Spring is such a wonderful time here in the North Lakes. The daffodils are peeping through, lambs playing in the fields and very soon we’ll be enjoying bluebells and wild garlic filling our woodlands, fellsides and lakeshores.
Here’s just a few of our favourite spring gardens, all within a short drive or walk of Keswick.
Our own very local Park, right next to the town centre and Derwentwater is surrounded by stunning views to the fells. The land was dedicated to the local community in 1927 by Sir Percy Hope. It was his wish that local residents and visitors alike could enjoy the park ‘as a pleasure ground and garden for recreation and enjoyment’. Enjoy wandering along the wonderful herbaceous borders filled with flowers. Take the woodland trail or stroll along the stream. Watch the birds in the hide or rest awhile on one of the many benches and watch the world go by. There are also park games such as pitch and putt, boules and crazy golf as well as the fantastic Café Hope which serves incredible food and drink.
At the other end of town is Fitz Park on Station Road. The upper section of the park has beautiful formal landscaped gardens situated alongside the River Greta and an arboretum with a variety of shrubs and unique trees such as the monkey puzzle. Magnolias and rhododendrons make a splendid sight in the Spring moving onto a fine display of flowers and grasses in the Summer. Look out for the growing collection of carved animals along the way. Just outside Fitz Park, by the war memorial is the small Sensory Garden. A sheepfold incorporating a stone seat is a lovely place to sit. Here you’ll enjoy herb garden, rockeries and grasses with roses and other climbing plants growing over arches, all designed to appeal to the senses. A short walk through Fitz Park and you’ll come upon Keswick Museum, another great place to visit.
Lingholm Walled Garden
The octagonal walled garden on the Lingholm Estate on the Western shores of Derwentwater was created on the site of the old Lingholm Kitchen gardens that inspired Beatrix Potter as her inspiration for Mr McGregor’s Garden in The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The garden is built in a Victorian style using reclaimed red bricks with grand entrance doors which were the original doors to the main house. Four vegetable and salad plots make up the central area of the garden to allow for crop rotation. Herbaceous borders surround the vegetable beds with fruit trees planted on the south facing walls.
You can enjoy the taste of the garden as the produce is used fresh daily in the cafe from where you can sit and enjoy views through the 100ft long glass wall. Within the Walled Garden is the gallery dedicated to Beatrix Potter’s work in the Derwentwater area, much of it undertaken whilst she stayed at Lingholm.
If you are arriving by car there is a free car park for customers. Alternatively catch the Keswick Launch to Hawes End jetty then follow the footpath, a 10 minute stroll to the estate, or a flat, gentle 35 minute walk from Keswick.
This lovely house on the shores of Bassenthwaite is perfect for a wander in the spring. The gardens are full of rhododendrons, and there’s even a rhodie tunnel you can wander through along with 4 different children’s gardens to explore. The daffodils in the meadow are beautiful, and spring flowers and birds are everywhere. Enjoy the tranquility of the walled Bee Garden, stroll along the Poetry Walk, or sit by the shore of Bassenthwaite lake and nearby is the beautiful St Bega’s church.
Meaning ‘manor in the valley’ and 2 miles from beautiful Ullswater, you’ll enjoy swathes of snowdrops and spring flowering bulbs. If you come back in the summer, you’ll enjoy the beautiful Rose Walk, with over 200 old-fashioned scented roses. With ancient apple trees and borders, a tudor knot garden, and children’s garden, there’s lots to enjoy here. Don’t forget the ‘world-famous’ Marmalade festival held here too!
Head further west toward the coast:
Wordsworth House Garden, Cockermouth
Wordsworth House and Garden, birthplace and childhood home of poet William is owned by the National Trust, on the main street in the lovely Georgian town of Cockermouth. You can take the bus from Keswick or it’s a 20 minute drive by car. The riverside garden alongside the River Derwent, gave William a love of nature and lifelong inspiration is packed with 18th-century vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers, and there is a mini flock of heritage chickens in the small walled garden. Lovely for a stroll and a trip back in time with the National Trust’s take on living history.
Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass
The garden is in a breath-taking location, with views of Scafell and the Lakeland fells – a riot of rhododendrons from March onwards, with vibrant colours complementing the Japanese maple trees to a beautiful display. From April to May, enjoy the bluebell woods – a haze of bluey purple native flowers through the ancient coppice woodland. The half-mile long Georgian terrace dates from the 1780s and has a formal hedge of yew and box, offering fabulous views and just great for a wander with a view.
Head a little further south and explore these gardens:
The Wordsworth Daffodil Garden, Grasmere
The Friends of Grasmere developed the Wordsworth Daffodil Garden in 2003, and since then the public has participated by way of the sponsorship of benches, inscribed paving stones, shrubs and daffodils.
Funds raised have been donated to various local charities, including the National Trust, the Wordsworth Trust, the South Lakeland Housing Trust, and the Friends of St Oswald’s, for the continuing maintenance of St Oswald’s Church.
Stagshaw Gardens, Ambleside
This beautiful 8-acre natural woodland garden is ablaze with azaleas, rhododendrons, camelias and a lovely mix of spring flowers, with a babbling beck running through it. Created by Cubby Acland for the National Trust, it’s a delightful haven from the hustle and bustle of Ambleside. You’ll peek at Lake Windermere through the trees and find benches and bridges to delight you. Further afield is Skelghyll Woods and the Champion Tree trail, with Cumbria’s tallest tree the Grand Fir.