About the garden
The story of Lowther Castle & Gardens has many similarities with the tale of Sleeping Beauty. The castle, built in the early 19th century, inhabited by the Earls of Lonsdale amid great pomp and ceremony for 130 years, abandoned in 1936 because of the expense of its upkeep, requisitioned by the army during WWII, abandoned once more before being deroofed in 1953 and partly demolished. And as with the castle, so with the gardens which from the 1950s were given over to commercial spruce crops, commercial pig-keeping and chicken-farming.
By the beginning of the 21st century the place was in a sorry state, overrun with concrete, conifers, empty sheds and thicket. The awakening began with the creation of Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust, which raised significant funds to begin salvaging the gardens and stabilising the castle ruins. This major endeavour, enabled by a loyal band of trustees and volunteers, was spearheaded by Bryan Gray and Jim Lowther (the owner).
Today Lowther Castle & Gardens is one of the most popular visitor attractions in Cumbria and rapidly heading to the top of the horticultural charts, thanks to the enlightened approach taken by the charity trustees, the owners and Dan Pearson, the garden designer in chief. Apart from the huge adventure playground – the lost castle – highlights of the gardens today include the Garden-in-the-Ruins planted within the footprint of the castle; the wonderful Parterre Tapestry Garden and, for those who love colour and scent, the Rose Garden. Between these are dreamy woodlands peppered with trees that go back as long as the estate, extensive lawns, wildflower meadows, a smattering of summerhouses and breathtaking views across the Lowther Valley.
There is something for everyone here: for horticulturalists, heritage lovers and adventurers of all ages.