|Lowther Castle and the ruined gardens|
The ruined castle and gardens at Lowther stand on a limestone escarpment at the Northern edge of the Lake District National Park, three miles from the M6, junction 40. The 130 acre, Grade II* listed site contains the remnants of at least three significant buildings and an abandoned garden - one of England's greatest gardens, once famous, but unseen for 70 years.
For the first visitors, there'll be limited facilities but the opportunity to discover a garden that few have seen, and to see the conservation craftsmen and women at work on the castle and in the gardens. The huge two-storey stable courtyard will take a year to convert into a visitor centre, the castle and a gallery will take three years and the gardens 20 to 25 years. It's one of the largest such projects in Britain. Find out More about the gardens today
The gardens had lain largely derelict since 1938.
Lowther Castle has been abandoned for decades, a combination of the First World War and profligacy starting its decline into ruins but a charitable trust was set up around 2008 to raise money to bring it back to life.
The Lowther Castle and Gardens Trust has leased the castle and gardens from the Lowther Estate Trust from a peppercorn rent.
The charity's Patron is Lord Melvyn Bragg and the trustees are Bryan Gray, Sir Neil Cossons, Jim Lowther, David Taylor and David Horton-Fawkes.
They plan to open the castle and gardens to the public permanently, creating a magical garden, opening up the central tower and establishing shopping and eating facilities in the stables. The castle remains a very fragile structure and is out of bounds for safety reasons, although there are plans to re-open part of that in the future.
The current castle, which is a Gothic folly, is the third major building to have stood on the beautiful Lowther Estate between Penrith and Shap. Designed by Sir Robert Smirke for the 5th Earl of Lonsdale Hugh Lowther, it was completed in 1816 but records show there was a settlement there more than 1,000 years ago.