We’ve just come back from a beautiful day at Holker Hall & Gardens in the Lake District. In the South Lake District it takes an hour to get there from our Keswick cottages, or if you are staying in one of our Eskdale cottages it is a 45 minute drive. From either Keswick or Eskdale, the drive is a pleasant one taking you through some of the best scenery that the Lake District has to offer.
The gardens are lovely, especially at this time of year with the rhododendrons, tulips and bluebells. The formal section gives way to a woodland section and also to parkland. We had a few spots of rain so we hid inside a rhododendron bush and had a picnic there. While we were in the bushes we threaded the fallen rhododendron flowers onto a stick to make an extra special magic wand. The branches were brilliant for a four year old and a two year old to climb. Apparently they’re classed as shrubs but in actual fact they’re as big as trees. The biggest rhododendron in the country is actually at Muncaster Castle near Eskdale in the Lake District but Holker’s rhododendrons are equally as lovely. Holker Hall also boasts the Great Lime which has been designated one of The Tree Council’s 50 Great British Trees.
The ladies in the house itself were really friendly. They took Bruno & Daisy under their wing and showed them all the secrets of the house – from hidden light switches behind fake books, to ladders that look like poles, to the portrait where the chap’s eyes follow you around the room. They loved it. And there are no barriers either so you can get really close to it all. Lord and Lady Cavendish live in the house and is an old school friend of Camilla so I suspect there are a few royal visits to this part of the Lake District.
The food in the café was really high quality, and there is a food hall next door where you can buy all sorts of locally produced treats, including the famous Holker saltmarsh lamb and potted shrimps from Morecambe Bay.
We’ll be back soon to see what the gardens are like at other times of the year. Holker holds an annual garden festival which is on 3-6 June this year. As well as showcasing displays from top horticulturalists, there will be live music and a hog roast. I can’t wait…
If you are staying in one of our Lake District cottages, be sure to pay Holker a visit. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.