Potterdale Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1NP
Telephone: 015394 46008
Review by John Lea - June 2011
Although I haven't visited for three years I believe that for anyone holidaying in the Lake District these gardens are too good to miss. I checked in May 2011 that these facts are up-to-date.
Managed by the Lakeland Horticultural Society this beautiful 17 acre garden is maintained entirely by volunteers. They claim that in the national press it is frequently voted as one of the country's favourite Gardens.
Open daily from dawn until dusk throughout the year, but wardens are only available between 10am and 5pm from April to October. There is no set entrance fee, just make a donation - suggestion £3. Ridiculous, all this for the price of a cup of tea. Not that you will get a cup of tea because there are no tea rooms, just one manual wheelchair for hire and a good disabled loo. Do not get the impression that this is a small amateur garden. These are serious garden where all the investment and effort has been put into plants and gardening with stunning success.
There is also a Leonard Cheshire nursing home next to the site with separate gardens that are clearly marked private.
The drive up, being quite narrow and bendy, is unsuitable for coaches. They would have to park on the road, leaving a long walk but a car can get right to the garden. One area of the garden is level but the main flower beds, in the walled garden, are on a sloping site with about a 15 yd. long slope up from the first car park. If you drive on past the first car park there is a second with disabled parking and a much kinder slope into where 4 or 5 central beds lie parallel to each other across the slope. It is easy for a manual chair to travel on hard packed paths along each bed; but there is a slight push up to the next bed. Around the outsider of those are fantastic mixed borders. If you wish to do a full tour of the garden there are steps but there are routes around them. I had no difficulties getting round in a powered wheelchair.
When we visited in September, four years ago, they were a riot of colour with a fascinating mixture of herbaceous plants. Of course it is more than just herbaceous, there are shrubs, bulbs and roses. The volunteers (who love to talk about ‘their’ garden) claim an abundance of colour all through the season. And I believe them. We were astounded at how beautiful they were.
The gardens include national collections of Astilbe, Hydrangea and Polystichum. We saw the hydrangea collection in full flower and the range of shapes and colours fascinated me. Most of them are listed by name and photograph on their web site.
These gardens lie high on a hillside so don't miss the views out across the fells, any time of the year just look out across the countryside, it is a ‘wow’ moment.
Kendal, Cumbria, LA8 0PD
Telephone: 01539 560321
Review by Colin and Pat Dixon
Quite disabled friendly.
Gravel paths which are ok for pneumatic tyred scooters, but not suitable for solid tyres. However there is one pneumatic tyred scooter for hire by prior arrangement.
Good shop and refreshment place plus a disabled toilet.
Beautiful topiary and flower beds.