Grasmere is a village located in the middle of the Lake District, Cumbria, UK. Driving from Kendal (just off junction 36 of the M6 motorway) to Keswick, in the north of the region, will take you past the village. It's famous for being the home of William Wordsworth - and he's buried in the church, St Oswald's, in the centre of the village. Dove Cottage, where he lived, is open to the public and very well signposted.
The village is really very small containing just a handful of shops but it is utterly charming. As you enter the village, there's a car park on the left - just next door to a very pleasant garden centre and a tourist information centre. It's not worth taking your car into the village itself - it can be walked round very quickly. Heading into town takes you past St Oswald's - constructed in the thirteenth century - which appears on postcards of the area, and rightly so because it's splendid. The clocktower in particular is very beautiful. The road through the village is circular - you don't have to double back on yourself; just follow it round. There are art galleries, bookshops and gift shops, and a National Trust shop too. There are fine places to eat and drink, (and to stay too...) My favourite is a place overlooking the river that runs through the village. It has a gallery affair which juts out over the water where you can sit and eat - it's really rather impressive. It's open air, too, but set back off the road, so you can still be a part of the ambience of the village, but it's quieter and more sedate (which isn't to say that Grasmere ever gets really bustly in any case). When I was about seven, the place was just a cafe (it's more of a restaurant now) - and everything (in my memory, at least) was made out of wrought iron painted green. I loved the place, always referring to it as the 'tables and chairs'.
I visit Grasmere often... I was there in the autumn which is probably the best time to see it, as there are few tourists, and the trees aren't all just solidly green. The best part of the village, though, and the reasons why I like it so much is the smell. The entire place smells of gingerbread.
Just by the church, before you head up onto the circular road, and hidden behind a gate, is a shop which makes and sells 'Grasmere Gingerbread'. It sells it in packs of varying sizes, tins and cartons - and all over the world apparently. It's not surprising either: it's like nothing you've ever tasted. It is, for a start, really very gingery indeed. It's also very tough - it's like a biscuit (or a cookie, if you're in the US), coated with sugar and bits of ginger. You do need to be rather courageous when you stick your teeth through it the first time. It's incredibly moreish, too. One piece is not enough. And the smell of the stuff is stunning, and everywhere in the village. It's not the only place to have its own gingerbread (Ashburton, for example, in Derbyshire, has its own), but it is, in my experience - and I do love the stuff - the best I've tasted.
Just a little way from the village is the lake itself, which is particularly tranquil, and unspoilt, and you can hire rowing boats there. The island in the middle of the lake is now owned by the National Trust, but William and Dorothy Wordsworth used to have picnics there.
Kendal is just to the south of Grasmere, and just outside the Lake District. Despite being really very busy indeed, pretty much all the time, it is very cultured and friendly, with great places to eat, and some very nice shops. Keswick is to the north of Grasmere - and is a much bleaker, sparser place: it's just as friendly and welcoming, but has a very different type of beauty about it. Castlerigg circle is just to the east of Keswick.