Allan Bank is nestled in the heart of the Cumbrian countryside. A home once occupied by Wordsworth himself and now lovingly cared for by the lovely folk at the National Trust, it sits just a short stroll up from Grasmere village centre, in a field surrounded by forest. As you reach the front door, the views of rolling hills above the waters of lake Grasmere are simply breathtaking.
A place of discovery for children and adults alike, Allan Bank is steeped in history. Although tempted, I will refrain from sharing it's unique story with you here... as discovering it for yourself is all part of the fun of your first visit. All that I will say, is that for a place once called a "temple of abomination" it is most certainly not shy of any love now.
The house is in imperfect condition... that is, in the most perfect of ways! It's unfinished interior and paint-chipped doors only add to it's charm. Compared to other stately homes where chaise longs are cordoned off from visitors and large "PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH" signs are placed on exquisitely hand-crafted furniture from centuries gone by, this is a place where you can really make yourself at home. It has a unique sense of familiarity, whilst feeling like a treasure trove all at the same time. There's nothing pretentious or precious about it. Of course a property of this age ought to be respected and the lovely people at the National Trust ensure this is so. However, there are no airs and graces expected of it's visitors nor shown by those who welcome you when you arrive... it is a place where you can truly feel at ease.
Upon stepping foot through the front door, Little M's eyes were aglow with the adventure she knew lay ahead of her. Darting from room to room she explored every nook and cranny, giggling as she saw other children who were doing just the same. It was all so exciting!
The house is an ideal space for families, groups and individuals alike, to come and go as they please. A space to relax as you while away a few hours... just... being... :-)
With a painting room, a reading room, a craft room, a perfect window from which to spy red squirrels and an array of board games (to beat your other half over!) a cafe and a gift stall too– a whole afternoon passed without even realising it.
Little M's favourite room was most definitely the painting room, (oh my! what a view!) although at just under 3ft her little eyes could barely see over the window sil. Still, she would have spent the whole day with paintbrush in hand if she was allowed, repeating "look at the view" as she splattered watercolours onto her canvas! It was such a lovely touch to see frames positioned with pegs for visitors to display their creations, either to dry or for future visitors to enjoy.
We all loved the relaxed dining/picnic room. Bowls of heartwarming leak and potato soup with warm crusty rolls were being served and a sideboard with teas, coffee, hot chocolate and cordials were set out to help yourself to, along with a donation box. There's something so sweet about a place that trusts it's visitors in this way, don't you think? And this really added to the welcoming, homely vibe.
One thing that I especially loved about Allan Bank was the light that poured in through every window. Wow– what a property! I couldn't help but snap away and it was difficult choosing just this selection of images to share as I took so many! However, for fear of telling you too much (in manor of spoiling the end of a really good book) I am stopping myself here...
Trust me when I say– the place really IS an Instagrammer's dream!
Although, our absolute favourite thing about Allan Bank, was having the perfect space in which to spend quality time with our little poppet. From relaxing in complete quiet, to sharing giggles as we watched her play, Allan Bank had it all for a perfect family day out. I couldn't recommend it enough. Next time we go, I'll be taking my watercolours with me!
Do let me know if you decide to visit - would love to hear how other people have spent their day there.
Note: This post is not an ad and is based solely on my own personal and above all honest opinions of our experiences of the place(s) mentioned.