Sizergh Castle and Garden
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
Sizergh has been home to the Strickland family for over 760 years, and for many of those years the family played a major role in national events. For example, a Strickland carried the English banner at Agincourt. But a gradual decline in family fortunes during the 17th century - in part through support for the Jacobite cause - left the Stricklands short of the money needed to renovate Sizergh in tune with prevailing fashions.
And for that, we should be grateful, for since the family lacked the wealth to follow fashion, Sizergh has remained an almost unaltered example of an Elizabethan manor, like its near neighbour Levens Hall.
The core of the castle is a 14th-century pele tower and hall, but a superb Tudor house was built around the tower, with wings flanking a central courtyard. In the Elizabethan period the house gained wonderfully carved interiors of oak, including the finest overmantels in England. Around 1770 the great hall range was expanded and given a Georgian facelift and the Victorian owners extended the porch to allow carriages to drive under it. Thus, passengers could alight in comfort, protected from the elements.
The second-floor tower room is illuminated by 15th-century trefoil windows, and you can still see the adze marks on the roof-hewn floorboards. The finest room on view is the Inlaid Chamber, which boasts excellent period furniture and exquisite Elizabethan panelling inlaid with poplar and bog oak. The panels depict Italian Renaissance themes and seem to glitter and shine with inlay.
At a low ebb in the family fortune during the 19th century the entire room was sold by the Stricklands to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London for GBP 1,000. The V&A has loaned the panelling back to the family so that it can be displayed in its original setting. The ceiling is a symphony of drooping plaster pendants, and there are panels of medieval glass in the windows.
The Dining Room (the original medieval Great Chamber) has mementoes from the Strickland exile in Paris during the Jacobite period, when Lady Strickland acted as governess to James Stuart, 'The Old Pretender'. There is a portrait of the young James, and a bust of his son, Bonnie Prince Charlie.
Sizergh Castle is surrounded by beautiful gardens, featuring a limestone rock garden, pasture land, and woodlands which support a large butterfly population.
Note: you will see that most of our photos are of the gardens, as when we visited there was temporary scaffolding covering much of the house in order to do some essential maintenance work. We'll make an effort to return and get more photos of the house itself now that it is free from scaffolding!
About Sizergh Castle
Address: Sizergh, Kendal, Lake District, Cumbria, England, LA8 8DZ
Attraction Type: Historic House
Location: 3 m SW Kendal, off A590 and A591
Website: Sizergh Castle
Phone: 01539 560951
National Trust - see also: National Trust memberships (official website link)
OS: SD498 878
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
Levens Hall - 1.7 miles (Historic House)
Abbot Hall - 2.9 miles (Museum)
Castle Howe - 2.9 miles (Castle)
Kendal Castle - 3.2 miles (Castle)
Arnside and Silverdale - 7.1 miles (Countryside)
Fell Foot Park - 7.2 miles (Countryside)
Blackwell, the Arts and Crafts House - 7.3 miles (Historic Building)
Stott Park Bobbin Mill - 7.7 miles (Museum)
Nearest Accommodation to Sizergh Castle: