Levens Hall Gardens

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Things to do


Date of travel

July, 2021

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On your own

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The gardens at “Levens Hall”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/travel-product/attraction/209509 were laid out by Guillaume Beaumont, gardener to James II, for Colonel James Grahme after he had acquired the estate in in 1688. He turned the medieval deer park into the latest fashion garden with clipped evergreens and hedged enclosures.

The gardens escaped the C18th makeovers of Capability Brown and his followers and still maintain their “original layout”:https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-BSWOiJt3_Ow/WjfZzIy2GhI/AAAAAAAAKHQ/NBtuEI-jzLgxgHjhw4VzG8Ne1CAEgptWACLcBGAs/s1600/Levens%2BHall%2B33.jpg They are one of the few Elizabethan designs to survive. The topiary garden was planted in 1694 and many of the original trees still survive. It is the oldest and largest topiary garden in the world.

The gardens are entered through a wooden gateway next to the house. This leads into the Topiary Garden. Beyond, the garden is divided into four large rectangular areas by tall beech hedges and well made paths. The orchard is next to the topiary. Beside it is the vegetable garden and nuttery. Beyond these are the Bowling green and Fountain Garden. At the far end is the willow maze and a wilderness area.

The topiary garden is wonderful and very photogenic. It is planted with yew and golden yew, as well as box hedges. There are over one hundred yews that have been cut into every possible shape imaginable. Growing up through some of the trees is a scarlet flowered climber, Scottish Flame Flower. The flower beds between the yews contain old fashioned roses and flowering annuals. This garden really is the highlight of Levens Hall even on a very dull afternoon!

The orchard contains many old varieties of fruit trees. As well as apples and Pear trees, there are medlars and quince and damsons. The edges of the paths are planted with annuals attractive to bees.

The bowling green was part of the original plan and is one of the oldest in the country. The original bowls are still on display in the house. Beyond the bowling green, at the far end of the garden, is the willow maze and a wilderness area along with children’s playground.

Opposite the bowling green is the fountain garden. At the centre is a small pond with water lilies.

Between the fountain garden and the vegetable garden is an herbaceous border, which was colourful with every imaginable species of perennial.

The vegetable garden grows a wide range of vegetables for the house and restaurant. In one corner is the nuttery, growing different varieties of hazelnuts. Most of the nuts are eaten by red squirrels.

These are really attractive gardens, and it is worth allowing plenty of time to enjoy them. Together with the Hall, they make a very worthwhile day out.


There are a lot more pictures “here”:https://www.sloweurope.com/community/threads/levens-hall-and-gardens-cumbria.6011/ from #3 -#5


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