William Wordsworth was born in Cockermouth, Cumbria, in 1770.

After the death of his mother in 1778 (with his father’s death following a few years later), Wordsworth was sent to school in Hawkshead, a small village in the Lake District, before attending St John’s College, Cambridge.  He went on to travel throughout Europe, visiting revolutionary France in 1791.

He published his first poem in 1787, and in 1793 released his first collection of poems.  In 1795, Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy met Samuel Taylor Coleridge; their friendship would go on to shape the course of Wordsworth’s life as a poet.  Together Wordsworth and Coleridge produced the Lyrical Ballads (1798), a collection of poetry now considered to be one of the most important works of the English Romantic movement.  Wordsworth and Dorothy would then go on to spend the winter of 1798–99 in the small town of Goslar, Germany, before coming to live in Dove Cottage in December 1799.

The stereotypical image of Wordsworth, wandering ‘lonely as a cloud’, uplifted by the daffodils along the shores of Ullswater, or as the elderly Victorian sage of the iconic portraits, is only one side of the famous poet. At Dove Cottage, visitors can discover the story of the young radical who celebrated the French Revolution and travelled around Europe; the poet engaged in politics and society, who believed that love of nature led to love of mankind; the compassionate family man writing about the deepest of human emotions, exploring the importance of self-awareness and focused attention – in other words, mindfulness.

Wordsworth was a man ahead of his time, whose perspective on life is still hugely relevant today, nearly 250 years after his birth.

Come forth into the light of things, Let Nature be your teacher.
- William Wordsworth, The Tables Turned