Pull up into the car park of Levens Hall, five miles south of Kendal on the banks of the River Kent, and it’s hard to decide what to do first. Visit the venerable old house, wander the magnificent gardens or enjoy a meal in the superb Levens Kitchen.
Like Sizergh Castle just up the road, Levens Hall is an Elizabethan manor house built around an older defensive pele tower dating back to 1250. The Bagot family, owners of the estate since it was bequeathed to them by a distant relative in 1883. They have opened up parts of their home to the public. Inside, you’ll see oak panelling, fine furniture and paintings. On display is one of the earliest examples of English patchwork and a Cordova leather wall covering. Outside, there’s really something quite unusual…
Levens Hall Gardens
Ancient yews have been moulded into weird and wonderful shapes in what is said to be the world’s oldest topiary garden. Designed in 1694 by Guillaume Beaumont, one of the top gardeners of his time. Tremendous beech hedges, several yards thick and with gnarled, twisted innards, divide up the gardens where fruit grows in the orchard. To this day, Croquet, players battle it out on the lawn, and bees gather nectar from colourful borders. Fifteen thousand homegrown flowers are planted twice yearly in the gardens at Levens Hall.
Levens Hall Children’s playground
Hidden away in the area named “the wilderness’ there is a small playground with picnic tables. Parents can rest whilst the children burn off steam. They can then run through the willow maze and try to find their way out.
Levens Deer Park
Nature lovers can make a day of it at Levens Hall. Take a picnic and sit on the banks of the river whilst spotting blue flashes of the native Kingfisher. Walk the marked footpaths looking out for Black Fallow deer and the Bagot goats, a rare bread of goat.
And then there’s the Levens Kitchen… Opened in 2019, this modern café uses high-quality, locally sourced produce. They serve excellent and imaginative brunches, lunches, snacks and afternoon teas. The menu changes on a seasonal basis and includes a good range of interesting vegan and vegetarian options.
For more ideas on family days out in the area, go to our article Things to do in Lake District with family.
The House 11 am – 3.30 pm April – October
The Gardens 10 am – 5 pm April – October
Address: Kendal LA8 0PD