Grasmere, Cumbria


The Lake District has inspired generations of artists and poets and we believe Howthwaite will continue to stir the senses for many generations. This solid, unaltered house shares the same views across Grasmere as Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth’s home in the Lakes where he was inspired to write some of his finest poetry.

  • Dogs AllowedDogs Allowed
  • CotCot
  • Mobile signalMobile signal
  • Fire or StoveFire or Stove
  • Open SpaceOpen Space
  • Logs availableLogs available
  • Parking AvailableParking Available
  • BathBath
  • DishwasherDishwasher
  • MicrowaveMicrowave
  • ShowerShower
  • Washing MachineWashing Machine

Beds 2 Twin, 2 Double

4 nights from
£752 equivalent to £23.50 per person, per night

Overlooking a cherished part of Britain’s literary heritage

Howthwaite stands at the edge of Grasmere immediately behind and above Dove Cottage. According to his sister Dorothy, Wordsworth used to walk and sit here composing his poems. Therefore when Howthwaite was offered for sale, the Trustees of Dove Cottage were keen that it fell into friendly hands and asked if we would join them in buying it. This was in 1986 when Landmark was still backed by our founder John Smith’s trust fund and could contemplate such things. We were more than happy to help because of its location and significance.

A quiet valley where the centuries fall away

Howthwaite was built in 1926 by Miss Jessie Macdougall, from a family of millers. It seemed to us a good unaltered example of the solid houses put up by those cultivated, well-to-do people who were attracted to the Lake District at the time; the kind of people who had prompted the foundation of the National Trust. From Howthwaite’s light airy rooms you can appreciate the ever-changing light and weather as they sweep across fells. The fine outlook and surroundings are delightful; whether you fancy walking, painting, writing, reading or simply gazing upon the landscape as Wordsworth did. Whatever the weather, you'll be spoilt for interesting and uplifting things to do nearby.

Floor Plan


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Map & local info

Howthwaite sits in deep woodland close to Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage. It commands wonderful views over Grasmere and has the beauty of the Lake District all around.

You are of course located in the outstandingly beautiful Lake District, with walks, villages and interesting places to visit in abundance. 

Dove Cottage is right on your doorstep at Howthwaite, and well worth a visit for lovers of Wordsworth, or those who are simply curious. 

Lake Windermere is under 30 minutes drive from Howthwaite. Boat Hire is available, or simply relax and enjoy one of the many organised cruises. 

Hill Top was the home of Beatrix Potter. It is beautifully preserved, as if she has stepped out for a walk, and ideal for families with children. 

The Jumble Room in Ambleside comes recommend, where you can find lovely local food and frequent live music nights. The Drunken Duck Inn is also a must.

Don't miss the fabulous Zeffirellis, either during the day for coffee, or in the evening for amazing pizzas and cinema. 

Close by is Dove Cottage and the Wordsworth Museum (0.3 miles), the Armitt Museum and Library (3.2 miles) and the Ruskin Museum (11 miles).

Discover local walks for dogs with our friends at, the dog walks community.

For more information and ideas of things to see and do during your stay at Howthwaite, please see our Pinterest Map.

