Following the lead of our ancestral family and friends, we hope you feel free to explore Holker for yourselves at your own pace. Allow the magic to unfold and celebrate with us its constant change, whether that’s new horticultural projects, the latest seasonal dish from our brilliant chefs, or just a shift in mood with the changing seasons. Let your tastes and instincts be your primary guide.
Over the years, Great British Gardeners, such as Joseph Paxton, Thomas Mawson and recently contemporary Landscape Architect Kim Wilkie, have collaborated with the resident families to reflect not just fashions of the day, but personal and sometimes eccentric tastes. Distinct areas of formal planting with their herbaceous borders, lawns and topiary, contrast with meadows and woodlands. Here Martagon Lilies are abundant in the long grass and rare Bee Orchids flourish. The Gulf Stream brings high rainfall and mild temperatures, perfect for an ever-increasing collection of tender and unusual shrubs and ferns. The warm, wet, maritime conditions allow plants to grow unusually large and to achieve a great age. Of several impressive, veteran trees, the most remarkable is the 400-year old Holker Great Lime.
The original House was built in the early 17th Century. After it was almost destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1871, William Cavendish and his daughter, Louisa, recruited the most eminent architects and designers of their time, to rebuild Holker in the very latest style. Neo-Elizabethan in its architecture, with the imposing tower and soaring cupola, Holker was constructed from the finest materials, many from the Estate itself, by church Architects Paley & Austin of Lancaster. Louisa’s impeccable eye and good taste are responsible for the interiors you see today. The majority of the paintings and much of the furniture was brought to Holker from Chatsworth House, the family residence in Derbyshire. The decoration was considered modern for its time, but elements pay tribute to the interiors lost in the fire.