The Gardens

The Gardens cover 23 acres (9.3 ha) of formal and woodland gardens and, like the house, have undergone many different stages of development. These are complimented by the 200-acre ‘natural’ parkland, which is the result of late 18th century planting by Lord George Cavendish. The climate is unusual; the Gulf Stream brings high rainfall and a mild climate to the area, providing favourable conditions for an ever-increasing collection of tender and unusual shrubs and ferns. The acid soil is ideal for growing rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, styrax and stewartias. The warm, wet, maritime conditions allow plants to grow unusually large, and to achieve a great age. Of several impressive trees, the most important is the Holker Great Lime. At 400 years old and with a girth of 7.9 metres, it is designated by The Tree Council as one of 50 Great British Trees.

Over generations the family have continued to develop the gardens and they are constantly evolving as new plantings are made or new ideas are born and the Cavendish Family continue to make changes and additions to these gardens.

The most recent project was the creation of Pagan Grove, designed by the renowned landscape architect, Kim Wilkie, and comprised of remodelling part of the historic garden to form an atmospheric oval amphitheatre surrounded by mature trees. The project was the largest scale earthworks project at Holker Hall since the construction of the Neptune Cascade in 1988.

In 1992 the garden was recognized as the holder of the National Collection of Styracaceae. Starting from a small group, the collection has expanded rapidly by gift from other famous plant collections and we can all now enjoy these rare shapely flowering trees more often found in warm temperate and subtropical zones. The skill and knowledge of Lord & Lady Cavendish has created an award winning garden with rare and unusual plants and a year round display of colour and interest which all visitors can enjoy.

Not to be missed…

  • The spectacular displays of rhododendrons in the spring. The magnificent blooms are unusually large specimens and many are fragrant.
  • The Great Holker Lime, this awe-inspiring tree measures 7.9 metres in girth. Today its huge trunk stands in a cavern of overhanging branches. In 2002 Holker’s Great Lime was awarded the distinction of being one of Britain’s 50 Great Trees, in honour of Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee.
  • The National Collection of Styracaceae, which includes genera such as Halesia, Styrax, and Pterostyrax.


Friday 23rd March to Sunday 28th October 2018


Hall (11am-4pm) & Gardens (10.30am-5pm) : Wednesday – Sunday (+ Bank Holiday Mondays)


Gift Shop (10.30am - 5pm): Wednesday - Sunday (+ Bank Holiday Mondays)


Café, Food Hall & Park (10.30am-5pm) :  Daily


Occasionally the Hall opening may vary to accommodate special events. Please check the website before visiting.