Holehird Gardens
Holehird Gardens

This wonderful garden is a project of the Lakeland Horticultural Society. Among the areas at Holehird are a walled kitchen garden, rock garden, heathers, winter-flowering shrubs, and alpine plants.

Holehird is home to four national collections - astilbe, daboecia, polystichum, and meconopsis, and the Lakeland collection of hydrangeas. Unlike many popular gardens, Holehird is entirely run by gardening enthusiasts, who have leased a sloping site beside the Holehird Trust care home.

Holehird hosts the National Collection of Astilbe
Holehird hosts the National Collection of Astilbe

One of the aims of the Society’s keen gardeners is to determine which varieties thrive in Lake District conditions, so Holehird has become an extremely popular knowledge source for gardeners from across the region. Holehird garden is set in 10 acres, with superb views west across Lake Windermere to the peaks of Langdale and the Lake District National Park.

Among the varieties of plants on display are specimen trees and shrubs, and there is a lovely walled garden area. A special area called The Paddock is set aside for plant trials, where new varieties are grown in a test environment.

Visitors enter into the Walled Garden, with herbaceous borders around the edges, and a lawned area in the middle, divided by avenues of plant beds. This area was originally the kitchen garden for Holehird Manor, and later an orchard.

Now it is home to shade-loving plants along the north wall, and more sun-tolerant varieties to the south and east. The central beds are planted to produce colourful displays from spring to autumn frosts.

There are sweeping views of the surrounding hills
There are sweeping views of the surrounding hills

There is also a Mediterranean area full of richly scented plants. The Walled Garden is bounded by the Outer Gardens, providing year-round interest. A stream runs through the site, falling over a cascade and into a small pond. Below the entrance is the Lower Garden, rich in hydrangeas and colourful summer blossoms.

A pathway leads from the Lower Terrace across a sloping field to a small tarn, where lily pads proliferate in summer.

We somehow missed visiting Holehird on our first few trips to the Lake District. I wish we hadn’t waited, as the garden is wonderful, redolent in colour and glorious scents. On our latest visit, we came when the astilbe was at its best, and the colours were astonishing.

The location provides a perfect setting. Holehird is highly recommended whether you have a green thumb or simply enjoy a stroll through pleasant gardens.

Lily pads in the tarn
Lily pads in the tarn

Getting There

Holehird is well signposted off the A592 just outside Windermere. From the A592 junction with the A591 at the northern edge of Windermere simply follow the brown tourist signs to the garden. The garden shares an entrance with Holehird Manor, and when we visited the Manor gates were closed.

Don't be put off - the gates are sensitive to vehicles and will open - slowly - if you wait. There is a large, free parking area just outside the garden entrance and there are free maps for visitors inside the walled garden.

More Photos

About Holehird
Address: Patterdale Road, Windermere, Cumbria, England, LA23 1NP
Attraction Type: Garden
Location: 2 m N Windermere, off A592
Website: Holehird
Email: enquiries@holehirdgardens.org.uk
Location map
OS: NY410 009
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express


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