Wordsworth's left, the cottage became the home of their friend Thomas de Quincey, who recalled his life there in his book 'Confessions of an Opium-eater'.
The adjoining Wordsworth Museum (shop pictured right), holds many of the poet's original manuscripts, Dorothy's Journal, which records her description of the daffodils at Ullswater, which was used by William in composing his most famous poem and works of art by John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Thomas Gainsborough, Joseph Wright and Edward Lear.
The Wordsworth Museum has a tea room, which sells meals and snacks and an excellent shop selling books and crafts relating to English Literature and the Lake District.