10 reasons to visit Sizergh Castle near Kendal

The entrance to Sizergh Castle

The entrance to Sizergh Castle

I’ve visited Sizergh Castle many, many times over the years, but have stepped inside the castle itself just twice. That’s because there are a whole host of reasons to spend time at Sizergh that not everyone may be aware of (although visiting the castle itself is a good start!). Here are 10:

1. A tour of the castle

Inside the entrance hall at Sizergh Castle

Inside the entrance hall

Because Sizergh is, after all, a castle, we’ll start with a tour of the inside. I visited on what probably turned out to be the hottest day of the year, so I can say with some certainty that the castle is a lovely refreshing place to spend an hour or so if, like me, you’re not too keen on the type of scorching hot sunshine that develops in the middle of a summer’s day!

A hallway inside Sizergh CastleSizergh has been associated with the Strickland family since 1239, so some of the rooms have a really medieval feel to them, while other parts of the house were built on and decorated in the following centuries. Tours at Sizergh Castle are self-guided, with information sheets in each room. You can also catch guided tours for a small extra fee on selected dates – see the National Trust website for details.

The Library at Sizergh Castle

The Library, newly opened for 2017

Inside Sizergh Castle

The Banqueting Hall at Sizergh Castle

The Banqueting Hall

A door off the Banqueting Hall at Sizergh Castle

A very curious door off the Banqueting Hall…

A chest sitting in front of the window in the Banqueting Hall at Sizergh Castle

This chest dates back to the 17th century and has a false lock on the front – the real lock is found by pressing a button which releases a sliding keyhole cover on the top.

Window detail at Sizergh Castle Stained glass at Sizergh CastleA doorway into a hall

Chair with the caption 'You are welcome to sit here'

Just be careful where you sit…

2. The Elizabethan oak panelling and Inlaid Chamber

The Elizabethan oak panelling in the Dining Room at Sizergh Castle

The Elizabethan oak panelling in the Dining Room

Sizergh Castle is particularly well known for its elaborate Elizabethan oak panelling. The Inlaid Chamber, which you see towards the end of your tour of the house, is of both national and international significance, and is thought to be amongst the finest panelling made for a country house in England.

Elizabethan oak panelling inside Sizergh CastleI particularly love the doorway to the Inlaid Chamber, which consists of a ‘half-octagonal’ porch. Unfortunately the room was just too dark for me to get a good picture of it, but apparently the porch contributed both to the warmth and privacy of the occupants. The panelling for the Inlaid Chamber was returned to Sizergh Castle from the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1999.

The window with stained glass detail inside the Inlaid Chamber at Sizergh Castle

The window inside the Inlaid Chamber

The Inlaid Chamber at Sizergh Castle

The Inlaid Chamber, which was brought back to Sizergh in 1999 from the Victoria and Albert Museum

3. A spiral staircase

The spiral staircase at the end of your visit to Sizergh Castle

The spiral staircase at the end of your visit

Everyone loves a spiral staircase, and you encounter this one at the end of the tour. Perhaps not so great for creaking hips and knees, but you can return the other way if needed!

A small window looking into the spiral staircase

One of the guides pointed out this tiny glass window earlier on in the tour, which looks into the spiral staircase

4. A second-The second-hand bookshop in the outside barn at Sizergh Castlehand bookshop!

It was so hot in the grounds on the day I visited that I found myself moving from shadow to shadow as quickly as possible, and by the end my head was swimming with the heat. Predictably, I perked up on seeing the sign for a second-hand bookshop’ though, and found a nice little Lake District walking guide for a pound. 🙂 The proceeds go towards the conservation of this rather lovely barn.

The Sizergh book shop5. Tearoom

The tearoom at Sizergh

The tearoom at Sizergh

You access the tearoom and gift shop immediately on leaving the car park, which means you don’t have to be visiting the castle to stop here. Tea on the veranda is lovely on a warm day, and from previous experience, the cake is good too! Car parking is free, which is also a bonus if you’re only stopping for a tea or coffee.

