Through the Viewfinder
And What Alice Found There
The Lake District has well and truly been spoilt so far this summer with some of the best weather I’ve seen in years! It’s the ideal time to get out hiking, camping and swimming and make the most of being outdoors. However, these activities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and sometimes it’s just too hot to do anything strenuous! So if a pleasant stroll is more your kind of thing or you need to give your legs a break from the mountains then Sizergh Castle could be the answer you’re looking for. This fantastic stately home is nestled among gorgeous Alice-in-Wonderland-style gardens with numerous hidden gems to discover...
No matter what time of the year you visit Sizergh the gardens always seem to be full of life. Birds flit from tree to tree, insects buzz around the flowers, sheep graze in the neighbouring fields and fish swim around the rock pools. If you visit during spring look out for baby birds, including the resident family of swans that live on the pond! But don’t get too close – they are very protective of their young!
2. Secret Gardens
The gardens of Sizergh are a day out in themselves, never mind the castle! Pathways wind in amongst the trees leading to secret little gardens, revealing something different around every corner. There’s always new paths to discover and you’ll likely not walk around the gardens the same way twice! Explore the rockery, orchard, pond & woodland and not forgetting the mini topiary garden which always reminds me of Alice in Wonderland where they’re painting the roses red for the Queen! From the car park you can also take part in a Wild Trail which takes you through the woodland on an interactive play trail – just as fun for adults as it is for kids!
3. Seats with a view
If you need a break from wandering the many garden paths or you want to take a minute to absorb the beauty around you, then you won’t be short of good places to sit! Every bench hidden within Sizergh gardens has a fantastic view, whether that be overlooking the pond, peeking through the trees or perched next to a rock pool this place certainly offers some of the best seats in the house!
When visiting in spring and summer you’ll be rewarded with a stunning array of colour and scents from the many flowers and plants growing at Sizergh, alive with the hum of insects. All sorts of weird and wonderful things grow here – even in the autumn the gardens are lit up with orange and red colours and the snowdrops come out in the winter to create a blanket of white all around.
The orchard is a lovely, quiet spot at the far end of the gardens and is a perfect place for a picnic. Bathed in daffodils in the spring and buttercups in the summer it really feels like a little bit of wilderness in amongst the rest of the neat and tidy gardens. It’s also home to a small flock of friendly chickens – watch them peck around or take a wander through the fruit trees and see if you can spot the beehives.
6. Vegetable & Herb Garden
Who knew you could grow so many different things in a relatively small space?! Sweet peas, salad leaves, herbs and vegetables of all shapes and sizes grow in Sizergh’s vegetable patches – including some quite large pumpkins in the autumn! It’s fascinating to see all the different varieties of common herbs and vegetables that grow here – see if you can spot your favourites!
7. Plant Stall
At the far end of the vegetable garden stands a small DIY plant stall where you can pick up a bargain if you’re lucky! Plants and herbs from the gardens are on sale here, with an honesty box for payments. What a lovely idea!
8. Second Hand Bookstore
If anybody loves books as much as I do then you’ll understand my excitement when I discovered the second hand bookstore on my latest visit to Sizergh! Located in what appears to be a run down, abandoned barn this petite little shop is the perfect hideaway for some quiet reading, or pop some change into the honesty box and the books are yours to keep!
9. The Cat!
As a big cat lover this is reason enough to visit somewhere! If I know there's the chance of a feline cuddle then I’m straight there! Fellow cat lovers, look out for the resident kitty who patrols the gardens – when he’s not on guard duty he can sometimes be spotted taking a nap in the shade! If you’re lucky he’ll come and say hello, but sometimes he’s just too worn out to bat an eyelid!
10. The House
Although the gardens are amazing, if you’ve never visited Sizergh before then you can’t go without a visit to the house itself! The Grade I listed building is a romantic stately home, still lived in by the Strickland family. Inside you can discover the history of the house and it’s inhabitants with some amazing portraits on the walls and beautiful artefacts on display. It’s hard to imagine a modern day family still living here but the mixture of old and new is lovely, with recent family portraits sitting alongside the paintings of their ancestors.
So if you haven't already visited then put Sizergh on your list of things to do in the Lakes. It's always a favourite with so much on offer - I haven't even mentioned the woodland walks, cafe and shop also on site! What's your favourite thing about Sizergh Castle?