One of the most wonderful aspects of travel is the opportunity to experience the variety of people and places we encounter along our journeys. For me, that absolutely includes the accommodations we stay in. Rustic, contemporary, historic, or eclectic, each offers something unique and exciting.
I fell in love with the village of Grasmere from the moment I visited. It’s easy to see why William Wordsworth called it “the loveliest spot that man hath ever found.”
From hiking Helm Crag to visiting Wordsworth’s grave and Dove Cottage (the place he and his sister, Dorothy, called home for 14 years), as well the village’s iconic gingerbread shop, there’s so much to see and do in this picturesque locale.
In fact, what to do is always less of a debate than where to stay. If you’re looking for somewhere casual within easy walking distance to the heart of the village, however, we discovered a gem of an option in the Victorian House Hotel.
Victorian House is right off of the main road into Grasmere from the north, Broadgate. Not far of the the A591. It’s close to the touristic centre which is just a couple of minutes walk away. This makes the location itself quiet but extremely accessible.
The Wordsworth Museum and Dove cottage are just a 15 minute walk from the hotel, and there are plenty of shops, pubs, and restaurants between the two.
There’s bus service just outside the hotel, as well as a Co-Op which means you can either forgo your car altogether or leave it at the hotel once you’ve arrived.
The Main House
Victorian House dates back to 1872, and has been outfitted to showcase its diverse side with communal spaces that are as different as the building’s many different types of rooms, but more on those later.
From the moment you enter the property you get a sense of community and gathering. From the large parlour that greets you when you enter the property to the sitting room between it and the Garden Room where you can enjoy a drink or small meal, along with the glass paned conservatory.
All of these spaces are purposely and decoratively designed with plenty of space for people to meet and mingle.
The building feels like it’s meant to be lived in, especially for those who love a good wander. It’s laid back and full of guide books, maps, and plenty of space to sprawl out and daydream.
When we arrived there were a number of families travelling together, some with young children, sat around a table playing games, while others enjoyed a glass of wine and planned their travel itinerary for the next day.
You’ll find a combination of Victorian and modern art on the walls, well worn rugs on the floors, and wooden cabinets full of interesting tchotchkes throughout the common spaces.
The oak tables and chairs (which you’ll find in all varieties in the dining area), velvet Chesterfield sofas and more all feel a bit random, but trust me when I tell you that it works.
It’s this eclectic vibe that beckons you to rest your travel weary bones, and those of your most loyal companions including those of a 4-legged variety. Dogs too, you see, are welcome at Victorian House.
Out back you’ll find a lovely little garden outfitted with tables and chairs and a view that overlooks the River Rothay.
Victorian House offers 20 rooms, of all types and sizes.
Two Room Suites are perfect for families or larger groups of up to 6 looking for a bit more space. Family Suites really show Victorian House’s commitment to accommodating those with children and are perfect for up to 4 guests.
Comfortable Rooms are perfect for 2. Stargazer Rooms offer an extra special something with amazing views onto the fells, along with telescopes and star maps.
And, finally, Dog Friendly Rooms offer direct outdoor access, hard floors, and access to a special outdoor, warm water tap, perfect for rinsing off muddy paws.
The rooms are decorated in the same assorted fashion as the main part of the hotel. All make the most of natural daylight and the room’s architectural quirks.
Complimentary wifi, tea and coffee, toiletries, and breakfast are all included in your stay. Which leads us to the food.
The eager staff at Victoria House, and they are helpful in every manner, are proud to source local produce and artisanal products from the Lake District. In fact, everything served at the hotel is as local as possible.
The hotel serves ‘Light Bites’ every evening from 5:00pm – 9:00pm each day. This includes a complimentary soup of the day, free to all guests, accompanied by sour dough bread or toast with butter.
‘Sharing Boards’ are also available to guests for a reasonable fee. They’re quite hearty and delicious after a day of exploring.
Rosemary and Sea Salt Focaccia, served with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and accompanied by marinated olives is just £4.50.
A lovely charcuterie board chock full of locally sourced Cumbrian chorizo and salami, prosciutto ham, sun dried tomatoes, and pickled cornichons is also on offer for £13.50.
Or you can get a delightful cheese board featuring a creamy brie, Applby smoked cheddar, blue stilton, and Wensleydale served with red grapes and a variety of delicious crackers with butter for just £12.50.
You can also add extra focaccia to any of your sharing boards for a small fee of £2.50.
We enjoyed these sharing boards immensely and found the convenience of not having to go back out after a long day’s journey quite nice.
Of course, Grasmere is full of dining options, and the helpful staff are more than happy to assist you in choosing a place. But for those who just want to kick off their boots and relax, this is a fantastic option.
A wine, cocktail, and mocktail menu are also available at the Garden Room’s cosy bar for those who enjoy a tipple.
As I mentioned earlier, breakfast is included in your booking at Victorian House. Served between 8:00am and 10:00am, the hotel offers lighter fare to start, including yoghurt, cereals, and croissants.
For mains, there’s a nice offering of everything from Eggs Benedict to a pancake stack, a bap of your choosing, or a Full Cumberland or Vegetarian Grill.
Whatever you choose, you’ll be cheerfully greeted by a staff member upon sitting down in the Garden Room, where you’ll be presented with an orange juice, coffee or tea, and a smile to start your day.
Victorian House Hotel is a unique, family friendly option for travellers looking for accommodations in the heart of the Lake District.
With a vibe that’s shabby chic and somewhere between a traditional hotel and a bed and breakfast, it’s set in a prime location and designed to make everyone feel at home.