Lowther Castle and Gardens

Lowther, Penrith, CA10 2HH
Lowther Castle

Lowther Castle (ATGImages / Shutterstock.com)

Lowther Castle and Gardens, close to Penrith, has become one of Cumbria’s most popular tourist attractions since it opened to the public a few years ago. The castle and gardens were left abandoned after the Second World War, but work is currently underway to fully restore the gardens to their former glory.

Today visitors can explore the ruins of this delightful fairytale style castle before heading into the gardens where restoration work is still ongoing. Popular with families, the castle’s grounds feature a huge outdoor play area.

Planning Your Visit

Contact Details:
01931 712 192 / Website
Cost:
Adult £9, Children 3-15 yrs £7, Children Under 3 Free
Seasonal Opening:
All Year (Except Christmas)
 

History

The current Lowther Castle was completed in 1806 and was the third property to be built on the site, providing an extravagant new home for the Lowther family. The family had occupied the lands here for over 800 years and the new castle was intended to demonstrate the family’s wealth and social standing.

In 1882 Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale inherited the castle unexpectedly from his brother, St George, who died suddenly aged 26 with no heirs. Hugh Lowther lacked the education required to manage such a large estate and squandered much of his fortune on horses and servants. As a result, he was forced to sell several of the family’s properties and eventually moved into a property much smaller than the castle.

Following his death, the castle remained abandoned and later the family took the decision to dismantle the property, leaving only the shell behind. The gardens, which had been an integral part of the family home for centuries were left to become overgrown.

In 2005, a group of organisations were brought together by the Lowther Estate with a view to preserving what remained of the castle and restoring the gardens. The castle and lands came under the care of the Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust and restoration works began. The castle opened to the public in 2011 but it’s thought that the works will take another 20 years to complete.

Things To See

The castle itself is mostly in ruin, but you can stroll through parts of the ruined building. Some sections of the building have been restored to create an exhibition space where visitors can learn more about the history of the castle and the efforts that have gone into the restoration.

The grounds are extensive and a walk through the gardens will reveal secret summer houses, hidden ponds, and surprising views. Hundreds of bulbs and seeds have been planted in recent years as part of the restoration effort. Garden tours with the head gardener are regularly available.

In 2016, the castle opened its large outdoor play area. Featuring an enormous wooden structure that resembles a castle fort, children can play and explore safely. There are turrets to climb, ropes to swing from, sand to dig in, and a dedicated play area for toddlers. In addition, the gardens regularly feature special themed trails with an activity sheet for children to complete.

The castle hosts regular special events throughout the year, such as Christmas markets and fireworks for bonfire night.

Useful Information

The former stables have been converted into a café that serves a selection of hot and cold meals, including local specialities. There is also a gift shop on the site.

As restoration works are on-going, not all of the grounds are accessible by wheelchair.

Map

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