Local Attractions in the Lake District & Eden Valley
Dalemain House, Gardens and Estate & Tea Room
This fantastic Lake District historic house and gardens contains behind its Georgian facade a wealth of Tudor and Mediaeval rooms and buildings. There has been a settlement at Dalemain since Saxon times, when a fortified pele tower is mentioned and the present day courtyard is testimony to the defensive nature of the hamlet surrounding that tower.
The Old Hall was added in the 14th century, along with another tower. In the 16th century, two projecting wings were added creating a typical Elizabethan manor house and in 1744, the impressive Georgian front was constructed to enclose an inner courtyard. Very little change has been made to the buildings since these times, and Dalemain remains a very special Lake District Historic House and gardens which has been home to the same family since 1679.
The gardens stretch over five acres – please be sure not to miss the Silver Fir (Abies cephalonica) which is now the biggest of its type in the British Isles. Then stroll in the Tudor knot garden, continue along the Rose Walk with over 150 old fashioned roses, at their very best in June/July when the heavenly scent is intoxicating. The ancient apple trees in this area of the garden are named 18th/19th century varieties with nearly 30 different kinds. The fruit from these trees is used in the tearoom in several of the delicious recipes available throughout the year.
Dalemain hosts a variety of fairs and activities throughout the year & one of the more unusual of these is the World’s Original Marmalade Awards & Festival held in February.
The Dalemain Estate, Near Penrith CA11 OHB. Tel: 017684 86450, http://www.dalemain.com
Hutton in the Forest –
House and gardens open for walks, teas etc. As well as a rich variety of architecture, furnishings and a beautiful garden, there are varied outdoor events during the summer, including the Plant and Food Fair, open air Shakespeare, Potfest in the Park and Horse Trials. Tel 01768 484 449. Hutton in the Forest, Near Penrith CA11 9TH. http://www.hutton-in-the-forest.co.uk
Cloisters Tea Room
Delicious home made light lunches, sandwiches and teas from 11am – 4.30pm when the House is open
The Gardens, Grounds and Woodland Walk
11am – 5pm daily except Saturdays, 1 April – 31 October, Dogs permitted on leads
Lowther Castle, Gardens and Lakeland Bird of Prey Centre
The gardens at Lowther are really unique, ruined gardens lie in the grounds of a ruined castle in an idyllic pastoral landscape unchanged for hundreds of years. The gardens story begins in the 1690’s when Sir John Lowther laid out massive elaborate gardens in the French baroque style which was fashionable at the time, Sir John’s garden was full of fruit and vegetables, Sir John was one of a very rare breed at the time – he was a vegetarian.
Fortunes and fashions changed over the next 200 years but the gardens remained largely unchanged until the Fifth Earl took over the castle and gardens in the 1882 he set about a major reworking of the gardens with the help of renowned garden designer Thomas Mawson. First the Rose garden was planted then came a massive new rock garden, Japanese garden, Alpine garden and Iris garden to name just a few.
After the Fifth Earl the castle and gardens were abandoned, during the Second World War much of the 9 acres of lawns to the south were concreted over to accommodate a tank regiment, later plantations of conifers were planted in regimented rows through the historic gardens, and a chicken farm placed on the concreted over lawns. 70 years passed with the gardens forgotten beneath layers of neglect and damage until the summer of 2011 when work began to reclaim the magnificent lost gardens.
Grounds under restoration now open daily 10:00 – 5:00 pm, gardens and Courtyard Café open 10 – 3:30 pm.
Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust, Lowther Castle, Near Penrith CA10 2HH
Tel 01931 712 192 (gardens) 01931 712746 (Bird of Prey Centre). http://www.lowthercastle.org
A bit farther afield, but definitely worth the journey, is Levens Hall. The first dwelling at Levens was a medieval pele tower, built by the de Redman family of Yealand Redmayne. The Bellingham family, who were wealthy landowners, chose Levens as their main residence in the 1590s and incorporated the fortified tower into a gentleman’s residence. They employed local craftsmen to carve