If you visit the blog on a regular basis, you’ll know that I love to visit gardens, but despite having been to Holker Hall and the annual Holker Garden Festival on several occasions, I’d never actually visited the gardens until last weekend.
I expected the gardens to be good, but didn’t realise just how much there would be to look at – set aside a good afternoon if you want to enjoy everything there is to see, as well as spend some quality time taking in your surroundings from one of the many benches placed around the grounds.
Holker Hall is a stately home near to Grange-over-Sands on the edge of Morecambe Bay, and is home to the Cavendish family. The house itself dates back to the 1600s, and the gardens, which cover 25 acres in total, are surrounded by a further 200 acres of parkland – you’ll often see the estate’s fallow deer roaming in the distance.
Spring has to be one of the very best times to visit Holker, due to the sheer number of rhododendrons, azaleas and trees laden with blossom. Apparently, it is wonderful to visit at any time of year though, with roses later in the season, autumn colours to look forward to, and the topiary taking centre stage in the winter months. I took a delightful walk under a long curved pergola which is clearly going to make a stunning display when its climbers and wisteria come out very shortly. It isn’t surprising that Holker Hall was crowned BBC Countryfile Magazine’s Garden of the Year for 2015/16!
As with many large gardens, Holker’s is divided into many distinct areas or ‘rooms’, the formal ones including the Elliptical Garden, Summer garden, Neptune Cascade and Sunken Garden. Other areas are more informal and make up semi-natural woodland walks, their planting merging beautifully with the parkland beyond.
Depending on the time of year you choose to visit, here are some more of the many wonderful things you may come across on a walk around the gardens (grab yourself a cup of tea – there are quite a few! 🙂 ):
Another reason to allow yourself plenty of time, is to visit the house itself (I haven’t done this, but maybe I’ll pay a visit in another blog post!) and the Courtyard Café – the courtyard is a lovely place to sit out and eat when the weather is good.
There are also lots of picnic benches in the large grassed areas to the centre of the car park, and apparently there is an undercover picnic area and children’s adventure playground too. You should also make time to visit the gift shop and, in particular, the Food Hall, which has some really interesting local and speciality foods that you won’t find in many other places.
New to Holker Hall for 2016 is the Ilex, a brasserie which serves food in the evenings on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, as well as Sunday lunch. Of course, I couldn’t leave without a quick peek…
Have you visited the gardens at Holker Hall? Which was your favourite area and why? I’d love to hear your thoughts – please do leave a comment below.