1809 | The English Lakes

Little will prepare you for the beauty and splendour of this most exquisite corner of England

The Lake District, this northwest corner of England, is one of the most beautiful corners of Britain and - indisputably - the jewel of the English landscape. I grew up just south of the Lake District and I spent much of my teenage life walking and camping on its mountains, climbing its crags and messing about on its water - it was my home-from-home and I love showing it off to visitors.

This tour takes you to the very best of the Lake District's excellent gardens, it shows off the beauty of each distinct part of Lakeland and it touches upon its unique cultural background, some of its vast history and the lives of some of its more famous residents.

The Lake District
Measuring some 36x36 miles/60x60 kms, the Lake District is a mountainous upland area in north-west England. Its mountains - commonly referred to as fells, or collectively as the Lakeland Fells - were shaped by glaciation and are separated by ribbon lakes radiating outward from a central massif. There is a great deal of information published about the Lake District, but you may like to start here, with some facts and figures and the websites of the Lake District National Park, the official Lake District Tourist Board and an interactive map.

Sleeping & Eating
This year we are staying at Rothay Manor - one of only four British hotels to appear in each edition of the Good Hotel Guide since its inception in 1978! It is supremely comfortable, and comfortably traditional, without being too stuffy, and serves excellent food. Importantly, it is superbly located in Ambleside, in the very heart of the Lake District.

We dine out on three evenings, firstly at the wonderful Hare & Hounds pub in Bowland Bridge, secondly at The Pheasant round the corner from Bassenthwaite Lake and, finally, at one of several our favourite pubs, depending upon where we end up, on Sunday afternoon.

For more information about the accommodation and eateries on this tour, including TripAdvisor reports, please see the Lake District section of Sleeping & Eating, here.

Please let us know if any of the website links become dysfunctional. Thank you.

At a glance
A scenic garden tour
11 gardens including:
Free day on Windermere
Max group size 12
Levens Hall
Lake cruises
Holker Hall
William Wordsworth museum
Excellent food & hotel
John Ruskin museum
Private guided garden visit
Yewbarrow House
Fully escorted
Day 1 | Friday, 22 June

Heathrow, Easton Walled Garden, the Pennine Hills & the Lakes

Tim will collect you from either Stansted Airport or from the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, immediately north of Terminal 5, Heathrow Airport and, once we are all together, we drive north to the Lake District, stopping at Easton Walled Garden, for an early lunch and a stroll around this enchanting garden, and then onwards into Yorkshire, crossing the Pennine Hills to Skipton, for a break and a cup of tea in this bustling market town in the heart of the Pennines.

Alternatively, you may wish to join us at Oxenholme Railway Station, just outside the Lakeland town of Kendal.

From Skipton it's not far to Oxenholme Railway Station, where we will meet those who have arrived by train from London, and all proceed into the Lake District, arriving at Rothay Manor in time to check-in, find our rooms and re-assemble for drinks and dinner at Rothay Manor.

It is about 330 miles/530 km from Heathrow to Rothay Manor, and I plan to depart the Heathrow area no later than 8am

Friday, 22 June
Sweetpeas at Easton Walled Garden, courtesy of Gwen Doyle
Day 2 | Saturday, 23 June

Coniston, NGS Gardens & the western fells

We meander through Grizedale Forest for a morning visit to Brantwood, the former home of John Ruskin, the Victorian artist, poet, philosopher, philanthropist, prestigious writer and much else besides, and we spend the morning in his garden and home, learning a little of his life and of his legacy.

After lunch, at Brantwood, we plan to visit a garden, or gardens, open for charity under the National Garden Scheme (NGS), but as their 'Yellow Book' - their annual publication of such openings - isn't published until February 2018, I don't quite know where we will end up; save only to say, there will almost certainly be a choice of gardens to see on a June weekend afternoon.

We will dine at one of any number of wonderful Lakeland pubs, depending upon which garden we go to.

Today's total driving is about 60 miles/100 km

Saturday, 23 June
John Ruskin's Lakeland home, Brantwood, courtesy Brantwood Trust
Day 3 | Sunday, 24 June

The central and northern fells, Grasmere, Derwent Water & Buttermere

Our day begins at Holehird, the gardens of the Lakeland Horticultural Society. A superb garden, in a stunning location overlooking Windermere, and gardened entirely by the society's volunteer members. We then return to Ambleside, for lunch and an exploration of this famous Lakeland town, before continuing to Grasmere, for a guided tour of Dove Cottage, William Wordsworth's former home.

Mid-afternoon, we will round the day off with circular, scenic tour of the north-western fells, driving through Borrowdale, over Honister Pass and along the shores of Crummock Water and Buttermere - stopping for photographs, along the way, and for dinner at The Pheasant, just around the corner from Bassenthwaite Lake.

