Mirehouse – Keswick

Location : Bassenthwaite / Keswick  –  Grid Ref: NY 232282

Keswick, Cumbria CA12 4QE. Tel: 017687 72287
Email : [email protected]

A remarkable historic house and gardens facing Bassenthwaite Lake, with Dodd Wood and Skiddaw at the rear. The gardens contain four wooded adventure playgrounds, varied sheltered gardens to amble around, and lakeside walks through woods and parks.
Being a private house, opening times to the House are restricted (see below), the grounds and tea-room being open daily. The House has been in the Spedding family for over 300 years, and contains a wide range of literary and artistic connections, including portraits, James Speddings collection of Francis Bacon’s works, as well as manuscripts of  Southey, Wordsworth , Tennyson, Thomas Carlyle and John Constable – all friends of the Speddings in the last century. Relax and enjoy live classical music in a warm and friendly atmosphere.
In the grounds are 4 adventure playgrounds, collections of Rhododendrons and Hydrangeas, a sheltered Bee Garden, traditional orchard, a heather path maze, the Canada garden, terraced lawns, and a rare wildflower meadow.  A circular walk of around a mile leads from the house, through the woods, along the lake shore and back to the entrance.
The poetry walk, housing a rose garden at the centre,  has recently been extended and shows poems associated with Mirehouse, including works by Tennyson, Wordsworth and Hartley Coleridge.
The Old Sawmill Tea Room is located beside the car park opposite the entrance to Mirehouse and specialises in traditional Cumbrian home cooking.  Open daily 10am to 5pm.

Photo by Simon Ledingham.

The beautiful little church of St. Bega, is in the Mirehouse grounds.
Lord Alfred Tennyson stayed at Mirehouse in 1835 while he was writing his poem ‘Morte D’Arthur’ and St Bega’s Church inspired the opening lines:

‘..to a chapel nigh the field,
A broken chancel with a broken cross,
That stood on a dark straight of barren land,’

A small distance along the shore from the church you will find a simple open-air theatre erected by the Tennyson Society at the place where it is thought he composed much of the poem.

The open-air theatre by the lake.

THE HOUSE opens from April until end October on WEDNESDAY and SUNDAY afternoons (also Fridays in August) from 2 pm to 5 pm (last entries 4.30 pm)
THE HOUSE is additionally open on SATURDAY afternoons and the times change for the house opening from ‘2pm to 5pm’ to ‘1.30pm to 4.30pm’ (last entries 4pm)
THE GARDENS, playgrounds, lakeside walk and tearoom open daily from April until the end of October (10 am to 5 pm).
Payable at The Old Sawmill Tearoom beside the car-park.
Grounds only: Adult £4.00; child £2.00
House and Grounds: Adult £7.80; Child £3.90; Family (2 adults and upto 4 children) £21.
Under 4s FREE

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