Poet in Residence
Dove Cottage was built in the early 17th century, beside the main road from Ambleside to the south to Keswick to the north. It was probably purpose-built as a public house, and it is first recorded as the "Dove and Olive", an inn included in a list of public houses in Westmoreland in 1617. It remained a public house until 1793.
The building is constructed from local stone, with limewashed walls and a slate roof. There are four rooms downstairs, and another four upstairs.
It is best known as the home of the poet William Wordsworth, who moved in along with his sister Dorothy in December 1799. During his eight years in residence, William wrote much of the poetry for which he is remembered today, including his "Ode: Intimations of Immortality", "Ode to Duty", "My Heart Leaps Up" and "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud", together with parts of his autobiographical epic, The Prelude.
William married his wife Mary in 1802, and she and her sister joined the Wordsworths at Dove Cottage. The family quickly expanded, with the arrival of three children in four years, and the Wordsworths left Dove Cottage in 1808 to seek larger lodgings.
The cottage was acquired by the Wordsworth Trust in 1890 and opened to the public in 1891. The house is a Grade 1 listed building, and remains largely unchanged from Wordsworth's day.