History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Holker Hall is a superb Victorian house built on a grand scale in a style best described as neo-Elizabethan. It is the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish, and despite the richness of the interior, this is very much a family home.
The first house on this site was built in the early 16th century. In 1756 the estate passed to the Cavendish family, Dukes of Devonshire, and Cavendish family portraits abound throughout the house. Among the portraits is that of William, father of the 7th Duke, who was killed in the grounds of Holker after a fall from a dogcart. Among the family paintings is a self-portrait of Van Dyck, court painter to Charles I.
In 1871 a disastrous fire broke out at Holker, and the entire west wing was lost. Servants and family members made an extraordinary effort to save the house contents while the fire raged around them, but when the flames died it was obvious that a new house was needed.
The result is the Hall we see today, from the outside a typical Victorian country house, with bay windows, towers and cupolas projecting at every turn, but inside much is still based on the Georgian house, a house of elegance and refinement.
The New Wing houses enjoyable collections of furniture, fine art, and decorative arts. Of special note is an Estate Rent Table by Chippendale, and the collection of 3500 books. The cantilevered grand staircase is a work of art in its own right. The staircase was hand-carved by workers on the Holker estate, and each baluster is completely unique.
Holker Hall is located on the Cartmel Peninsula, which extends out into Morecambe Bay. The location proves a wonderful climate for Holker's lush gardens, which cover 24 acres of woodland and formal garden areas.
The gardens are an intriguing mix of Italianate design with English tradition, with 200-year-old parkland, woodland walks, a sunken garden, rose gardens, azaleas, rhododendron, and spring bulbs. Specimens are well labelled. The deer park stretches to over 125 acres of attractive walks, and there is a special Potting Shed Gardening History Exhibition.
The house interiors are fascinating, and the fine art is wonderful, but my abiding memory of Holker Hall is the gardens. There is so much variety and so many unusual and eye-catching features, including a stepped cascade, a modern set of standing stones arranged around a spiral, and classical and modern sculpture scattered at advantageous viewpoints throughout the gardens.
There really is so much to see and admire. Holker is easily one of the best stately home gardens I have visited in England.
LAKELAND MOTOR MUSEUM
The third of Holker's trio of attractions, this award-winning museum houses over 20,000 articles ranging from advertising posters and petrol pumps to vintage motorcycles, cars, tractors, bicycles, and pedal cars.
Within the museum is the Campbell Legend Bluebird Exhibition, the largest museum devoted to the exploits of land and water speed record breakers Malcolm and Donald Campbell. The museum includes replicas of the Campbell's record-breaking 1935 Bluebird car and Bluebird K7 hydroplane.MOTOR MUSEUM IMAGES
About Holker Hall
Address: Cark-in-Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, England, LA11 7PL
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 4 m W Grange-over-Sands, on B5278
Website: Holker Hall
Historic Houses Association
OS: SD359 773
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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NEARBY HISTORIC ATTRACTIONS
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low to exceptional) on historic interest
Cartmel Priory Church - 1.4 miles (Historic Church)
Cartmel Priory Gatehouse - 1.4 miles (Abbey)
Hoad Monument - 4.1 miles (Historic Building)
Laurel and Hardy Museum - 4.5 miles (Museum)
Swarthmoor Hall - 4.8 miles (Historic House)
Lakeland Motor Museum - 4.9 miles (Museum)
Arnside and Silverdale - 5.6 miles (Countryside)
Halecat House & Gardens - 6 miles (Garden)
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