Southern Lake District Garden Tour

Muncaster Castle
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Garden Tours
from £999pp £959pp

Join a horticultural pilgrimage to see the many and varied gardens of the Lake District. Some of the gardens visited hold national plant collections while others are noted for their unique features. The trip includes visits to Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top garden, John Ruskin’s Brantwood, the famous topiary gardens at Levens Hall and Sizergh Castle with its limestone rock garden. There’s also Muncaster Castle with its large rhododendron collection, the exotic plants of Holker Hall and the Grade II-listed gardens of Askham Hall.

Holiday Highlights

  • Visit one of the nations favourite gardens Holehird, with 3 national plant collections: Astillbe, Hydranger and Polystichum
  • Admire the stunning topiary gardens at Levens Hall
  • Explore one of Europe's largest collection of Sino-Himalayan Rhododendrons at Muncaster Castle  
  • Discover the typical Lakeland gardens of John Ruskin and Beatrix Potter

What’s included

  • High quality Full Board en-suite accommodation and excellent food in our Country House
  • The guidance and services of our knowledgeable HF Holidays’ leader, ensuring you get the most from your holiday
  • All transport to and from gardens on a comfortable, good-quality mini-coach with PA system
  • All garden admissions costs. For Garden Tours, National Trust, English Heritage  and RHS admissions are not included.
  • Heritage gardens(please note this does not include entrance to stately homes/houses, for which there is a separate admission fee)

 

Trip Notes

Trip notes are detailed, downloadable PDFs for each holiday.

Download Trip Notes

Check-in starts from 2.30pm (Best and Better rooms from 1pm). All guests are invited to join us for afternoon tea where we’ll introduce your leader.


Firstly we visit the Lakeland Horticultural Society’s garden Holehird, voted one of the nation’s favourite. The society maintains three national collections: astilbe, hydrangea and polystichum. We then cross Windermere by ferry to see Beatrix Potters’ Hill Top garden and Brantwood, the former home of keen gardener, John Ruskin. Set in a 250-acre woodland estate, there are seven different mountainside gardens with great views over Coniston.
Please note that both today’s gardens are on hillsides and the terrain may be rough underfoot.


Levens Hall is famous for its topiary gardens which were laid out in 1694 by G Beaumont (who trained at Versailles). The garden features England’s first ha-ha, and one of the UK’s top 50 trees. Next is Sizergh Castle (National Trust), which is famous for its limestone rock garden, started in the 1920's by Hayes of Ambleside. It has many mature acers and heathers, and half the national collection of hardy ferns.


You can use our Discovery Point to explore the local area or relax in the wonderful surroundings of our country house.


We visit Muncaster Castle, set in 70 acres. The 6th baronet subscribed to the Ludlow, Sheriff and Kingdon-Ward botanical expeditions. The collection of Sino-Himalayan rhododendron was considered the largest in Europe.


Our first stop is the picturesque village of Cartmel, which has a medieval church and the remains of a medieval priory. Then comes Holker Hall, where the highlights of our tour are the many rare, exotic plants that thrive in the mild micro-climate. Next is Grange-over-Sands by Morecambe Bay. Here we visit the first NGS garden, Yewbarrow. Once a typical English country garden, in the past ten years it has been transformed by the owner.


Our first visit takes us to see the superb and historic gardens at Hutton-in-the-Forest, where elaborate gardens were planted from the 17th century. Then it's on to the Grade II-listed gardens of Askham Hall with its colourful terraces, a 230ft herbaceous border, kitchen garden, formal lawns, woodland, meadows and ponds.


Depart after a leisurely breakfast.


Monk Coniston

Wrapped in manicured gardens with stunning views over Coniston Water, Monk Coniston combines country house grandeur and romantic, gothic-style charm with contemporary touches to great effect among the rugged landscapes of the Lake District. Rocky mountains and grassy fells loom all around this handsome home, once owned by Beatrix Potter, and more latterly turned hikers’ hotel and owned by the National Trust. Fell-flecked scenery unfurls from the windows of the bedrooms in the main house, adjoining cottage and counting house. While the setting remains traditional and the grand entrance recalls a traditional era, the interiors have been swept into the present with bold patterns and comfy fabrics. Beyond the house, trails from the doorstep set off to explore the Lake District. Climb famous summits including Bow Fell, the Langdale Pikes and the Old Man of Coniston. Bag a series of Wainwright summits. Alternatively, slip into the beautiful valleys and stroll picturesque lakeside paths in search of secret corners such as Cathedral Cove in Little Langdale.

