Cumbria’s many castles and stately homes
While the Lake District is often known for its breathtaking scenery and abundance of exhilarating outdoor activities, sometimes there’s nothing better than a leisurely stroll around a fabulous castle or stately home and its beautiful grounds and gardens.
With this in mind, here’s our pick of Cumbria’s finest castles and stately homes.
Lowther Castle and Gardens
Built at the turn of the 19th century, Lowther Castle was once one of the grandest buildings in the north. However, in 1957 the majority of the castle was demolished and the gardens became overgrown. Today, the dramatic ruins, fabulous gardens, exhibition, and children’s playground make Lowther Castle one of the most loved visitor attractions in the Lake District.
As well as a fabulous café serving delicious homemade food, Lowther Castle is also home to a delightful woodland food hut in the heart of nearby woods – the perfect place to enjoy a coffee and cake after exploring the grounds.
Hutton-in-the-Forest is a historic Cumbrian house which dates back to the 13th century. The house is open to the public and showcases period interiors and furniture as well as fascinating architecture. There are also several elaborate gardens featuring ornate ponds, topiary, and wildflower meadows, and a wonderful walk which stretches through the nearby ancient woodland.
This remarkable stately home will play host to several exciting events this summer including the Plant and Food Fair, open air Shakespeare, Potfest in the Park (the International Ceramics Festival), and many more.
A haunted castle, beautiful gardens, and a hawk and owl centre – you could say that Muncaster Castle has everything for the perfect family day out. The castle has a fascinating history, and while it is still a lived-in family home, you are free to roam many of the castle’s rooms and its grounds. There’s even a handy 40-minute audio tour which is narrated by members of the family.
The castle is also the setting for a whole host of events taking place throughout the summer including Shakespeare on the Lawn, afternoon teas, and the ever popular Picnic Cinema.
When you visit Levens Hall, you can step back in time and see how the property has evolved from a fortress to a fabulous family home. Steeped in Elizabethan charm, this beautiful stately home features ornate Italian plaster ceilings, fascinating paintings and artefacts, and 12 acres of immaculately kept grounds and gardens.
The amazing Topiary Gardens are the oldest and finest in the world, and you’ll find over 100 pieces clipped in unusual designs. You can also sample homemade cakes, teas, and light lunches in The Bellingham Buttery, or pick up locally sourced products, books, and artwork in the charming Potting Shed Shop.
Dalemain House and Gardens
Often regarded as one of the most beautiful stately homes in the north west of England, Dalemain showcases four centuries of architecture. Although the house is still a residence of the Hasell-McCosh family, since 1977 the public have been able to enjoy the vast collections of furniture, family portraits, ceramics, dolls houses, and old toys.
Dalemain House is surrounded by five beautiful acres of gardens and parkland. The gardens are undoubtedly at their most beautiful in summer and one of the highlights is Dalemain’s famous Blue Poppy display in the Low Garden. There is also a wonderful Medieval Tearoom serving freshly prepared local dishes, and a gift shop offering antiques and plants.
Holker Hall and Gardens
Holker Hall is a magnificent property surrounded by beautiful countryside. The property, and its ornate interiors, retain all the history and charm of years gone by, while the 23 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens are rich in character and have won numerous awards including BBC Countryfile Garden of the Year 2016.
From guided tours of the gardens to food festivals and outdoor theatre, there’s plenty of events to get stuck into this summer. Plus, every afternoon throughout July and August, you’ll find a ‘Pop-up Pub and Pizza in The Courtyard’ which promises good food, great ales, and plenty of family fun.
For more information about attractions in the Lake District, please get in touch with our team at Whitbarrow who will be happy to help.