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“Not quite up to its billing”

Lowther Castle and Gardens
Ranked #2 of 55 things to do in Penrith
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: A place of inspiration. The gardens at Lowther castle have lain abandoned for 70 years, and the original plantings have long since disappeared leaving the the architectural outlines of 17th Century and Edwardian gardens intact despite WWII weapons testing in the gardens, since overplanted with trees and covered by moss and lichen. The castle ruins are a constant reminder of the powerful presence of this place and its role in history. A major restoration project started 4 years ago and has uncovered a stunning selection of garden remains and vistas - the Pate d'Oie, Rock Gardens, Pinetum, 17th C. yew avenue, stunning views from the escarpment, and so much more. Atmospheric and enchanting, these gardens encourage reflection on the stunning past of this unique place. A small restoration exhibition shows details of the work already undertaken on the castle ruin and courtyard areas as well as 'stunning before and after' images. Tree trail, rope swings for all ages, and wild play areas for children. We are a charity. Admittance fees help us to continue the on-going works.Opening hours 10.00am to 5.00pm everyday; adults £8, children under 16 free, well behaved dogs very welcome. Why not visit the Courtyard Cafe for light lunches, soups, sandwiches and a wonderful selection of cakes and bakes. Luxury Picnics (please order in advance) or make up your own from our 'take - away' selection. We also have a gift and plant shop in the stable block. Visitor Feedback and comments:Ms H (London) The gardens are fantastic in their "hidden/secret garden" state Mr S (Worcester) First Visit! Stunning grounds & views. Really informative chat with Head Gardener.Ms U (Kirkby Stephen) Great space, lovely coffee & cake and really like the timeline information boards. Hope you go from strength to strengthMr & Mrs W (Marske by the Sea) A lovely walk through the grounds and a pleasure to see something coming back to life.We will certainly visit again.Ms H (Wirral) Cafe lovely, staff lovely, gardens lovely,Mr & Mrs A Kent We really enjoyed our visit here, with an interesting and scenic walk around the garden, the fascinating ruined castle, the warm and informative welcome and the excellent tearoom.Ms S (Doncaster) Amazed at how much you have achieved since my last visit. Daffodils beautiful. See you again, hopefully not too long. Well done everyone, be proud!
Darlington, England
Level Contributor
49 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Not quite up to its billing”
Reviewed 8 August 2014

An impromptu visit to Lowther Castle and gardens saw us part with a total of £16 entry fee for two adults. Had we known what we know now we would have saved the cash and simply walked around the paths surrounding the castle. The billing of the gardens needs to be much more explicit as there are in fact no gardens as such. Simply places where gardens once were. The Rose Garden, for example is a lawn with a pile of rocks in the middle, the Iris Garden is woodland. The scentted garden is a piece of woodland. The highlight is reading the plaques which are placed there so you can at least see what is once was like!. This is one huge restoration project and in my view, they are trying to do too many things and accomplishing little. I completely understand that this is work in progress but they should perhaps concentrate on one phase which completes at least one garden. Instead you are left feeling that you shouldnt have bothered. Don't get me wrong I dont mind contributing to the restoration of the garden but I was looking forward to seeing at least one bed which was planted out. Instead I was left feeling a bit cheated. All I ask is that the advertising, promotional material and website is more explict so that those who part with the cash know what they are going to see. Good luck to the Lowther project but perhaps a little more focus would see some progress which could at least be appreciated by visitors parting with their hard earned cash.

Visited August 2014
1 Thank Ferg64
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Heather J, Manager at Lowther Castle and Gardens, responded to this review, 11 August 2014
We are sorry you felt disappointed by the lack of completed and planted gardens, though we will shortly have the Dan Pearson designed parterre planted once the soil has cleared its 'imported' weeds. In just under four years we have achieved huge amounts of clearance - the lawns and wildflower beds alone were under acres of concrete and industrial chicken sheds. We have had to do massive amounts of basic clearance and structure restoration just to get us to this apparently empty stage. We appreciate it is a difficult garden to describe in order to prepare the visitor fully, whilst short of flower beds we exceed expectations in other ways; and we hope we do see you again to follow our planting progress as we have a three year plan underway.
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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641 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
63 reviews
27 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Pleasurable visit”
Reviewed 4 August 2014

Visitors need to understand that this is a work in progress otherwise you might be disappointed. We had a look around this most interesting project to renovate a once majestic garden and castle. Although rather expensive for what there is at the moment we realize the money is ploughed back into the renovation. We were amazed at the changes since a previous visit a few years ago. Highlight is the view from the escarpment looking towards the Lake District. Look forward to return visit to check on the progress. Food excellent and a very well thought out courtyard café.

Visited July 2014
Thank John L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Beautiful, hidden gem”
Reviewed 26 July 2014 via mobile

We visited unplanned today, on a glorious hot, sunny Saturday, with our 3 children and a dog. What an amazing find! There are lots of woodland walks, rope swings for the children, fantastic views and a great cafe. This was a magical place, my seven year old daughter kept expecting to find fairies in the woods. And the best bit was on a very crowded day in the Lakes, there was hardly anyone else around. Don't expect huge adventure playgrounds but be prepared to soak up time in a hidden gem of a spot.

Visited July 2014
Thank Wineelf68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
17 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Not worth the trip”
Reviewed 25 July 2014

The gardens are expensive to visit and in a state of disrepair. The house itself is a ruin with nothing to see and the gardens need a lot of work before they will be worth the money.

Visited July 2014
2 Thank Chris J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Penrith, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Let us bring our balance bikes!”
Reviewed 23 July 2014

Great place. Great to explore. But please please PLEASE le the little ones bring their balance bikes in. They are learning to ride a bike - they wont' do any stunts on the walls or run into anyone. They just want to tootle around and their little legs are quite up to walking the whole time.

Visited June 2014
Thank Pinkgreenorblue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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