10 wild gardens in the North of England

Gorgeous places for lovers of plants and gardens, from the Peak District to the Dales and Lakeland. By Tania Pascoe – author of Wild Garden Weekends

Published: July 2nd, 2015 at 11:11 am



1. Haddon Hall

The renovated gardens surrounding medieval Haddon Hall are incredibly romantic, its terraces overflowing with roses, herbs and cottage-garden blooms. The meadows, too, offer a wonderful array of summer wildflower species typical of the area. Please note there is only combined entry to the house and garden.

A6 Haddon Rd, Bakewell, Derbyshire DE45 1LA. Open: May-Sept, daily, noon to 5pm; Easter-Apr & Oct, Sat, Sun, Mon, noon to 5pm.

2. Tatton Park Kitchen Garden

Head straight for Tatton’s treasured kitchen garden and you will be in for a treat. Hidden behind its brick walls lie orchards and long rows of abundant vegetables, and multiple glasshouses and hothouses for growing everything from pineapples, grapes, and peaches, to tomatoes and aubergines.

Ashley Road, Rostherne Drive, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN. Apr-Oct, daily, 10-6pm; Nov-Mar, Tue-Sun & bank holidays, 10am-4pm.

3. Dove Cottage

In just one-third of an acre on a northerly slope is the fantastic showcase for Dove Cottage nursery’s much-loved grasses and late-flowering perennials. If you seek some naturalistic, late-season colour and winter structure, this is the place to come.

Shibden Hall Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire HX3 9XA. Open: Jun, Wed-Sun; Jul-Sept, Wed-Sat, 10am-5pm. Nursery open from March.

4. Parcevall Hall

Hidden in the heart of rugged Wharfedale, the gardens of Parcevall Hall cling to the steep, rocky slopes of the Dales. Its woodland gardens and wide terraces were carved out of the hillside in the 1930s by visionary plantsman William Milner.

Skyreholme, Skipton, North Yorkshire BD23 6DE. Open: Apr-Oct, daily, 10am-6pm.

5. National Wildflower Centre

Located just outside Liverpool, the Landlife National Wildflower Centre has acres of stunning gardens, a café, and an educational centre. Its aim is to promote the importance of wildflower landscapes, both as vital habitat for wildlife as well as spaces for people to enjoy.

Signed off A5080 Roby Road. Court Hey Park, Roby Road, Liverpool, Merseyside. Open: Apr-Sept, daily, 10am-5pm.

6. Brantwood

On the edge of Coniston, with superb lake views, are the home and ‘wild gardens’ of writer, artist, social reformer, and lover of nature, John Ruskin. The organic Brantwood estate covers over 250 acres and offers miles of magical trails through its ancient woodland, moor and meadow.

Coniston, Cumbria, LA21 8AD. Open: mid-Mar to mid-Nov, daily, 10.30am-5pm, winter Wed-Sun, 10.30am-4pm.

7. Dalemain

Dalemain is understated, romantic, and overflowing with the charm of a bygone era. The gardens were bursting with colour and scent when we visited in July – the roses were still in bloom and the white garden was particularly enchanting. There is a lovely tea room in the Medieval Hall.

Dalemain, Penrith, CA11 0HB. Apr-Oct, Sun-Thu, 10.30-5pm; Nov & Dec, 11-3pm.

8. Sizergh Castle

In the same family for over 700 years a special sense of intimacy pervades Sizergh’s gardens. Discover the national collection of hardy ferns, an organic kitchen garden, bee-filled orchards, historic parkland and Sizergh’s much celebrated limestone rock garden.

Sizergh, near Kendal, Cumbria Nav LA8 8DZ. Daily 10am-5pm; 4pm in winter.

9. Acorn Bank

17th-century Acorn Bank is a showcase for the vast array of medicinal and culinary plants that add colour, form and nectar to our gardens. Its gardens invite us to rediscover their healing properties. See flour being milled at the renovated watermill at Crowdundle Beck.

1 mile N Temple Sowerby off A66, Penrith CA10 1SP. Open : mid-Mar to Oct, daily (not Tue), 10am-5pm, Nov, Dec Sat & Sun 11am-4pm.

10. Levens Hall

Nothing can detract from the majesty of Levens Hall’s gargantuan beech hedges and the humour of its historic topiary – 100 beautifully clipped specimens of the oldest and finest topiary in the world – but there is much more to admire, including some very creative vegetable plantings.

Off the A6, 6 miles S of Kendal, Cumbria LA8 0PD. Open: Apr to early Oct, Sun-Thu, 10am-5pm.

Wild Garden Weekends: Explore the secret gardens, wild meadows and kitchen garden cafés of Britain by Tania Pascoe (wildthingspublishing.com, £16.99) is available from all good bookshops.

To get 25% off and buy Wild Gardens Weekends for just £12.75 (instead of £16.99), including free delivery, go to www.wildthingspublishing.com and enter 'Wild Garden Weekends' as your coupon code.


Main image credit: JTB Photo/ Contributor


Sian Lewis is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer and blogger who focuses on sharing beginner-friendly adventures in the wildest corners of Britain.


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