Just a ten-minute drive from Hawthorns, Gresgarth Hall is a popular place to visit, particularly for garden lovers. A fusion of the Italians’ impeccable sense of style with the British expertise with plants, it’s considered one of the finest private gardens open to the public.
When it comes to things to do in Lancashire for plant lovers and garden enthusiasts, Gresgarth must come very high on the list.
The landscape is the handiwork of Arabella Lennox-Boyd, the internationally renowned garden designer. Winner of many gold medals at the Chelsea Flower Show (including Best in Show), and creator of gardens for celebrities such as Sting and Sir Terence Conran, she’s considered one of the very best of British garden designers.
Gresgarth Hall has been her home for decades, which has given time for the twelve acres of gardens to mature into a spectacular display of plants and features.
It’s small enough to explore in just a couple of hours, with enough variety to hold your attention for much longer. Many visitors choose to go back over and over, to experience how the gardens change through the seasons.
The gardens are open on the second Sunday of every month from February through to November from 11am.
The gardens of Gresgarth Hall
The short drive from Hawthorns to Gresgarth takes you into the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is an appropriate setting for Gresgarth Hall. Its twelve-acre gardens and arboretum sit either side of the Artle Beck, a tributary of the River Lune, set in a wider landscape of glorious Lancashire countryside.
There are at least ten different garden areas at Gresgarth, ranging from the ordered house terraces, through to the spread of trees and shrubs, along with the very practical vegetable garden.
The combination means there’s plenty to discover and enjoy as you wander the various paths. Here are just some of the different gardens you’ll be able to enjoy.
The long herbaceous borders at Gresgarth are designed to burst with colour—pinks and blues, burgundy to deep blue, cooling to white as the border reaches the lime walk.
The wild garden and spring borders area mixes primulas and herbaceous planting with shrubs including magnolias. The grasses, trees and other planting have been put together to ensure there’s something of interest all year round.
Lake and Pond
Water is a major feature of the Gresgarth Hall experience and wherever you are in the garden, you can hear it flowing. The garden is in a small river valley, and has been designed to make the most of the movement, reflections and shimmer that it brings with it.
The garden includes a number of features, including the Meta Sudans. When you reach this spring-fed conical structure in its glade of slim white trees, you’re enjoying a monument inspired by a fountain in ancient Rome. The original stood near the dramatic Colosseum, while this one enjoys a quieter location in the Lancashire woodland.
A thick planting of rhododendrons, using many different species, ensures there’s plenty of colour right through their season until July. It’s a treat for anyone who loves the glory of this spectacular plant.
The facilities at Gresgarth Hall
Families are welcome at Gresgarth, with under 16s getting in for no charge (accompanied by an adult). Tea, coffee and snacks are available. Visitors in the winter months (February, March and November) get a cup of hot chocolate included in their entry price.
The gardens feature a lake, ponds and a river, so please take care with small children. The river includes a stepping stone crossing.
Members of Historic Houses looking for a day out in Lancashire can get into Gresgarth for no extra charge.
Many of the gardens are accessible by wheelchair, but there are a few restricted areas. Accessible toilets are available. It’s not somewhere to take your dog, unless it’s a guide dog. The house is not open to visitors.
During your visit, you’ll have a chance to stock up on garden plants from stalls run by various local nurseries.
Car parking is free.
Ideal for holiday home escapes
Because Gresgarth Hall is so nearby, we recommend it as an easy outing on a Sunday. Having a world-class garden so close at hand is just one of the perks of owning your holiday home at Hawthorns.