Southern Lake District Garden Tour

Muncaster Castle
Duration: 7 nights
Interests: Garden Tours
from £1,189pp

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 coach
  • All admission costs including those for English Heritage, National Trust, and RHS Gardens. Some venues have stately homes/houses which incur a separate admission fee should you wish to visit - you will need to pay for this yourself. 

 

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.

 

Need to know

Important Covid-19 steps we have taken for guest safety: Please Read

Following the relaxation in government guidance on 19 July, we are continuing to take extra steps to keep our guests leaders, and staff safe in our HF country houses. We ask all our guests to respect the measures put in place.

The English, Scottish and Welsh governments are not in sync, so measures in our country houses will vary between the nations. With the relaxation of social distancing in England, from 19 July we will be allowing larger groups to dine and relax in the bar together. However, we will still give guests space e.g. we will seat 6 people at a table where pre-pandemic we may have seated 8. We will ensure our public rooms are well ventilated by opening doors and windows wherever possible. If you have any concerns about distancing, please speak to the House Manager. The government recommendation for England is to wear face coverings in crowded areas. You must wear a face covering by law in public areas in hotels in Scotland. This is mandatory in public spaces; however, face coverings will not be required whilst eating and drinking in the restaurant and bar areas or whilst you are outside our houses. In Wales face coverings will remain a legal requirement indoors, with the exception of hospitality premises.

As a temporary measure, we will not be servicing rooms during a stay. Extra tea, coffee, milk, and toiletries will be made available on request for all guests. It is recommended that guests bring their own toiletries for the duration of their stay. We will though be increasing the frequency of cleaning in our public areas providing particular attention to frequently touched items including door handles and handrails.

Menus for the week will be available in your room on arrival. A self-service breakfast will be served from 7.45am – 9am. Picnic lunches will now be pre-ordered the night before from an order form in the room. Evening meals will be table service. A dinner order form will be available in each room for completion. Dinner is served at either 7.15pm or 7.30pm. Please check at the house for details. The bar will be open. We will be offering a table service but guests can also come to the bar to order (depending on local restrictions).

Join our team after dinner on Wednesday evenings for the HF Big Pub Quiz. There will be one other evening of entertainment at the start of the week, which will vary depending on the country house that you are staying at. Our Walk Leaders will also be on hand in the bar or lounge for individual or small group walks talks briefings, which allow guests to talk through the following day’s walk options and ask any questions. All of our swimming pools are open, except for Glen Coe, which will not re-open this year. Swimming Pools will be operated in line with maximum capacities.

For more information and to see all the steps taken, visit our page on how house stays will be adapted.

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 Classic, Premium and Superior 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 ‘Classic' rooms are ensuite and furnished to a high standard. There are also several ‘Premium’ Rooms that are either larger or have a desirable view, a more luxurious mattress and larger television – upgrade your stay for just an extra £15-25 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 or view the accessibility information online for Monk Coniston

Coniston - External.jpg

Getting to Monk Coniston

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

More Information

Essential Information

As you'll be walking around the gardens please bring solid, comfortable footwear for rough, wet or uneven terrain in gardens, and clothes for the great British weather! Please also expect to spend most of the day on your feet exploring the gardens you visit.

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: £30 per person.

Holiday Prices

Date (Start - End) Nights Itinerary Price Status Trip Notes Book
2022
27 May - 03 Jun 2022
7 Garden Tour £1,189 Available Trip Notes Book Now
Duration:
7 nights
Interests:
Garden Tours

7 nights from £1,189pp

...or call 020 3974 8865

For group bookings of 10+ people click here

Add to wishlist Added to wishlist