10 great gardens to visit in the Lake District
PUBLISHED: 01:16 22 April 2011 | UPDATED: 14:26 30 April 2016
When you visit the Lakes, don't forget that it has some of Britain's finest gardens. Linda Viney reveals some of her favourites
Many people visit this beautiful part of the world for the mountains, the fells and lakes - either for strenuous climbs or gentle strolls stopping at cafes for delicious local food. However, less well known is the abundance of magnificent gardens to visit. Many surround historic houses while others are the smaller private gardens that open for charities such as the Yellow Book produced by the National Garden Scheme (NGS).
Holehird is a demonstration garden managed by the Lakeland Horticultural Society, covering some five acres it boasts some of the finest views of Windermere. With a diversity of plants suited to the area heathers, alpines - including an Alpine House - as well as holding the National Collections of astilbes, polystichum ferns and hydrangeas. Well worth a visit and you may even be tempted to become a volunteer!
Surrounded by a deer park, the gardens at Dalmain have many rare and interesting plants as well as a fine collection of fragrant old fashioned roses. The parterre is a tranquil area with a fountain in the centre adding to the ambiance.
Hutton in the Forest is surrounded by a medieval forest and truly wonderful herbaceous borders overflowing on to the paths leading through.
The gardens at Levens Hall were laid out in 1694 and house the world famous topiary which give a stunning visual impact. Keeping the shapes for all the centuries is a feat in itself and managed by head gardener Chris Crowder. There is a small orchard of apples and medlars as well as a nuttery and herb garden. The Fountain Garden bordered with pleached limes was added in 1994 to celebrate the garden’s 300th Anniversary.
Slightly lesser known are the gardens at Mirehouse overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake. They may not be as dramatic as those of some of the large stately homes but none the less well worth a visit. A relaxing ramble round the varied sheltered gardens is a joy.
If visiting Carlisle don’t forget there are gardens at Tullie House which have had an historical make-over including a variety of herbs used for teaching Roman cookery and medicines.
Spring and early summer heralds a riot of colour to the 77 acre gardens at Muncaster Castle for this is when the rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are at their best, though it has to be said there is something in bloom 365 days a year.
The Terrace walk offers spectacular views over the Eskdale Valley and surrounding fells. Less dramatic is Stagshaw Garden which was created by the late Cubby Ackland who was regional agent for the National Trust. Set on a steep hillside with splendid views over Windermere. Again rhododendrons and azaleas add colour to the green peacefulness of the woodland.
Dora’s Field at Rydal Mount is home to the daffodils planted by Wordsworth in memory of his daughter who died in 1847. Moving on to Rydal Hall the formal garden, designed by Thomas Mawson, has been restored and from here the sound of rushing water from a series of waterfalls tumbling down the rocky ravine adds a dramatic touch.
Some of the hotels in the area also take great pride in their gardens like the Lakeside Hotel which opens for the NGS.