D&T, History and Food Tech at Grasmere Gingerbread

Date Posted: 04/01/2017

School travel organiser reveals why a school visit to the Lake District’s teeny tiny village of Grasmere is not to be missed – namely because of the mysterious shop that makes gingerbread from a top secret recipe.

Your students might need to think again if a gingerbread cottage is something they only associate with fairytales.

Grasmere Gingerbread, housed in a quaint cottage in the Lake District, is an old-fashioned gingerbread shop. It might not really be made from gingerbread, but the scent of gently baking gingerbread and a chimney pot curling out wisps of smoke give Grasmere a fairytale-like quality that your students are bound to be enchanted by.  

Plus, the educational opportunities that are available at this little Cumbrian attraction will make a school visit more than worthwhile.

Victorian cook Sarah Nelson invented Grasmere Gingerbread in 1854. And as it happens, she was also an early educationalist who used giant gingerbread letters to teach the alphabet to local children.

While your students won’t be learning from quite the same teaching techniques, there’s plenty for them to learn about in both the gingerbread shop and in the surrounding village of Grasmere.

Step into the gingerbread cottage…

A trip to Grasmere Gingerbread is most suited to Key Stage 1 and 2 pupils. The shop is quite small so large groups might have to split into smaller groups to take turns looking inside and hearing about the making of the gingerbread, the history of the shop, and the role it plays in Grasmere.

Food Technology, Design & Technology, Local and Social History are all touched upon during a visit, and worksheets are available to download and print on the shop’s website prior to arrival.

Grasmere Gingerbread

Pictured: The exterior of Grasmere Gingerbread, Cumbria.

Key Stage 1 worksheets challenge students with tasks like remembering items from inside the shop and then writing them down from memory, and naming the special paper that the gingerbread is wrapped in.

The Key Stage 2 worksheet, meanwhile, delves further into the Local History of Sarah Nelson’s shop, and poses questions such as ‘where is the secret recipe for Grasmere Gingerbread kept?’ and ‘how long has Grasmere Gingerbread been baked and sold at the shop?’

Students will also learn about the shop’s provenance that stretches back over three centuries, and life in the Victorian era in Grasmere.

A Design & Technology project

Key Stage 2 Design & Technology students can take advantage of an additional worksheet that is available to use following a visit to the shop.

The worksheet can be used as a basis for a Design & Technology project on return to the classroom that enables children to investigate and explore product and package design, based on their experience in Grasmere Gingerbread.

Package durability, the aesthetics of design and drawing package ideas from different angles are all included in this project.

Further information

Educational groups can book special visits to Grasmere Gingerbread that include a 15-minute History talk and a question and answer session with a member of staff dressed in Victorian period costume.

Refreshments (squash for students, and tea/coffee for leaders), a piece of Grasmere Gingerbread and a branded Cumberland pencil are also included on a visit.

To top off a school trip to Grasmere, head to the neighbouring St Oswald’s Churchyard. Both Sarah Nelson and the Romantic poet William Wordsworth are buried here, and teachers can lead a self-guided visit that covers Literature, History, Geography or Art.

School travel organisers can find out more about a visit to Grasmere Gingerbread by calling the education adviser on 01539-435428.

For further information visit www.grasmeregingerbread.co.uk.

School Travel Organiser's Guide