Lowther Castle and Gardens

: Lowther / Askham


The gardens and castle at Lowther have laid abandoned for 70 years and in 2011 opened for the first time since 1938. Visitors can follow simple routes through the 130 acres of gardens and castle terraces.


Lowther Castle and Gardens is undergoing a major restoration project, with a new visitor centre, and cafe. Much work has been done to stabilise the main castle building, and to bring the gardens back from a wilderness. 


image of an aerial view of Lowther Castle and gardens near Penrith in Cumbria
Late 2012 – some 2 years into the restoration project. Aerial photo by Roger Savage

Lowther Castle has been the family seat of the Earls of Lonsdale from time immemorial, and occupies the site of mansions dating back to the reign of Edward I.


The present building was started in 1806, for Sir Hugh Lowther the fifth Earl, to designs by Sir Robert Smirke. Lowther Castle was his first job when he was just 25. It was commissioned to be a design of elegance and strength. The castle was well known for its wide range of activities and entertainment of distinguished guests. Unfortunately the castle’s grand proportions were too extravagant for the 20th Century.


Lowther Castle – August 2015.

After the death of the fifth Earl of Lonsdale, the Castle was abandonded, the interior was dismantled and only the walls left standing as a memorial to past glories. The family moved to nearby Askham Hall, whose gardens are now open to the public.


image of Jack Croft's pond at Lowther Castle and Gardens near Penrith in Cumbria
Jack Croft’s pond.

A public road passes through the estate from Askham to Lowther Newtown, passing St Michael’s Church which is opposite the front of the Castle. Inside the Church are various memorials to members of the Lowther family.


Sir Robert Smirke also designed St Peter’s Church in nearby Askham.


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Grid Ref : NY 523239