Roll up your sleeves and experience Georgian life

11 Aug
Making clapbread in the kitchen at Wordsworth House

Hands on: Making clapbread in the kitchen at Wordsworth House

There’s plenty to keep everyone entertained, indoors and out, at Wordsworth House and Garden over the school holidays.

On Mondays, children can head for the working Georgian kitchen, roll up their sleeves and help the costumed servants make clapbread, a traditional Cumbrian recipe.

Tuesdays are wild art days. Adults and children can unleash their creativity and make artworks using found objects ranging from twigs and leaves to feathers and seashells. Our staff have already had a go, and their creations are on show around the house to provide inspiration.

On Wednesdays, the servants – who are hard at work in the house every day during the holidays – give special 10-minute talks on the weird world of Georgian leisure at 11.30am and 2.30pm. Afterwards, visitors can step back in time and find out what it was like to take part in an 18th-century skittles match or card game for themselves.

On Thursdays, children can try some of the 50 things we think everyone should experience before they are 11 ¾, including snail racing and grass trumpet making. If it’s wet, we’ll just move everything indoors!

We’re closed on Fridays, but at weekends families can borrow Explorer Bags full of trails, tools and toys to help them delve further into the nooks and crannies of this fascinating house and garden.

Whatever day you visit, reproduction toys and dressing up clothes – in all sizes – are waiting in the children’s bedroom. The quills and ink are ready in the clerk’s office, while in the kitchen, there’s an 18th-century recipe to taste. And, if you have a musical bent, feel free to pick out a tune on the harpsichord.

Come and work in our café!

30 Jun
Wordsworth House cafe

Join our friendly team

The café at Wordsworth House, where I live in the garden, is famous for its great scones and cakes and for its friendly service.

Manager Kirsty tells me there’s a vacancy for a casual assistant to join the team for the rest of this season.

If you’re a hard-working, people person with lots of common sense who enjoys baking, you could be the person to fill it.

To find out more about the role and how to apply, click here – but hurry, as she’s planning to hold the interviews soon!

Go wild outdoors this summer

2 Jun
Filmmaker David Bond and his daughter Ivy

Filmmaker David Bond and his daughter Ivy

Did you know that, on average, today’s 11-to-15 year olds spend half their waking lives – that’s 7.5 hours a day – in front of a screen? It’s no wonder that conditions like obesity, ADHD and diabetes are on the rise.

And the consequences of their sedentary, indoor lifestyles don’t end there. According to filmmaker and concerned father David Bond: “Today’s children are the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

Here at Wordsworth House and Garden we’re determined to do something about this, so we’re staging free screenings of Bond’s acclaimed film Project Wild Thing.

This quirky and revealing feature-length documentary is about children’s increasingly strained – and strange – relationship with nature.

Bond wants all children to have the kind of outdoor experiences and adventures he enjoyed at their age, so he appoints himself “marketing director for nature” and sets out to make the outdoors as appealing as TV and crisps.

Why not join us to find out what happens? The screenings are at 7pm on Tuesday 9 June and Friday 3 July, and they’ll be accompanied by a free glass of wine and followed by a panel discussion.

Places are limited, though, so it’s vital to book. Please email or call 01900 824805 to reserve your free tickets.

Are you ready for Cockermouth Georgian Fair weekend?

27 Apr
Wordsworth House retail assistant Bruce dressed in Georgian costume

Here to serve: Retail assistant Bruce channels his inner Georgian


With less than a week to go to Cockermouth’s biannual Georgian Fair weekend, even our shop staff are getting into the late
18th-century spirit.

Of course, here at Wordsworth House and Garden, it’s permanently 1777, the last year William and the rest of the Wordsworth family were all together, so getting ready is just a case of popping up to the costume store to find something that fits and, hopefully, flatters.

I’m sure you’ll agree that retail assistant Bruce, pictured above, has succeeded on that score. If you’ve never worn Georgian clothes, why not pop in over the weekend and try some for yourself? We’ve got outfits in all sizes.

While you’re here, you can join the manservant on a verbal tour of the town as it was in the Wordsworths’ time. The ability to time travel isn’t required though, as the virtual visit to the past takes place in the comfort of our dining room.

His ‘Cockermouth in 15-minutes’ talks, which are free with entry to the house and garden, are at 11.30am and 2.30pm from Saturday, 2 May to Monday, 4 May.

You can also explore our hands-on rooms, sample a Georgian recipe, write with a quill and ink, play with reproduction toys, relax in the garden that helped inspire William to become a poet – and eat some great cake in our cosy café.

To find out what else we’ve got going on, you’ll just have to visit!

Wordsworth’s birthplace needs a special person – is it you?

16 Feb
Alex Morgan, dury manager Wordsworth House

In charge: Alex Morgan, one of the duty managing team


Manager Zoe tells me she has one last staff role to fill before Wordsworth House and Garden is ready to open for the new visitor season on Saturday, March 7.

There’s a gap in the duty managing team and she’s looking for a very special person to fill it on a casual basis.

She explained: “Our duty managers look after our visitors, staff and volunteers, as well as the house itself. The work’s really interesting and varied – no two days are the same – and you get to meet some wonderful people.”

I asked what kind of person she was looking for. She said: “We need someone with excellent customer service and supervisory skills. They must enjoy meeting people, being busy and thinking on their feet.

“It’s a seasonal post running from March to early November, the hours are irregular, and they have to be able to cover holiday and illness at short notice and be happy to work weekends.”

If you think this could be you, ring 01900 824805 for an informal chat, or visit to apply online. The rate of pay is £7.51 an hour, and the closing date is Friday, March 6.

Good luck!

Why not join Wordsworth’s friendly volunteers?

2 Feb
Bill Paul

Members of the house and garden volunteer team with gardener Amanda, left


The people who volunteer at Wordsworth House and Garden play a vital part in making it so friendly and special, and we’re looking for more to join them.

You don’t need to be a history buff or an expert on William’s poetry – all it takes to become part of the team is a warm, enthusiastic manner and a few spare hours a week. We’ll teach you the rest!

Manager Zoe tells me she needs people of all ages to greet and chat to visitors, lead house taster tours, play the replica harpsichord, and work in the café, the garden (where I live) and the shop.

Whether you’ve recently moved to the Cockermouth area or lived here all your life, it’s a great way to meet new friends and learn new skills.

The house is open six days a week, including weekends, meaning it’s easy to fit volunteering around school, work, family or other commitments.

So why not drop in for a cuppa on Saturday, 7 February or Thursday, 12 February, between 10am and 1pm, to find out more?

If you can’t make those dates, email or call us on 01900 824805.

We’ve put Wordsworth’s house to bed for the winter

8 Dec
Making a bed in the children's room

My friends the maids making the bed in the children’s room


Cockermouth by Candlelight, our last event of the year, is over and everything has been put away for the winter at Wordsworth House and Garden.

In the house, the furniture is under dust sheets, the artefacts are wrapped and packed, and the rugs have been rolled up.

Out here in the garden, things are tidy. Poppy, Maisie and Madame Hetty, the Scots Dumpy heritage chickens, have departed for their winter quarters – and I’ll soon be heading off to join them.

But that doesn’t mean the work is over for the year.

Our lovely shop is still open and packed with gorgeous gifts. And my friends in the house and garden teams are busy doing important conservation work, hiring and training seasonal staff, organising activities and events, and generally preparing for when we reopen on Saturday, 7 March.

We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for 2015. Have a look at our website to find out more!


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