Coleridge Cottage, near Bridgwater

Coleridge Cottage, near Bridgwater

Built in the 17th century, this simple country cottage became the home of Samuel Taylor Coleridge for three years and the setting from some of his most famous poems such as ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ and ‘Kubla Khan’. Today, it’s a carefully reconstructed memorial to one of England’s finest poets and makes for a fascinating visit.

Coleridge moved to Nether Stowey in Somerset with his wife and young son in 1796 into the ‘hovel’ that became his home for three years. His wish was to walk, write and be inspired by nature during his time there, and it proved to be the most important time of his life – not only did he write prolifically and wrote his most famous poems, he also met William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, with whom he wrote ‘Lyrical Ballards’, considered to mark the beginning of the Romantic literary period.

However, it didn’t turn out to be the pastoral idyll he hoped for; locals were suspicious of his odd ways such as taking long walks by himself (walking wasn’t considered something you did for pleasure back then), his revolutionary thinking and for speaking out against slavery. Many believed him to be a spy for the French, finding ways for them to invade from the Bristol Channel.

His family also suffered as a result of their life in the cottage. Sarah, his wife who came from a relatively well-to-do family, was viewed as an outcast by the villagers so had to manage the care of the house and her child by herself whilst her husband roamed the countryside and visited friends such as Wordsworth and his sister.

Today, the house has been carefully preserved and rooms have been set up as it would have been at the time Coleridge lived there. You can see the same fire as described in his poem ‘Frost at Midnight’ and sit in the same spot Coleridge wrote about in ‘This Lime-Tree Bower my Prison’ – a place he sat often after being accidently burnt by Sarah with a pan of boiling milk. It’s easy to soak up the incredible atmosphere and see not only how it inspired the young poet but also how hard it must have been for his put-upon wife Sarah and their child.

As well as the house there’s a lovely garden to explore, plus if you’re a little peckish you can stop for refreshment in the little tearoom and maybe buy a book or two in the shop (both open March to the end of October).

Parking can be found at the nearby Ancient Mariner pub (not National Trust), and dogs are allowed in the garden on a lead.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in Somerset here.

25 Lime Street, Nether Stowey, Bridgwater, Somerset TA5 1NQ | 01278 732 662 |

@ images copyright National Trust John Miller and Chris Lacy
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