Welcome to John Clare Cottage

Tucked away between Stamford and Peterborough lies the village of Helpston, the home of John Clare (1793-1864). Widely regarded as one of the greatest of the English poets, John Clare lived in the village for his first forty years from 1793 until 1832.

The John Clare Trust purchased John Clare Cottage in 2005, preserving it for future generations. The Cottage has been restored, using traditional building methods, to create a centre where people can learn about John Clare, his works, how rural people lived in the early 19th century and also gain an understanding of the environment.

The Cottage contains examples of his work together with information about his life. Some of the rooms have been returned to the style that would have been found in cottages in the early 19th century in rural England. The gardens have been redesigned and planted with varieties which would have been seen in Clare’s time.

The Cottage shop is the perfect place to buy a memento of your visit - we specialise in John Clare books and local art and craft items. Why not relax in our lovely cafe and try one of our homemade soups, daily specials, or one of our selection of Clare's cakes. 

All cakes and light bites on our menu are made on the premises.

Variations in Visiting Arrangements

John Clare Cottage is used for many events and educational visits, you are advised to check when planning your visit to the Cottage to ensure that it is open to the public and there are no large groups which would detract from your visit. Details of advanced bookings can be found here >>>> 

Special Notice for Visitors

The John Clare Trust now owns the Exeter Arms public house in Church Lane, behind the Church. You are advised to park here rather than in Woodgate. This is a five minute walk away from the Cottage.



Book Launch

You are invited to come to the John Clare Cottage on Tuesday Spetember 19th to celebrate the launch of the book Peterborough Folklore with the author Francis Young. Details

Acoustic Cafe

The next Acoustive Cafe will be on Thursday September 28th. The August event has been cancelled due to other commitments.   - full details


Art in the Cottage

We have an exhibition of oil paintings by Sally Hammerton in the Cafe, open during Cottage hours


Dovecote Exhibition
John Clare's Flowers. 
An exhibition of photographs inspired by the flowers in Clare's works and also flowers to be found in the Clare Cottage Gardens.
The pictures have been taken by Tracy Louise Photography and David Dykes.
Please Support the Trust

The John Clare Trust is an independent charity . Please support us to help maintain the facilities and develop educational programs.


From  The Invitation

Let us go in the fields love and see the green tree
Let's go in the meadows and hear the wild bee
There's plenty of pleasure for you love and me
In the mirth and the music of nature
We can stand in the path love and hear the birds sing
And see the woodpigeon snap loud on the wing
While you stand beside me a beautiful thing
Health and beauty in every feature.
We can stand by the brig-foot and see the bright things
On the sun shining water, that merrily springs
Like sparkles of fire in their mazes and rings
While the insects are glancing and twitters
You see naught in shape but hear a deep song
That lasts through the sunshine the whole summer long
That pierces the ear as the heat gathers strong
And the lake like a burning fire glitters.