Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey, Somerset
Coleridge Cottage is nestled in the Somerset countryside and is as beautiful as it is haunting. This was the home of the Coleridge family between 1697 – 1699. It was where Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote some of his most celebrated poems including ‘Kubla Khan’, ‘Frost at Midnight’ and ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. And it’s a great visit for a day out.
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The history of Coleridge Cottage, Nether Stowey, Somerset
This cottage has so much history in it. You can imagine it as the tiny dwelling it was during Coleridge’s time.
It would have been full of dust, mice and darkness.
Derelict by today’s standards this would be the family’s home during some terrible times. Including the death of their eight month son Berkeley from a reaction to the smallpox vaccination.
Despite this sadness, which you can feel pounding through the walls of this cottage, the downstairs is more welcoming. And you can imagine the front room ringing out with banter and debate between Coleridge and his many friends who would often visit including William Wordsworth.
This is a wonderful place to bring children. Unlike many National Trust properties, this is very much a ‘please touch’ house.
They tell you to rummage through the drawers and pick up his (recreated) letters and even have a go at using a flint to start a fire. Our children loved having a go at writing with a quill.
There are also trails specifically designed for children. But they can also spend their time spotting the many mice (don’t panic, not real ones) that live in the house.
Coleridge Cottage gardens
For me, one of my favorite parts was the garden.
You could imagine picnics from hundreds of years ago amongst the wildflowers and long grass.
The National Trust have set up some lovely benches where you can sit and spend a while. And if you choose they have little audio stories around.
One of our favorites Was a letter from a Bristol printer telling a friend about his time visiting the Coleridges in that garden. These audio stories really bring the past alive even more.
We loved it here, despite its melancholy you can feel a sense of history. It was wonderful imagining the poems that were written in this very spot.
One thing worth mentioning though. As we walked up the creaking staircase to the original two bedrooms we could hear a recording of a baby crying.
However when we were upstairs we didn’t hear the recording again or see where it was coming from.
I’m hoping there was actually a recording of a baby crying…. Let me know if you hear it too.
There is a small shop and lovely little cafe here. Find out more here.
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