Cockermouth’s Wordsworth House and Garden is the Cumbria Tourism Small Visitor Attraction of the Year – 80 years to the month after it opened to the public, following a dramatic rescue by local people.
Poet William’s childhood home was presented to the National Trust and opened in June 1939 after a local campaign to prevent it being knocked down and turned into a bus station gained worldwide support.
The Cumbria Tourism awards judges said: ‘Wordsworth House creates a real sense of time and place, in a relaxed atmosphere which feels like visiting an old friend. The staff are wonderful ambassadors for the attraction, delivering excellent levels of customer care with passion and commitment.’
Wordsworth House visitor experience manager Zoe Gilbert said: ‘We’re absolutely thrilled to have won this prestigious award in our anniversary month. It’s a wonderful acknowledgement not only of the brilliant work being done by today’s staff and volunteer team, but also of the people who came together to save the house from demolition back in the 1930s.
‘We’re celebrating our anniversary year with two major exhibitions taking very different perspectives on our fragile and ever-changing relationship with the world around us.
‘We chose this subject not just because it’s topical now, but because it was something that mattered a great deal to William, who was one of the founding fathers of the global conservation movement.
‘We also have a series of talks and special events, and a new display telling the story of this unique family home in the 20th century.’
The first exhibition of the year, ‘This Land is Our Land’, explores nature’s power to shape people and the impact that humanity, in turn, has on the environment.
Contributors include writers Robert Macfarlane, Sarah Hall and Hunter Davies, artist Julian Cooper and others living and working in the Lakes. Open daily except Friday until 8 September, admission is free with entry to the house and garden.