This pretty village gives its name to the smallest of the lakes in the Lake District. Poet William Wordsworth lived here at Rydal Mount until his death in 1850. The large rock known as Wordsworth's Seat was where this most famous of the Lakeland poets sat to take in the beautiful views.

Another famous resident was Thomas Arnold, head of Rugby School. Thomas's son was poet Matthew Arnold, who came to Rydal regularly to visit Wordsworth.

The village is really no more than a cluster of houses, a popular hotel, and a church. Rydal Hall is a largely 19th-century mansion owned by the Diocese of Carlisle and used as a conference and event centre.

In the grounds of the Hall is Rydal Falls, where trails lead through heavy woodland to Rydal Beck and a series of waterfalls. Overlooking the falls is a summerhouse known as 'The Grot', which was popular amongst artists coming to Rydal to sketch the waterfalls. Wordsworth wrote of visiting the Grot in his 1793 poem 'An Evening Walk'.

Apart from all the literary associations, there are also attractive walking trails around Rydal Water itself.