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Essential info
What you need to know about this building
  • Yes. You are welcome to bring up to two dogs. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if you have an assistance dog, for which there is no charge.
  • Via a driveway from the main road which is very steep and cannot be used during winter months even by 4 x 4 vehicles.  There is alternative parking at the entrance to the drive and a steps down to the property.
  • Windermere – 8 miles.
  • Yes – there are two parking spaces adjacent to the gates at the top of the drive. During winter it will be necessary to park at the top of the driveway and walk down to the property. The driveway is steep and there is a flight of steps down to the property. 
  • There is gas central heating and an open fire.
  • Only logs may be used on the fire and these can be purchased and delivered under a private arrangement. Further details will be provided with your booking confirmation.
  • When Richard, our surveyor, visited Howthwaite in June 2021, he told us that "O2 works at 5 bars on 4G throughout the property, inside and out. Data transfer of images worked perfectly well, kept the younger members of our party happy, and probably the older ones too!" To check up-to-date mobile network coverage in the area, visit Due to the location and structure of many of our buildings, signal strength may differ to those indicated.
  • The kitchen is fully equipped with all plates, cutlery, fridge etc. There is also a gas cooker, a dishwasher and a microwave.
  • There are three bathrooms, two with free-standing shower units and one with a bath.
  • The stairs are steep.
  • There is a large open garden. There are steps in the garden, some are steep and may become slippery in wet or icy weather.
  • No. At the moment, we have decided not to implement Wi-Fi in our buildings following a consultation with our customers. Many said that they would find it useful, but many also felt that it would somehow damage the experience of staying in a Landmark. As the responses were so split, and as we have so many other initiatives requiring funding, we have decided to put this on hold for the time being.
    Except at Llwyn Celyn Bunk House where a password is available in the property when you arrive.
Booking and Payment
  • If the weather is bad, please contact our booking office who will be able to tell you whether the Landmark is accessible. If the housekeeper can safely get to the building to prepare it then we consider that it is open and available for guests. However if we cannot undertake a changeover then we will do our utmost to transfer your stay to another Landmark, depending on what we have available. It may not be of a similar size or in the same part of the country as your original booking. If the building is accessible but the customer cannot travel due to poor weather in his/her local area then please be aware that Landmark will not provide a refund. However the customer may be able to claim on his/her own travel insurance. We recommend that all guests take out travel insurance when they first secure a booking.
  • We accept Maestro (if issued in the UK), Visa, MasterCard, direct transfer and sterling cheques drawn on a UK bank. Cheques should be made payable to the Landmark Trust except for Lundy stays and boat/helicopter tickets which should be payable to The Lundy Company Ltd. All payments must be in sterling.
  • The key arrangements will be included in the Further Infomation document which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • If your stay starts more than two months from the date you make the booking, you are required to pay a deposit of one third of the cost of your stay (or £100 per booking, if greater) at the time of booking. Camping on Lundy and The Bunk House at Llwyn Celyn must be paid for in full at the time of booking.
  • If you wish to cancel or change your booking, please contact our Booking Office on 01628 825925
  • At the moment we only accept payment in sterling.
  • Our housekeeper will leave the key in a suitable place, the details of which will be sent to you prior to your stay.
  • It depends. Some of our most popular Landmarks are booked up a long time in advance, but many can be booked at short notice. We will always have Landmarks free for the coming weekend so it’s always worth checking our availability list.
  • No, Landmarks are available to be booked for anyone.
  • No, all the information you need can be found on our website, although we’d like you to buy one anyway as it will be a pleasure to own!
Staying at a Landmark
  • Some of our Landmarks are suitable for people with disabilities or limited mobility. However, many Landmarks have steep or narrow staircases, uneven floors and thresholds, changes of level, low ceilings or beams, as well as indistinct colours on steps and in corridors. We recommend that you call Booking Enquiries on 01628 825925 if you would like to find out the suitability of a particular Landmark for anyone with a specific disability.  Further information on access when visiting Lundy can also be found here.
  • Yes, Landmarks are only available as self-catering accommodation. We do not offer bed and breakfast.
  • Landmark does not provide catering, but we can recommend Greycoat Lumleys who can arrange for expert and well-trained staff to cater for one evening or for your entire holiday. Their cooks and chefs are able to work with you to meet your specific requirements
  • You may bring up to two dogs to properties where dogs are allowed (please see specific property details for exemptions however dogs are not permitted on Lundy except assistance dogs). They must be kept off the furniture and under proper control. A charge of £20 per stay is made for each dog. Please contact booking enquiries if a registered assistance dog is supporting one of the guests, for which there is no charge.
  • Apart from two dogs (see above) no other pets are permitted.
  • Arrival is from 4pm and departure is by 10am.
  • We do not carry insurance for breakages. However we appreciate that accidents do sometimes happen. If you have a breakage during your stay, please let the housekeeper know and if appropriate we reserve the right to invoice you accordingly.
  • Yes, most of our Landmarks are perfect for children, with gardens to play in and secret places to discover. Our furniture is surprisingly robust and we positively encourage families to stay. However, some of our buildings may not be suitable for small children; for example, some of them have steep or uneven spiral staircases. We recommend that you call the Booking Enquiries team if you would like to find out the suitability of any of our Landmarks for young children.
  • Unfortunately, most of our Landmarks are not licensed for weddings. However, you may get married on Lundy.
  • All our larger Landmarks are perfect for gatherings of family or friends. You may invite an additional two guests to visit you during your stay, however they must not stay overnight. This is very important because our fire regulations specifically note the maximum number of people in any one building. In addition our properties are prepared, furnished and equipped for the number of people specified and greater numbers cause damage and excessive wear and tear to vulnerable buildings. Should this condition be ignored we shall make a retrospective charge per person per day (whether or not they stay overnight) for each guest over the permitted limit, the charge being pro-rated on the total cost of your booking.
  • We deliberately do not provide televisions and find that most people appreciate this.
  • One of the challenges of restoring unloved buildings is gaining access to them. We frequently have to negotiate rights with our neighbours and share tracks with them. In many cases tracks do not belong to us and we have no right to maintain them. Wherever possible we work with our neighbours to provide you with a good quality surface, but where this is a problem then you will be warned at the time of booking.
  • Yes, we have standard electricity sockets for UK appliances. If you are coming from outside the UK, you will need to bring your own adaptor plug(s). If you are visiting one of our European properties we have standard European electricity sockets. If you are visiting from the UK, you will need to bring your own adapter plug (s).
  • Landmark’s electrical systems have not been designed to provide continuous power from one socket over several hours.  If an ordinary socket is used to charge an electric vehicle, there is significant risk of an electrical fire and consequent danger to life.  Therefore, we are unable to allow electric vehicle charging from most of our Landmarks at present.