6. Local walks

Walking signs at Sizergh

You can take a series of walks from Sizergh, with details of three and four kilometre walks for sale in the National Trust shop

Not everyone is aware of this, but there are some lovely walks that can be taken from Sizergh, and the surrounding countryside is quite picturesque. Walking guides are available from the National Trust shop, and there are one or two walking ideas on the Sizergh Castle web profile on the NT website.

Beautiful countryside and walks around Sizergh Castle7. The rock garden

The rock garden at Sizergh

The rock garden at Sizergh

If you’d prefer to spend a couple of hours outside rather than indoors, Sizergh sell garden-only tickets, which is very handy. If you are a National Trust member already, your ticket is free.

The limestone Rock Garden is one of my favourite areas in the grounds, and is planted with lots of beautiful acers which look great from spring through to autumn. There are several other pieces of garden to visit too, including a long border, vegetable patch, orchard and woodland walks.

The rock garden at Sizergh

A garden border at Sizergh Castle

One of the garden borders

The veg garden at Sizergh Castle

The veg garden

8. The stumpery

The stumpery in the gardens at Sizergh Castle

The new stumpery

A recent addition to the Sizergh Castle garden is the stumpery, which is home to four National Collections of ferns. It was officially opened in 2016 to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the British Pteridological Society – a group for fern enthusiasts – which was founded in Kendal in 1891. Stumperies were apparently very fashionable in the Victorian era, and the tree stumps were donated by the contractor working on the recently completed Heysham to M6 link road.

Ornate log imprinted with fern image in the stumpery at Sizergh Castle9. Garden walks and children’s trails

Ornate castellated walls at Sizergh CastleThe grounds at Sizergh are perfect for families to explore with young children, and the National Trust have put together a wild play trail online, allowing you to get the best out of your visit here.

Sizergh from in front of the pond

A wooden snail sculpture at Sizergh Castle

A wooden snail sculpture in the grounds

10. Picnic spots

Picnic spot near the orchard in the gardens at Sizergh CastleEating out can be expensive and less than convenient when you’re doing so every day on holiday, so it’s also useful to know that there are several picnic benches around the grounds at Sizergh. You’ll find them in the large grassed area in the centre of the car park (no admittance needed), in the ‘Knoll’ outside the gardens (garden ticket required), and behind the orchard (garden ticket also required).

Picnic tables in the car park at Sizergh Castle

Picnic tables in the car park

Have you visited Sizergh Castle on a trip to the Lake District? What did you enjoy most? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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5 Responses to 10 reasons to visit Sizergh Castle near Kendal

  1. Janine John 04/10/2017 at 8:43 pm #

    Little did I know that my visit to Sizergh would be on one of the last very hot days all summer! 🙂

  2. Maria 13/10/2017 at 9:18 pm #

    Janine,
    We were not aware such a nice spot was there , we must visit next time we visit the lakes.

    • Janine John 13/10/2017 at 9:46 pm #

      That’s lovely – I do hope you enjoy it! I think the castle itself closes shortly for the winter, but that the garden, tearoom etc. stay open much of the time with a few exceptions listed on the website.

  3. Angela Cowell 15/11/2017 at 9:44 am #

    Hi Janine yet another beautiful post. My husband and I visited Sizergh last year and we too had a gloriously hot day and, unbelievably this year too. I, like you, took many photographs. It’s a beautiful place to have a wander. I agree with you that sitting on the veranda with a coffee and scone is delightful. We got a book from the book barn too so all was well in my world! I absolutely love receiving your blogs, thank you for making them so interesting. Have a lovely day.

    • Janine John 16/11/2017 at 8:36 pm #

      Thank you so much Angela, and it’s lovely to hear that you enjoy Sizergh too. Yes, I’m never happier than when I’ve discovered a good book, so not even the heat was going to stop me making a detour to the book barn!! Fingers crossed that we will have some more sunny days coming up soon to get our cameras out, even if they won’t be nearly as warm! 🙂

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