It’s always nice to play tourist on your doorstep, well I think it is. Mirehouse is a 17th-century house to the north of Keswick in Cumbria, at the foot of Dodd, near Bassenthwaite Lake and St Bega’s Church, on the A591 road. The house has limited visiting times, it is open for visitors from 1:30pm to 4:30pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Wednesdays.

Mirehouse was built in 1666 by Charles Stanley, 8th Earl of Derby, who sold it in 1688 to his agent, Roger Greg. The Greg family and then the Storys owned the estate until 1802 when it was given by Thomas Story to John Spedding. The Spedding family have owned Mirehouse ever since. The present Mrs Spedding was in the entrance greeting guests.

The Speddings have enlarged the house several times, with the last major changes occurring in the 1960s, when extensive renovation work was carried out, and in the 1980s, when the ground floor and grounds were opened to the public. The grounds now include a Bee Garden, a wild flower meadow, a “poetry walk” and adventure playgrounds.

The Spedding family had strong links to a number of poets, including William Wordsworth, Lord Alfred Tennyson and many others who stayed at Mirehouse.

The walk to visit the house takes you through the woods with a must diversion to the Bee garden. The garden was completely wrecked by the storms and floods in December 2015. Lots of work has taken place to revive them. It is a very tranquil place with views over to nearby hills Barf and lords seat.

With your entry ticket (£7.80) you get a map with incorporates points of interest to visit. There are 2 play areas for different ages. I know I was a bit over 12 years old but couldn’t resist getting on the horse.

The house is very grand but very welcoming.

The house is beautiful, the guide who explains the house is fantastic. You can imagine Wordsworth and chums living it up in the drawing room.

From the house the walk continues towards the lake and the Tennyson pier.
There’s a strong connection to Alfred Tennyson, who visited several times and composed much of his Morte D’Arthur here, the sections featuring the sword Excalibur and the lady of the lake being directly inspired by the shores of Bassenthwaite. There is a stone monument down by the lakeshore to these aspects of the poem.

The walk continues along the lake before heading back up towards the house.

The walk is about 1.5 miles. So glad I finally visited this lovely house. An undiscovered gem in my adopted home county.

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