 

Rooms

Tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, Hairdryer, Toiletries, Wi-Fi

Stay in the smartly presented rooms in the main house. With 32 rooms, Monk Coniston has plenty of space and there’s a range of Good, Better and Best Rooms to choose from. Rooms with a view are well worth the extra spend as you’ll be overlooking the gardens or the lake.  Our favourite is Room 9 on the first floor, which contains some of the original features from when it was first built in 1885, a striking sailboat-patterned wallpaper and opens on to beautiful views of the gardens and fields that slope down to the shore of Coniston Water.

All ‘Good’ rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Better’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress, larger television, enhanced toiletries and a fluffy bathrobe & slippers – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-20 per person per night. You can choose a specific room for an extra £30 per room, subject to availability. Upgrade supplements still apply.

Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, boot room and drying room, extensive garden, lounge, bar, Lakeland barn for activities, library and board games to borrow

After a day exploring the Lake District, return to the house. Stroll through the extensive grounds with their putting green and croquet lawn and uncover the hidden walled garden on the hill behind the house. Take a turn around the National Trust nature trail and look out for the fabulous, rare mature trees. Stumble on the small secret folly stood quietly among the bluebells when they’re out and the lush green grass when they’re not. Catch up with fellow guests in the bright and spacious lounge or grab a drink from the airy bar and wander down the garden to the bench overlooking Coniston Water for the perfect place to enjoy a sundowner – you might even spot the restored steam yacht Gondola cruising the five-mile length of the lake. After hours, duck into the converted Lakeland barn with its exposed beams and rustic chandelier for evening activities and skittles.

Food & Drink

As at all our country houses, holidays are full board, from afternoon tea served as a welcome treat through that evening’s meal to a hearty breakfast on the day of departure. Lunch is a chance to stock up on our famous picnic snacks. Food at Monk Coniston is varied and tasty and has a strong emphasis on ingredients from the area and seasonal produce. Once a week the bright dining room with its giant fireplace and oversized mirror hosts a Local Food Night, when, over a sociable evening, you might try a five-course feast of regional flavours. From a cup of Monk Coniston walled garden vegetable soup to a Wabberthwaies Cumberland sausage – the only Cumberland sausage to have a royal warrant and to be served on Concorde – to twelve-hour slow cooked Cumbrian lamb and Ravenglass crab and Morecambe Bay shrimp cakes, the kitchen puts out the best of the Cumbrian countryside. Look out too for the Kendal Mint cheesecake among the assiette of deserts.

Accessibility

For accessibility and assistance information, please contact our expert team on 020 3974 8865

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Getting to Monk Coniston

Find out more about this location including travel details and room types.

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What to Bring

To enjoy your holiday comfortably and safely, it’s essential that your clothing and footwear is suitable for the conditions likely to be encountered. Changeable weather is possible throughout the year, so our advice is to come prepared for all eventualities – hot, cold, wet or dry.

All of our Heritage Tours involve active sightseeing and you should, therefore, be prepared for walking between the sights and wear flat, comfortable shoes. In the evening most guests wear casual clothing. You will probably find a small rucksack or cross-body bag useful for carrying spare clothing, a camera, sun protection, and drinks during the day.

Please be sure to bring your National Trust or English Heritage membership cards if you have them - admissions to sites owned by these two organisations are not included in the price of your holiday. If you are a member of an organisation which has reciprocal arrangements with National Trust or English Heritage, do be sure to bring your membership cards too.

Sally Smith

Sally Smith has over 20 years experience working in the horticulture sector in varied roles from a college lecturer, a researcher for the BBC at RHS Chelsea Flower show, to being a gardening advisor at Garden Organic Ryton. She is passionate about all plants whether ornamental, humble vegetables or wild flowers and loves to share this knowledge when visiting gardens. Sally believes every plant has a story to tell when put into the context of the place in which it is growing, linking plants to the garden’s history and the people who garden there past and present. Sally is also an HF Holidays’ walking leader.

Guest Reviews

All holidays are subject to availability. Prices are subject to change.
Prices based on two people sharing. Supplements may apply.
Non-member fee: £10 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2020
23 May - 30 May
7 Garden Tour £999 £959 Save £40 Per Person Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Garden Tours

7 nights from £999pp £959pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

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