The weather today boded well when I woke up to a fair morning at 7:30 am. In fact, there was even some sunshine around, at least where we live in Bowness-on-Windermere. With little wind and bright skies overhead until early afternoon, one could be forgiven for thinking that the weather would remain pleasant throughout the day. However, by late afternoon or early evening, the rain started to pour down again. It was by no means a heavy downpour, but it wasn’t a drizzle either.

The onset of rain showers brought a number of requests from guests for use of the private country club where we offer free membership for the duration of anyone’s stay with us at Blenheim Lodge. There, guests can enjoy facilities such as a swimming pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, racquet sports, gym, pool and snooker tables, and a lounge bar. The country club is only 7 minutes’ walk from our guest house, and parking is also available.

However, besides this indoor leisure facility which our guests can enjoy when they stay with us, there are numerous other indoor attractions in the Lake District which are interesting and also give shelter from the rain. I will tell you about two very different attractions below that can be enjoyed on a rainy day. Both are historic homes, but they are presented very differently indeed.

On a rainy day this month, a couple made a flying visit to us and were adamant that despite their lack of time, they were going to include a walk in their itinerary. They decided to visit Wray Castle – not by boat and on foot as so many people do – but by car. Once there, they walked around its grounds, visited the Castle itself, and returned to us raving about the beautiful gardens and the wealth of features and things to do in the house, particularly for those of us who are kids at heart. In fact, they said that one could spend a whole day at the Castle and not grow bored. Wray Castle is only a few miles from Blenheim Lodge, and is easily accessible by ferry from Bowness Bay, 7 minutes’ walk from our guest house.

‘This is not a real castle but a private house built in in the Gothic Revival Style in 1840. . . . You can explore the Castle inside and out in all weather. Find your way from James and Margaret Dawson’s grand living spaces to narrow winding passages used by their servants. Rooms are empty of the original furniture . . . Wander the Castle’s elaborate hall, rooms with towers, turrets and arrow slots. . . . The grounds are well worth visiting for the sake of the specimen trees – wellingtonia, redwood, gingkoa, weeping lime and varieties of beech. There is a mulberry tree planted by William Wordsworth in 1845. Watbarrow Wood is the wooded bank between the castle and the lake, and has several pleasant paths leading through it to the water’s edge. There are spectacular views across Windermere.’ (Words and photo courtesy of

For something different, why not step back in time at Wordsworth’s House, where the poet was born in 1770? Wordsworth House and Garden in Cockermouth is where this famous Romantic poet lived as a child. The National Trust has restored the lovely Georgian house and garden and cleverly presents both as if Wordsworth’s 18th century family and servants were still living there, offering ‘an unforgettable chance for all ages to see, smell, hear, touch and even taste what it was like to live in the 1770s’. (Quote here and below courtesy of

Setting the dining table for a meal at Wordsworth House. (Photo courtesy of

Make yourself at home in the hands-on rooms – including an amazing working Georgian kitchen – help the servants with their chores, listen to their tales of life with the family, and learn the fascinating story of the house and garden.

Grown-ups and children can write with a quill pen and ink, dress up in replica 18th-century clothes, play with replica toys, listen to the harpsichord, browse the books or just relax and soak up the atmosphere. . . .

‘William Wordsworth’s memories of his early life in Cockermouth are dominated by happy times spent exploring the garden of his father’s house. The garden was more than just an exciting playground, however. It also provided a vital source of food and other supplies for the household. The garden has been replanted to show how the Wordsworth family might have used it during the 1770s.
The garden changes with every season and there is always something new to see.’ (Quote and photo courtesy of

The garden is packed with 18th-century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers, just as it would have been in William’s day.

It was this garden, and the unspoiled surrounding countryside, which helped spark the love of nature that continued throughout his life and inspired so many of his poems.

Well, I hope that you have enjoyed taking this little tour with me of two former homes in the Lake District. Whilst Wray Castle is presented with unfurnished rooms, Wordsworth House is displayed with all its panoply of family life in the 1770s. Personally, I enjoy visiting historic homes and seeing what they might have looked like when they were still properly lived in; add the sights, sounds and smells of an occupied house, and history comes to life!

‘Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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