2016 is the year of the English Garden and the Lake District has no shortage of beautiful gardens to visit. With summer approaching many of the gardens are really blooming into life and now is a great time to explore. From cottage style to gardens to formal estates with world famous plants and topiary there is a great day out to be found. The hardest decision will be deciding which one to visit first.
Holker Hall & Gardens
Home to the Cavendish family, Holker Hall near Cartmel has 25 acres of beautiful gardens, meadows, woodlands and a deer park. There is something to see all year round but Spring and Summer see magnificent rhododendrons, azaleas and roses. One special tree to look out for is The Great Holker Lime, which measures a huge 7.9 metres in girth and dates back to the early 17th century. The Holker Garden festival on 3-5 June is not to be missed and is a great event showcasing the best in gardening, flowers, food and crafts. Find out more www.holker.co.uk
These Grade II listed gardens near to Penrith are full of stunning features, including colourful terraces, a 230ft long double herbaceous border, unusual species of plants, formal lawns, kitchen gardens, woodland, meadows and ponds. There are views down to the River Lowther, a charming kitchen cafe and you can also buy plants to take home. Find out more www.askhamhall.co.uk
The Lakeland Horticultural Society's Gardens at Holehird, near Windermere are one of the Lake District's hidden gems. Set on 17 acres of hillside, the garden includes specimen trees and shrubs, extensive rock and heather gardens, alpine houses, a walled garden and herbaceous borders. The superb Lakeland setting also contains a small woodland walk and water features. Developed and completely maintained by volunteers, the gardens are entirely funded by donations and the sale of plants propagated from the garden. Find out more: www.holehirdgardens.org.uk
Privately owned, this beautiful and unique five-acre garden, near Penrith was originally laid out at the end of the 19th Century. The mature trees, Wellingtonia, Cut-leaved Beech, and Cedar date from this time. Extensive work has been recently carried out to the rockeries, herbaceous borders and pond area. There is now a large collection of Salvias for Autumn colour, Herbaceous and Himalayan Plants. There is a picnic area by the pond where the Primulas are very colourful in the Spring. Quiet and understated you can also buy plants and fruit and vegetables when in season. Find out more: www.winderwathgardens.co.uk
Levens Hall & Gardens
A fascinating Elizabethan mansion, Levens Hall is home to world-famous topiary gardens which date back to 1694, making it the oldest topiary garden in the world. A sort of living sculpture gallery, there are chess pieces, a Judges Wig, a Lion, a Jug of Morocco Ale and four Peacocks to look out for. As well as the topiary there are cut yew trees, an orchard, herbaceous borders, massive beech hedges, rose garden, nuttery and vegetable garden which provide year round interest. Find out more: www.levenshall.co.uk