Historic houses and gardens in the Lake District

The Lake District is home to some of the most historic houses and gardens in England, all of which are privately owned. Every house has its own unique features, and many have award-winning gardens, hosting live events and festivals throughout the year.

All of the houses listed also have quaint tearooms or cafés selling delicious home-made food and Cumbrian specialities.

Blackwell, the Arts and Craft House, Bowness-on-Windermere

Blackwell is one of the most iconic houses in the Lakes, and many of the details you can see today remain unchanged from 100 years ago when the Holt family first viewed the house. Enjoy stunning views over Windermere from the gardens, and soak up the peaceful atmosphere in the house itself, which was built between 1898 and 1900, and designed by M H Baillie Scott. The house was originally built as a holiday home for Sir Edward Holt, owner of the Manchester Brewery. Original features ensure Blackwell retains much of its original charm, and the whole house is open with no roped off areas. Several rooms are used as galleries, and the gardens offer an incredible terrace bordered by flowers where visitors can enjoy a bite to eat and marvel at the stunning views.

Holker Hall, Cark-in-Cartmel

A visit to Holker Hall is like stepping back in time to the days of a gentler Lake District when tourists were a rarity and the hustle and bustle of modern day living had not yet reached the Cumbrian borders. Holker is the home of the Cavendish family, and visitors can enjoy the incredible library with over 3,000 books, and explore the stunning gardens, where the world famous Holker Lime is situated. It is also worth tasting the delicious local products which come from the 17,000 estate surrounding Holker Hall, including the lamb, sheep´s milk cheeses and some tasty foods served in the café. This is a great place for a family day out.

Levens Hall and Gardens, Levens, Kendal

Levens Hall is world famous for its beautiful Topiary Gardens, which date back to 1694. The gardens change with the seasons, and colourful displays of flora and fauna make these some of the most visited gardens in England. The house itself boasts fine oak panelling from the Elizabethan era, and is also said to be haunted. The Bellingham Buttery serves a range of delicious home-made lunches and teas.

Muncaster Castle, Gardens and World Owl Centre, Ravenglass

Muncaster Castle, Gardens and World Owl Centre is undoubtedly one of the best attractions in the Lake District. The large gardens boast stunning views and are famous for their colourful rhododendrons, which are at their best from March to June. Muncaster has 77 acres of gardens with miles of winding pathways through woods and also the 12th century Church of St Michael and All Angels within the grounds. The supposedly ´haunted´ castle and The World Owl Centre is home to over 50 species of owls, and a display takes place daily. The interactive computer suite and the Vole Maze are also open daily and the grounds include a café, a gift shop and a Plant Centre.

Whatever time of year you decide to visit the Lake District you will find plenty of attractions, stately homes and gardens with easy reach of Windermere.

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