Part of the Lowther estate, Askham Hall Gardens blend into the wilderness of the Lake District with formal garden planting and vegetable growing to offer a taste of the natural world for every visitor.
Askham Hall is owned by the Lonsdale family, who moved there when Lowther Castle was dismantled in 1937. It used to be a pele tower - a defensive building against the Scots built in the 14th century - but was converted into a mansion in the mid 16th century. The 7th Earl of Lonsdale lived there until 2006, and the house is now a boutique hotel.
Members of the public can visit the gardens during the week. The formal gardens are Grade-II listed and have a long herbaceous border as well as colourful terraces and vast lawns. A Hosta Garden, bordered with pale stones and surrounded by grass, is just one of the areas to be discovered, which include a painted Gypsy Caravan. The gardens look over the River Lowther and provide visitors with opportunities for animal-watching, plant-buying and gentle wandering. The Kitchen Gardens, recently extended, have fruit trees and vegetable beds which provide much of the fruit and veg for the Kitchen Garden Café and the nearby pub. Visitors who are more inclined to tramping along a muddy trail can take the animal trails, a family-friendly route where you can spot boer goats, rare breed pigs and shorthorn cattle. There’s a plant shop by the exit and a truffle orchard which might produce something in a few year’s time.