Today's total driving is about 100 miles/160 km

Sunday, 24 June
Roses on Dove Cottage, courtesy Gwen Doyle
Day 4 | Monday, 25 June

A day to relax, cruise on Lake Windermere and read a book

Today is a 'no driving day', a lazy day devoted to rest and relaxation, putting your feet up, writing postcards and reading a book!

But in case you don't want to have your feet up all day, we will provide a 'freedom of the lake' pass, so you may enjoy the delights of Lake Windermere, cruising on any of the Windermere Lake Cruises, and alighting as you please, to explore Bowness, ride on the Lakeside & Haverthwaite steam railway at Lakeside or make your way to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's seventeenth-century farmhouse home.

Whatever you do today, we will assist you in doing it and dinner will be at Rothay Manor.

Please see here, for more information on 'no driving days'.

Monday, 25 June
M.V. Teal on Lake Windermere
Day 5 | Tuesday, 26 June

The north-eastern fells, Dalemain, Lowther, Askham & Ullswater

Our final full day is spent amongst the north-eastern fells and along the shores of Ullswater - for some, the most scenic of all the lakes - starting with a visit to Dalemain, where we take a tour of this historically interesting house and wander at will around its gardens, themselves dating to the twelfth century! For lunch we visit the neighbouring Lowther Castle estate and see how the on-going restoration of their gardens is going, before a final afternoon visit to the charming gardens at neighbouring Askham Hall.

If time and timetables allows, I will put you on the Ullswater Steamer at Pooley Bridge and collect you further down the lake, at Glenridding, but in any case, we will return home to Rothay Manor for our end-of-tour dinner.

Today's total driving is about 100 miles/160 km

Tuesday, 26 June
Ullswater Steamer, on Ullswater, courtesy GoLakes
Day 6 | Wednesday, 27 June

The southern fells, Levens Hall, Holker Hall, Cartmel & Yewbarrow

We start today with a visit to Levens Hall, the finest, oldest and most extensive topiary garden in the world - with over 100 pieces of topiary, each clipped to an individual design, some three hundred years old, planted and trained in the 1690s! From Levens, we drive westward to Holker Hall, the home of the Cavendish family - whose senior branch have Chatsworth House - for lunch and an exploration of this wonderful house and immaculately kept garden.

Next stop is the nearby medieval village of Cartmel, for a stroll around Cartmel Priory or, perhaps, a quick visit to the Village Shop, for supplies of its world-famous Sticky Toffee Pudding! It is then but a stone's throw to Yewbarrow House, where we enjoy a private guided tour of this small, but perfectly formed modern private garden with stunning views across Morecambe Bay.

Dinner is on our way home at one of my favourite Lakeland pubs, the Hare & Hounds in Bowland Bridge.

Today's total driving is about 60 miles/100 km

Wednesday, 27 June
Topiary garden at Levens Hall, courtesy of Chris Crowder, Head Gardener, Levens Hall
Day 7 | Thursday, 28 June

The Pennines, Burghley House and Stansted Airport

We will have an early start, so that we may enjoy a worthwhile break at Burghley House - a famous Elizabethan House, built by Elizabeth I's secretary, William Cecil and its gardens - much, much later - were subsequently landscaped by Capability Brown. We will have lunch and some time for the gardens and the house!

The tour ends at Heathrow Airport, where we plan to be by about 14:30, or Stansted Airport, where we plan to be by 16:30, in time for your evening flight home. However, if you are staying on in the UK, and don't need, or wish, to return to either Heathrow Airport or Stansted Airport, then please let us know your plans, so that we may assist you, in getting you to your next destination.

Today's total driving is about 290 miles/470 km

Thursday, 28 June
Burghley House gardens, courtesy NGS
General Notes

During our tours, we endeavour to be as faithful to our itineraries as possible, but sometimes changes do occur, either necessarily or unavoidably.

Need some help?
We have prepared some helpful information - under 'Essential Information', and this information is designed to enhance your holiday. The pages are, 'An Introduction', 'Additional Information', 'Booking and Paying' and 'Travel Information'.

The tour area map
Click on the Google map of the tour area, and it will open in a new window. The various tour locations are marked GREEN (for gardens), ORANGE (for other attractions), RED (for pubs, hotels and restaurants) and BLUE (for transport) - and click on these markers for more information.

Tour Information
22 - 28 Jun
7 days
25 400,00
Single person suplement:
5 000,00

We have booked 'Classic' rooms, Rothay Manor's standard room, but for an additional sum, you may upgrade your room to a Superior Room or a Suite. Please enquire, should this be of interest.

Available - The English Lakes
Typically, we aim to collect from Stansted at 06:00 and some two hour's later, at the Sheraton Heathrow Hotel, but confirmation of our precise meeting arrangements and introductions to your fellow travellers will be sent to everyone two weeks before the tour starts.

You may also join this tour at Oxenholme Railway Station (for direct services from London), en route to our Ambleside hotel.

Please note that we do not collect from Heathrow terminal forecourts.
There are no specific notes for this particular tour.
Click to see where we visit