Holker Hall & Gardens

Holker Hall

© Holker Estate

Historic Holker Hall and its fabulous gardens are a treat not to be missed on any trip to Cumbria. Over the centuries this privately-owned country estate, near Grange-over-Sands, has been passed down through family generations without ever having been sold and is today the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish.

Both the grounds and Victorian West Wing of the house are open to the public. Outdoors, visitors can wander at ease in the gardens meeting one of Britain’s ‘Top 50’ trees – the 400-year-old Great Holker Lime – and enjoying the vistas which skilful planting and careful maintenance has created.

Projects here are ongoing; the estate is especially proud of its landscaped gardens and was delighted to win ‘Garden of the Year’ in the 2015 BBC Countryside Awards. In recent years, Holker has become renowned for its annual Garden Festival, which draws thousands of visitors over three days towards the end of May. Inside the hall, the skills of past master craftsmen and artists can be admired amongst the many rooms on show. Here, the fine interiors feature work by Chippendale and Wedgewood.

A short walk from the hall, a group of sympathetically restored out-buildings clusters around an attractive courtyard. This is home to the Courtyard Cafe, gift shop, and the Holker (pronounced ‘Hooker’) Food Hall, where a range of seasonal local produce can be purchased, including the estate’s own saltmarsh lamb, pheasant, venison and shorthorn beef. Here, a regular Sunday producers’ market is held offering a range of artisan, locally produced and international food with something to suit all tastes.

Holker hosts a variety of special events throughout its main season (March to October with Courtyard activities extending into December). For full details of these, along with opening times, admission costs and how to get there, visit the website holker.co.uk.