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.

House & Gardens are now open Sunday to Thursday – Gardens, Tearoom & Gift Shop, 10.30 – 5.00.  House Opens for guided tour at 11.15 and free flow from 11.45. Closes 4.00.  The gardens stretch over five acres  – pleae 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

House – 12.30pm – 4pm Wednesdays, Thursdays, Sundays and Bank Holiday Mondays

1 – 15 April, 2 May – 30 September

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 from 1st October.

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

Levens Hall

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 the oak panelling, incorporated elaborate Italian plasterwork, including Elizabeth the First’s coat of arms and stained glass – all of which can be seen today.  The tour of the house is fascinating with all sorts of unusual antiques and a real sense of family legacies.

The historic house became the property of Colonel James Grahme in 1688 after his career at Court in the service of King James II.  He brought with him a young French gardener, Guillaume Beaumont, a pupil of le Notre at Versailles, to plan a fashionable garden at Levens. A grade I listed garden dating from 1694 – through a combination of circumstance and love, the gardens at Levens Hall have survived in their original design.  The topiary is some of the oldest in the world and justifiably famous.  The historic topiary garden also incorporates a small orchard of apple trees and medlars, a nuttery and herb garden, a bowling green, a rose garden, herbaceous borders and seasonal bedding

Levens Hall, Kendal LA8 0PD Tel 015395 60321


Levens Hall & Gardens are open until 11th October 2012.

Open Sunday to Thursday. The Gardens, Gift Shop and Bellingham Buttery will open at 10.00am.  The House will open at 12 noon.  Last entry to the House is at 4pm: the House closes at 4.30pm.   The Gardens close at 5.00pm.  Please call to confirm opening times.

Acorn Bank Garden and Watermill

A National Trust herb and orchard garden encompassed by beautiful woodland walks and a great tea room.  Temple Sowerby CA10 1SP.  Tel 01768 361 893.

Sara Braithwaite, custodian, Acorn Bank: “Cumbria’s green and pleasant Eden Valley is a well kept secret often overlooked by travellers rushing through it on their way to the Lake District. It has a gentle tranquillity with numerous picturesque villages and the stately River Eden meandering through the middle.

“Acorn Bank, or Temple Sowerby manor as it was once called, is built from the local red sandstone and set in the heart of the valley. It is well known for its fascinating herb garden and the annual Apple Day held here in mid October. During April the woods are full of wild daffodils.

“This is a gentle circular walk through farmland on quiet country lanes, with great views of the Pennine and Lake District mountains.”


Hadrians Wall –

This is a journey from the Rowley Estates neighbourhood but we have found it well worth a day out for the history and amazing archaeology.  A great museum, tea room and fun for running around.  In 122 AD, Emperor Hadrian began his massive  project to link the east and west coasts of Britain in order to keep his empire  intact and to control movement of the Barbarians.  Upon completion, Hadrian’s Wall, constructed  of local stone and turf, stretched over 70 miles across the north of England.  Highlights within easy reach of us are

  • Visiting Birdoswald Fort and its extensive collection of Roman finds
  • Immersing in the life of a  Roman soldier at the Roman Army Museum
  • Exploring Vindolanda- a remote  outpost of the Roman empire
  • Hiking along the top of the well preserved section of the wall nearby
  • Discovering Housesteads- the best  preserved of the Roman Wall Forts

Please contact Vindolanda & the Roman Army Museum Tel 01434 344 277 and Haltwhistle Tourist Info Centre 01434 322 002




Levens Hall Gardens, image by Val CorbettLevens Hall Gardens, image from Val CorbettLevens Hall topiary, image by Val CorbettLevens Hall, image by Val CorbettDalemain gardens image by Val CorbettA view of Lowther Castle, image by Val CorbettHutton in the Forest gardens image by Val CorbettHutton in the Forest gardens, image by Val CorbettHutton in the Forest, image by Val Corbett