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Renowned for its glistening waters and rolling fells, the castles of the Lake District are one of the regions best kept secrets.

Ancient ruins, impressive architecture, and landscaped grounds promise days filled with adventure. Years of rich history await exploration here.

Read on to uncover the history of these fascinating Lake District castles…

Lowther Castle & Gardens, Lowther

A front facing view of Lowther Castle

Having undergone a £9 million restoration, Lowther Castle sits proudly at the top of our list. After being partly demolished and left to ruin since 1957, this Lake District castle has since been restored to its former glory.

Entrance includes a tour of the castle ruins, planted by celebrity gardener Dan Pearson, and the Story of Lowther exhibition. Get an insight into the history of this wondrous and mystical place and learn more about the Lowther family, who occupied the castle since 1150.

Let your imagination run wild as you journey through the ruins, picturesque gardens, and secluded woodland. And be sure to look out for the sweeping Lakeland views on display from the Jubilee Summer House.

Lowther Castle Gardens Summer House

Sitting within the enchanting castle grounds is one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds, aptly named the lost castle. Lose yourself in a whizz of excitement before refueling at the on-site café.

Lowther Castle has a creative and exciting events calendar, including outdoor theatre performances and gardening masterclasses. As a dog-friendly attraction, this is one that the whole family can enjoy!

Voted large visitor attraction of the year 2018 in the Cumbria tourism awards, Lowther Castle is a must on your magical tour of the Lake District.

Address: Lowther Castle & Gardens, Lowther, Penrith, CA10 2HH
Facilities: Toilets, cafes, on-site parking & electric charging point.
Pet-friendly: Dogs are welcome on leads, but not permitted on the lost castle adventure playground.

Kendal Castle, Kendal

The ruins of Kendal Castle and the surrounding fields

The ruins of Kendal Castle stand proudly on a drumlin above Kendal’s skyline, with a fascinating history dating back to the 12th century.

Kendal Castle was the seat of supremacy for the barons of Kendal for over 200 years. Most notable tennants include Henry VIII and his only surviving wife, Katherine Parr. The castle fell into a state of ruin following the death of the last baron in 1571. Only parts of the castle wall and tower remain today.

This Lake District castle is accessed via a steep ascent, rewarding visitors with breathtaking views from the top. The surrounding landscape and historical significance of the castle make this well worth visitng.

Ruins of Manor Hall at Kendal Castle

Take a stroll through the ruins, let your imagination wonder, and envisage what life was like all those years ago. The hill makes for a lovely spot to tuck into a picnic, relax and marvel at the stunning panoramic views.

Amble down to the lower slopes where you’ll find wooded walks and sculpture seats commissioned by the artist Alain Ayers. The perfect place to rest your weary legs after exploring Kendal Castle and its historic market town.

Address: Kendal Castle, Sunnyside, Kendal, LA9 7DJ
Facilities: Facilities available in Kendal
Pet-friendly: Yes

Sizergh Castle, Kendal

A front facing view of a pond and Sizergh Castle

An impressive stately home standing proud at the gateway to the Lake District. Sizergh Castle has been home to the Strickland family for over 750 years. The fortified mansion has many tales to tell, boasting some of the finest Elizabethan carved ornamentals in the country.

There’s much to explore throughout the 647-hectare estate. A network of trails lead through the formal grounds, perfect for an afternoon stroll. Expect to see limestone pastures, peaceful orchards and natural woodlands along the way.

Beautifully landscaped gardens surround the castle. Here you’ll find a glistening lake, enchanting wildflowers, and a quirky rock garden. For the little ones, there’s a wild play trail where they can run free and let their imaginations soar!

At the end of an action-packed day, head to the lovely little on-site café to refuel on coffee and cake. Here you can take a moment to reflect over your magical day spent at Sizergh Castle.

Address: Sizergh Castle, Sizergh, Kendal, LA8 8DZ
Facilities: Toilets, baby change, cafe, shop and on-site parking.
Pet-friendly: Dogs are welcome on leads, but not permitted within the formal gardens.

Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass

A view of Muncaster Castle

Next on our list is Muncaster Castle, a privately-owned castle tucked away on the outskirts of Ravenglass. Built in 1258, this historic, haunted castle is the jewel in the crown of Western Lake District.

Many renovations have been made to this Lake District castle over the course of its long history. Nearly every period of history is represented in one way or another, making for an especially interesting stop for tourists

The castles 77-acre gardens are decorated in colourful wildflowers, towering woodlands and landscaped lawns. Theres even an Owl & Hawk Centre offering handling experiences and flying displays! 

Bird Handler holding a hawk at Muncaster Castle

Entrance to the castle is through the Great Hall, where the intricate architectural history, grandeur and great age becomes apparent. You’ll find splendid state rooms, sophisticated artwork and furniture spanning the history of the Pennington family’s residency.

Audio tours are available, narrated by members of the family, guiding you through the castles public rooms and seasonal exhibitions.

Address: Muncaster Castle, Ravenglass, CA18 1RQ
Facilities: Toilets, cafe, gift shop and on-site parking.
Pet-friendly: Dogs are not permitted within the castle or the Hawk & Owl Centre

Tempted to uncover the fascinating history of these Lake District castles for yourself? Browse our wonderful collection of cottages in the Lake District and secure your base today!

For more inspiration on how to explore this wondrous region, give our guide on the best walks in the Lake District a read.

Images courtesy of: Oliver Dixon(CC BY-SA 2.0); Ambersky235 – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0); Chris Heaton(CC BY-SA 2.0); Stephen Craven(CC BY-SA 2.0)

This blog has been updated from original content written by Lakelovers