Holker Hall

Holker Hall is the private country house residence of Lord and Lady Cavendish, but its west wing and the gardens are open to the public during the summer season (admission fee required). A café and gift shop is located in what used to be a stable.

During the warm season, various events are held at Holker Hall, including an annual garden festival.

Where is Holker Hall?

Holker Hall is located roughly 2 km south-west of the village Cartmel in Cumbria.

Coordinates: 54.1881°N 2.9837°W

How far is it from Grange-over-Sands?

Holker Hall is 7 km (4.4 miles) from Grange-over-Sands.

Driving to Holker Hall from Grange-over-Sands takes around 10-15 minutes on B5227, via Allithowaite and Flookburgh.

The west wing, designed by Paley and Austin

In 1859-1861, the Lancaster architect E.G. Paley carried out some minor alterations on the house. After the west wing of the house was almost completely destroyed in a fire in 1871, the owner William Cavendish, 7th Duke of Devonshire, contacted Paley again and commissioned him to rebuild the wing.

At this point, Paley was running his architectural business together with Hubert Austin, so they both got working on creating a new wing for Holker Hall. The result was a new west wing on the same footprint, but in Elizabethian Revival style and much grander than the previous one. Among other things, two towers were added.

Paley and Austin also designed new entrance gates and railings for Holker Hall, which were added around 1875.


Holker HallThere are 10 hectares of formal gardens at Holker Hall, plus 80 hectares of parkland, deer park and woodland.

The formal gardens are located to the south and west of the house. The garden south of the west wing is the Elliptical Garden, which is adjacent to the Summer Garden. In the north-west, you’ll find the Sunken Garden, which features a pair of summer houses.

Pleasure gardens are found to the north and west of the house. A winding whimsical footpath runs through the pleasure gardens to the arboretum and onward. Examples of notable trees in the pleasure gardens are an Auracaria (a coniferous tree native to the southern hemisphere) planted in 1844 and a Cedar planted by Lord George Cavendish himself.

Holton Hall also has two kitchen gardens; one north-west of the house and another one north of the B5278 road. A limestone underpass runs under the road to the kitchen garden.

Cascade labyrinth

The cascade labyrinth was added in 2003/2004 by Kim Wilkie.

Notable buildings on the grounds of Holker Hall

The Stables

Stone stable buildings built in the 1860s form a U-shape south-east of the main house. Included in these buildings are a timber bell turret with a pyramidal roof, a clock and a weathervane.

The ice house

Exactly when the ice house was built remains unknown, but it has been here since at least 1732. It’s a two-tier circular ice house located west of the main building.

The north and south lodges

  • The north lodge is a single-story building in roughcast stone with ashlar dressings and slate roof. It is adjacent to the circular gate piers with rusticated domes caps that faces the B5278 road. We do not know much about the history of the northern lodge, but it was probably built in the early 1800s and some evidence indicate that George Webster was the architect.
  • The south lodge, also facing the B5278 road, was designed by Paley and Austin and erected in 1875. It’s a two-storey L-shaped limestone building with a slate roof.

The Inigo Jones Statue

North of the main building is a statue depicting famous English architect Inigo Jones (1573-1652).

The statue was created by the Flemish sculptor John Michael Rysbrack in the 1740s. It wasn’t originally made for Holker Hall though; it was moved here from Chiswick House in west London in the 19th century.