Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Allen Bank, Grasmere

I would like to recommend the National Trust to you, especially if you have a young family.

I originally became a member of the National Trust because the membership includes parking in the various car parks around the Lake District that are owned by the National Trust.

Previously, my experience of the properties owned by the National Trust were old, dusty buildings with roped off furniture where you were 'allowed' to walk around, as long as you kept quiet and didn't touch anything.

The whole idea of it all really grated me.  I would find myself wandering around quite disgusted at the opulence and planning to overthrow the occupants, perhaps beheading them in the process.

Recently though, it seems that the National Trust has been undergoing a bit of an image change.

I'm sure this has been a necessity as the upkeep of these historic buildings is expensive and the type of people interested in the type of properties described above are getting less and less able to get up the crooked stairs.

So it's great to see some properties being given an alternative treatment.

Allen Bank in Grasmere is one such property.  Yes, there is some history, Wordsworth's house blah blah, Canon Rawnsey blah blah.

I'm glad to say that the National Trust seem to be taking a light touch approach to the historical aspects of the house.

It's there if you want it but it's not stuffy.

"I wandered lonely as a ..."
The Georgian architecture is there to be admired, you can stand at the windows and enjoy the same views as the famous ex-residents.

You can sit in a chair in front of a roaring fire and read or compose poetry.

There is information on the history of the building and the famous occupants.

But there are no roped off areas.  You are encouraged to touch things.
and best of all you can play.

You can write on the walls,

play with toy farms,

doll houses,

giant draughts,


and making stuff.

make your own garden

write a letter to a love

write on a blackboard

run around
play in the dolls house

make an idea for the idea tree

make a bee for the garden

play with magnetic poetry

paint the view

show off your work

draw a portrait of your family

and then there's the outside

follow the big trail

that has lots of steps

and a tunnel

refuel ready for our next adventure


  1. Wow! This is really cool, thanks for sharing!

    And I really agree with making historic buildings more accessible and interactive - it promotes learning and curiosity and makes it relevant again...win-win. Looks like Hannah had a cool time! It's on my list.

    1. Thanks Lisa, you would love it, there's lots of writerly things there too. About to do another post about Wray Castle which should also be on your list.