Cumbria Tradition Gingerbread Shop

Grasmere Gingerbread shop by Tony RichardsSarah Nelsons, the tiny gingerbread shop in the town of Grasmere, is a favourite stop with tourists and locals alike. It's been that way since 1854. The ginger flavoured treat is more shortbread than cake and is made from a secret recipe (locked in the National Westminster Bank in Ambleside) devised by Sarah Nelson. Sarah was a cook for Lady Farquhar, who lived at Dale Lodge in Grasmere.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop interior by Graeme DougalThe Gingerbread Shop, constructed in 1660 and known as Gate Cottage, served as a school until 1850 when a new school was built. The Nelsons moved into the former school, and Sarah began making her gingerbread for sale. It soon became popular with Victorian tourists visiting Grasmere.

Grasmere Gingerbread shop display by Graeme DougalThe gingerbread was used locally as a teaching aid. Letters were cut out of the mixture, baked, covered with a thin layer of horn for protection, and presented to the children to help them learn their alphabet. Its still cut into fanciful shapes for the delight of children and adults alike.

Sarah Nelsons Original Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is located by St Oswalds church in Grasmere.Grasmere Gingerbread shop by Graeme Dougal
Tel: 015394 35428
Open, Mon-Sat, 9.15am-5.30pm, Sun, 12.30-5.30pm, year round except Good Friday and Christmas; shorter hours in winter.
Email: for mail orders.

Note: Please check opening times and dates before visiting in case of changes.

Photos courtesy of Graeme Dougal and Tony Richards

© 1997 The Cumbria Directory. Reproduction of this work in whole or in part, including images, and reproduction in electronic media, without documented permission from The Cumbria Directory is prohibited.

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