- Great Britains Heritage Guide



Mirehouse Summary

  • Address: Keswick, CA12 4QE (Map)
  • Tel: +44 (0)1768 772287
  • Fax: +44 (0)1768 772287
  • Owner: Mr James Fryer-Spedding
  • Administrator: Janaki Spedding
  • E-mail: Click here to contact

Mirehouse Description

Mirehouse has strong links with poets Tennyson, Wordsworth and Southey; it is a living family home, which has been sold only once, in 1688; it has the largest woodland adventure playgrounds in the area and in 1999 it won the award as 'Best Heritage Property for Families in the UK'.

Simon Jenkins in 'The Times' wrote 'Mirehouse is the Lake District with its hand on its heart', Melvyn Bragg described it as 'Manor from Heaven' and Hunter Davies said 'Not to be missed'. Typical of comments from other visitors are the following: 'Far more memorable than much grander houses', 'Could listen to the pianist all day', 'See Grandma! I told you it was brilliant', 'Excellent value', 'Magic!Natural playgrounds', 'When can we move in?', 'Warm, human and alive'.

The Earl of Derby built the present house in 1666. It has only been sold once, when he parted with it in 1688 to Roger Gregg. Since then it has passed by inheritance. It has been altered by succeeding generations for their own convenience. Until the middle of the last century it was lived in by one large household. Now the house and surrounding buildings have been adapted for several households so Mirehouse remains home to a substantial number of people.

The present owner's father came here in 1961 and found the house in a poor condition. Since then many repairs have been made to both contents and structure including tackling two severe outbreaks of dry rot. In 1981 the decision was made to open the ground floor of the house to the public.

Besides an interesting collection of furniture and portraits there is a very unusual display of manuscripts. These include James Spedding's collection of Francis Bacon's works as well as letters from Wordsworth, Tennyson, Southey, Thomas Carlyle and John Constable: all friends of the family.

Visitors often say 'We could live here.' The live piano music contributes to the relaxed atmosphere, and children are actively welcomed. There are things for them to find and do and many of them return again and again. Members of the family are usually there to welcome and help look after visitors.

Opening Times - 2012


  • 1st April - 31st July: Wednesday & Sunday, 2 - 5 pm
  • 1st - 31st August: Wednesday, Friday & Sunday, 2 - 5 pm
  • 1st September - 31st October: Wednesday & Sunday, 2 - 5 pm

Last entry at 4.30 pm

Gardens / Playgrounds / Lakeside Walk & Tearoom:

  • 1st April - 31st October: Daily, 10 am - 5 pm

Admission Prices - 2012

House & Grounds:

  • Adult - £7.00
  • Child - £3.00
  • Family (2+4) - £18.00

Grounds only:

  • Adult - £3.50
  • Child - £1.50

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Additional Info for Mirehouse

  • YesParks
  • YesGardens
  • YesGroups
  • YesPlaygrounds
  • YesDogs allowed
  • YesDisabled Access
  • YesEducation
  • YesRefreshments
  • YesPicnics
  • YesGuides
  • YesLive Entertainment
  • YesCar Parking

Heritage Groups

  • YesHistoric Houses Association

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