Graythwaite Hall

By Ian Capper, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

Graythwaite Hall, which is home to the Sandys family, is situated on the west side of Lake Windermere halfway between Newby Bridge and Hawkshead in the Lake District, Cumbria. Edwin Sandys, one of the more famous members of the family, became Archbishop of York and founder of Hawkshead Grammar School at which a young William Wordsworth attended. Although this beautiful 17th century house is not open to the public, it’s acres of majestic gardens which are set in a wooded valley are.

Thomas Mawson formerly of Lakeland Nursery in Windermere, the well known Landscape Architect and author of “The Art and Craft of Garden Making”, was commissioned in 1896 to design the land around Graythwaite Hall. His instructions were to use the existing shape and landscape to create both a formal and informal garden. The resulting garden, which is best viewed in late spring, is fundamentally a spring garden with an extensive collection of rhododendrons and azaleas. The rose garden, the Dutch garden, the hew hedges and the terraces are the perfect example of the Arts and Crafts Style of Thomas Mawson. The Dogs cemetery and arboretum, which are havens of peace, are sheltered by some impressive trees.

Dan Gibson, a local architect who also designed the house at the National Park Visitor Centre at Brockhole, designed the sundials for the formal gardens as well as the ornamental iron gates at the entrance to the formal gardens. The extensive woods, which surround the Graythwaite estate, was a popular walking area for a young William Wordsworth who became one of the Lake Poets. These woods also provided the perfect backdrop for “The Fairy Caravan” which was written by Beatrix Potter.

The grounds are open daily from 1st April to 30th August from 10am to 6pm. However, it would be advisable to check Graythwaite Hall’s official website before planning your journey.

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