Lake District Castles
Exploring Dark & Mysterious Places in the Lake District
It is around this time of year, when the clocks are going back, that our Lake District castles really start to come to spooky life.
Muncaster Castle takes the claim as Britain’s most haunted castle and their ticket entry Halloween Week events are coveted. In the north Lakes, Lowther Castle’s The Ghosts of Lowther and their Bonfire Firework display events have also become spectacles not to be missed.
For those looking for avoid the Halloween high jinx, we’ve picked Sizegh Castle. Enjoy our guide to the top 3 Lake District castles.
We’re starting the blog off with this one because it is the Lake District’s largest castle that is not a ruin. In fact, together with its beautiful gardens Muncaster Castle is a popular Lake District wedding venue.
Owned by the Pennington family (who still reside at the castle) for the last 800 years, Muncaster Castle occupies a unique coastal position on the Lake District’s south-west Ravenglass estuary and is said to have been built on the location of a Roman site. Ravenglass would have likely been an important harbour and the nearby Ravenglass Roman Bath House, owned by English Heritage, sets the tone for this very impressive privately owned castle.
To add to the drama, running from the highest mountain in England, Scafell, the River Esk flows down the Eskdale Valley and runs below the towering Muncaster Castle, giving Muncaster Castle the most dramatic views of any in Cumbria castle.
A busy events calendar is run from the well-manicured lawn gardens at Muncaster Castle, including their popular hawk and owl displays, haunted castle tours for Halloween, Christmas Tea, Muncaster Festival (running annually over May season) and Food & Drink Festivals. Halloween Week tickets are currently on sale and are a very popular Lake District Halloween attraction.
Ticket prices to Muncaster Castle include access to 77 acres of woodland and gardens – the bluebell woods are popular in spring, there’s an outdoor Adventure Playground and Enchanted Trail for kids. Indoors, take in the 40-minute audio guided tour and also inside, kids love the The Meadowvole Maze, which turns rather spooky for Halloween. Throughout the year there are birds of prey displays and ticket entry includes access to the Hawk & Owl Centre too. This is a dog friendly Lake District attraction, with the exception of inside the Castle and the Hawk & Owl centre.
Muncaster Castle is 1-hour by road from Lakelovers Ambleside Cottages
We’d also recommend a visit to Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – Lakelovers’ customers can claim a 50% off voucher for Ullswater Steamers (sister attraction) when a ticket is purchased from Ravenglass and Eskadale Railway.
Lowther Castle, Penrith
Lowther Castle is a newcomer to the tourist itinerary having undergone £9 million restoration, and reopened to the public in 2011 after being partly demolished and left to ruin since 1957. In 2000 the Lowther Estate, together with English Heritage, commissioned a review and the Lowther Castle & Garden Conservation Plan was put in place for one of the most extensive restoration plans in northern Cumbria. Since 2007, the charity Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust continues to grow this popular public attraction.
Entrance prices include the castle ruins (planted up by celebrity gardener Dan Pearson), an engaging The Story of Lowther exhibition, one of the UK’s largest adventure playgrounds (the lost castle), and 130 acres of gardens and estate, also designed managed by Dan Pearson. This is a dog friendly attraction with dog permitted throughout. On the estate, look out for dramatic sweeping Lakeland views from the Jubilee Summer House, the newly planted Rose Garden, the Countess Garden and Summer House, Orchard, Alpine Garden, tree swings, vast wild flower meadows and peaceful pond.
In the exhibition, prepare to be amused as you journey through the castle’s colourful history, including meeting former owner the Yellow Earl, so called as he adorned all that he could in the bright hue, including his livery, carriages, motor cars, dogs and a hot-house to grow yellow gardenias for his buttonhole.
Winner of the Cumbria Tourism Awards 2018 large visitor attraction of the year, Lowther Castle has a creative and exciting events calendar including October half term family events, grown-up spooky Halloween festivities, pumpkin carving, spectacular foodie Bonfire Night celebrations and an upmarket Christmas market.
Present a Lakelovers’ key fob when visiting Lowther Castle and receive an exclusive Lakelovers Recommends 10% discount on entry prices.
Sizergh Castle, Kendal
Set in the wildlife rich landscape of the Lyth Valley in the south Lake District and with 1,600 acres of land, the most popular activity from Sizergh Castle Estate are their estate and garden walks. Visitors return throughout the year for garden only tickets, of which are free to National Trust members. Sizergh Castle gardens include the National Trust’s largest limestone rock garden, wildflowers and water garden including two lakes, woodland walks, and follow the National Trust Wildlife Walk to enjoy the rich agricultural landscape of the Lyth Valley. Other popular walks include the The Sizergh Fell walk.
There’s also a kitchen garden and greenhouse to explore and then you can enjoy a ‘taste of Sizergh’ by returning to the contemporary cafe, where the menu is designed around produce from the garden.
Lived in for the last 750 years by the Strickland family and now owned by the National Trust, today Sizergh Castle is more of an Elizabethan manor house than a castle and the estate actually only joined the Lake District in 2016 when the National Park’s boundary was extended. In fact, it was only in the 19th century when Sizergh Hall started to take on the name of Sizergh Castle.
Enjoy delicious seasonal food in the cafe and over the winter months take in events such as Carlie the Cat’s Autumn Trails, Wreath Making and Meet Father Christmas
With over 76 luxury Windermere Cottages we’re sure you’ll find what you’re looking for.