Friday, 10 October 2008

Gardens I: Levens Hall, Cumbria

The gardens at Levens Hall, near Kendal in the South Lake District, contain the the oldest topiary garden in the world, created by Guillaume Beaumont in the 17th century.

This photo is of one of the more spectacular creations and there are more on the Levens Hall website.

I bet they didn't trim them like this in the 17th century!

There are also high and ancient hedges that you can walk into and see this sort of thing which looks like a setting for The Lord of the Rings.

The flower borders were past their best when we visited in late September...

...but there are photos on the website which show them in their summer splendour.

There's also a fertile apple orchard where the fruit is currently weighing down the boughs, like the Bramleys in this photo:

Speaking of food, as I often do, the Bellingham Buttery restaurant serves tasty meals using produce from the garden and estate. I can certainly recommend the sumptuous fruit cake containing Leven Hall's own Morocco Ale made from an Elizabethan recipe.

The house is also worth a visit. Inside you can see beautiful Spanish leather wall coverings of rare colour and quality, the earliest English patchworks, stunning Tudor carved wooden overmantels and a collection of Wellington memorabilia which was brought to the house when the Iron Duke's favourite niece married into the family.

1 comment:

Rowan said...

We went to Levens Hall at the end of July and you are right, the food in the Buttery is excellent! The topiary is impressive too.