Pictured in bloom: Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside

Bench at Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside
What better place to rest?! A bench overlooking the lake (Windermere)

In a recent post, I visited the National Trust’s Stagshaw Gardens, near Ambleside, for the first time. Stagshaw Gardens is very much a spring woodland garden, with a host of camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons and other woodland planting, and although it was beautiful, it turned out I had visited a little too early and the best of the flowering season was yet to come – this garden seems to come out later than others locally, even though it appears quite sheltered.

If you haven’t read about the garden already, you can do so in my previous post, which describes how its design came about.

I dropped by Stagshaw again this week, and it was just incredible how the garden had changed – all the leaves had come out on the trees and covered the garden in dappled shade, everything felt much ‘fuller’, most (but still not all) of the flowers had come out, and the fragrance coming from the azaleas was absolutely heaven! As promised, here are a few pictures of the garden at its peak (these were taken on Tuesday 24th May, so there’s still time to visit – a few things were even still in bud!):

Pathway inside the Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside

Rhododendrons and azaleas at Stagshaw Gardens
The azaleas in full colour – the fragrance as you walk through this area of the garden is just incredible!
Bench at the Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside
Overlooking Windermere

Stagshaw Gardens, AmblesideStagshaw Gardens, AmblesideAzaleas and paths at Stagshaw Gardens, AmblesideRhododendron at Stagshaw Gardens, AmblesideStagshaw Gardens, Ambleside

Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside
Bamboo at the very top of the garden
The gate from Stagshaw Gardens to Jenkins Crag
This time I found the gate at the top of the garden which acts as a short cut from which you can reach Jenkins Crag

Stagshaw Gardens, AmblesideHave you visited Stagshaw Gardens? What did you enjoy about it the most? Let us know by leaving a comment below.


  1. Amazingly, even though it’s the end of May, there were still some blooms waiting to burst – so there’s still time to see the garden in all its spring glory!

  2. Jane Russell

    I discovered the garden by accident 20 years ago while on a walking holiday. I was charmed by the informality of the entrance (at that time) which included a ‘trust box’ for a nominal payment. I was fascinated by the variety of the rhododendrons – some with tiny leaves, others with leaves over a foot long! And I was delighted with the unspoilt quality of the place, and the tameness of the wildlife which had clearly found it a haven. Long may Stagshaw Gardens continue to grow!

    • Thank you for your lovely comment Jane – you clearly have fond memories of your visit all that time ago. I agree that the variety of rhododendrons is fascinating, and a visit to the garden is still just as informal. Stagshaw is supposed to look good in autumn as well as in spring, so I really should go along again soon and see what it is like now!

  3. As a long term member of the National Trust and frequent visitor to the Lake district, I only found Stagshaw myself a couple of years ago. The NT, perhaps conscious of the narrow access lane from a fast road and limited parking spaces, don’t seem to promote it very much. At peak rhododendron time the garden is lovely – the main dense group of rhododendrons in the clearing with the bench seat are apparently intended to resemble an artist’s palette when they are all in bloom together. It’s worth taking the upper exit out of the garden and continuing on for 15-25 minutes to the viewpoint at Jenkin’s Crag as well, or, for the very energetic, a signed path setting off up the hillside more or less opposite to Jenkin’s Crag leads unerringly to the summit of Wansfell.

    • Many thanks for your comment Graham. Yes, Stagshaw is very much a hidden gem, and although it’s a shame there isn’t better access by car, I suppose that is also part of the charm of the experience too – as you point out, there are some good routes that can be taken through it for walkers. I think I discovered the garden through a book about Lake District gardens, but rarely see it mentioned in National Trust literature.

      I found the upper exit you mention on my second visit there, so think I will have to venture up to the viewpoint next time I visit!

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