    We are working to provide Type 2 Electric Vehicle charge points at our properties where there is private parking.  Where this is available, please request this facility when booking the property to ensure the outlet is enabled on your arrival.  There is a small charge to cover the cost of electricity provided.  Please book this facility in advance.
  • No, we do not allow smoking in any Landmark.

Directly behind Wordsworth's home, Dove Cottage

Built in 1926 Howthwaite is a good unaltered example of the solid houses put up by those cultivated, well-to-do people who were attracted to the Lake District. The house stands directly behind Wordsworth's home, Dove Cottage, where Wordsworth would sit and compose his poems. In the 1870s the Howthwaite site, then known as 'the Copse', was bought by Manchester Corporation and was touched by one of the great early conservation rows that led, indirectly, to the founding of the National Trust.

Manchester needed a new water supply and in 1878 the Corporation announced their plan to dam up Thirlmere, raising it by several feet and inundating or enclosing a large area of common land. The project, known as the Thirlmere Development, caused an uproar. The Thirlmere Defence Association was formed, but when the Bill for Thirlmere went before the Parliamentary Select Committee the Defence Association proved ineffective and the Committee found in favour of Manchester Corporation.

The reservoir was built and the 'Rock of Names' where William and Dorothy Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge and Sarah and Mary Hutchinson had carved their names when they met for a picnic was dynamited.

'The Rock of Names has lost its guardian right, Where poets tryst they meet no more' wrote Hardwicke Rawnsley, the leading conservationist in the Lake District. To make matters worse the banks of the reservoir were planted with rows of Norwegian spruce. Octavia Hill had been involved in the battle of Thirlmere and its failure was one of the events that led her, Hardwicke Rawnsley and Robert Hunter to found the National Trust in 1895.

The only direct effect all this had upon the Howthwaite site was that it was not built upon for 30 years.

In 1906 the Howthwaite site was sold to the Bishop of Barrow-in-Furness who, with his wife, Mrs Ware, owned Howe Foot, the house on the south side of the road. When Mrs Ware died in 1911, Howe Foot and the Howthwaite site, still known as 'the Copse' were inherited by Mrs Ware's sister, Mrs William Spooner, wife of the Warden of New College, famous for his Spoonerisms. They spent holidays there.

In 1925 Miss Jessie McDougall of the well-known flour milling family, bought the site from Mrs Spooner and the house known today as Howthwaite was built soon afterwards.

Howthwaite has several features typical of the Lake District. The walls have a 'dry' finish, with no pointing visible. The roof is of the local green slates. The lintels over the windows are masked by these slates, too. Originally this was to protect the lintel, which would have been oak, from the weather.

The chimneys are round, a not uncommon feature in the South of Cumbria. The ground floor rooms had a textured plaster finish, as they have now and were painted white, as was the outside woodwork.

The name of the architect, if there was one, is not known. It could well be that it is a house built from a pattern book, with modifications by the builders and Miss McDougall.

The dining-room was the middle room of the three main ground floor rooms - the kitchen was the room next to it on the far side, the drawing room was where it is now. The cook's bedroom was the smallest one, now a bathroom. She was the only live-in servant. Mrs Dawes, the house parlour-maid lived in the village and came in daily.

In the kitchen there was a big cast iron Herald range. It burnt several buckets of coal every day and all the coal had to be carried down the steep path. Mrs Dawes told us that the coalmen were given handsome tips every Christmas to compensate them for their heavy work. During the Second World War the Herald was replaced by an Esse cooker. The cook baked all the bread used in the house.

Miss McDougall was much liked in the neighbourhood. We have no photograph of her but she was tall with wavy white hair. She often had tea parties and would have friends staying for weeks at a time. She loved the garden and spent a lot of time gardening.

In 1948 Miss McDougall died and then in 1949 the house was sold to Mr and Mrs Dixon, the retired headmaster of Feathstonehaugh School, at Haltwhistle in Northumberland. They removed the Esse cooker and put in a smaller stove. In 1963 they sold it to Mr Kenneth Sykes. Mr. Sykes built the garages above the house, turned the kitchen into a dining room and extended what was Miss McDougall's pantry to the north to make a kitchen. He had the exterior woodwork painted blue.

For a short history of Howthwaite please click here.

To read the full history album for Howthwaite please click here.

To download the children's Explorer pack for Howthwaite please click here.


Very little has been altered

The Landmark Trust bought Howthwaite in 1986 during the years when it was supported by the Manifold Trust, in order to protect the views from Dove Cottage. Very little has been altered and most of what has been done can be seen on the ‘existing' plan. The kitchen extension has been removed, two new windows formed, and Miss McDougall's kitchen and pantry have been combined to make a kitchen/dining room. A small bedroom on the first floor has become a bathroom. The oil fired central heating system has been replaced by a gas fired one. The exterior woodwork has returned to white.

Availability & booking

Select a changeover day to start your booking...

What's a changeover day? and Why can't I select other dates?Explain MoreQuestion

A changeover day is a particular day of the week when holidays start and end at our properties. These tend to be on a Friday or a Monday but can sometimes vary. All stays run from one changeover day until another changeover day.