The ‘incarnation of a truly remarkable love story, a love of both landscape and of the heart.’ With a story and a setting like that, how could you resist a visit to this rather special café, right next door to the Heaton Cooper Studio, opposite the village green in Grasmere?

Opened by the same family almost 80 years after William Heaton Cooper founded his studio/gallery in Grasmere, the café takes its name from William’s Norwegian mother, Mathilde Marie Valentinsen. She had met Alfred Heaton Cooper in 1891, the same year that he set up a studio near Sognefjord, the ‘King of the Fjords’. 

There’s more than a nod to Scandinavia in both the design and feel of the space where coffee and cakes are served alongside the likes of free range eggs on sourdough toast (you can add bacon/hot smoked salmon/avocado/Jarlsberg cheese/sausages), soups, tart of the day, Krakauer hot dogs, and smoked mackerel paté on Swedish crisp bread.

Look out of the large window at one end and you’ll see Stone Arthur and the fells above Grasmere. Head through the door in the other direction and you’ll come to the studio itself, with its original paintings, fine art prints, art books, artists’ materials, ceramics and homewares. The archive gallery off the café holds changing exhibitions of paintings and photographs.

Mathilde’s, Heaton Cooper Studio, Grasmere LA22 9SX: 015394 35280, Check website for the changing exhibitions. 

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