The Lowther family leave a significant impression on the landscape of Cumbria’s history, having owned much land and property in the county for centuries. Lowther Castle, near Penrith, is one of their more well-known properties that has it’s own wonderful tale to go with it. The site of Lowther Castle has seen major renovations and rebuilding work and, as part of that, the Lost Castle has opened. We were so excited to be asked along to review the new facilities!
We arrived mid-morning and parked the car in the car park, which is a little walk away from the entrance to the site. The views on the walk into the castle are beautiful, but nothing to those once you’re through the gate. We made our way straight up towards the Lost Castle to see for ourselves what all the fuss is about! We took the scenic route through the huge trees, being able to spot for animals and quirky little buildings. O loved trying to follow his map to get there!
We did get a little confused on our journey and ended up on a very muddy path up to the Lost Castle – not ideal with a pushchair! The maps were okay, but the paths/features could do with being a bit clearer ‘on the ground’. Once we got up there, O couldn’t wait to get stuck in! We found a bench on the first level to call ‘home’ should he need us and off he went!
I stayed with him the most part as I was a bit nervous of leaving my 4-almost-5 year old to play on this huge play area without close supervision. He had a whale of a time! There are 4 levels to the wooden play castle with a variety of features, including a climbing net, zip line, fireman’s pole and so much more! O’s favourite part was the definitely the zip line. He loved it and so did a lot of the other kids, as the queue was quite long for it!
After an hour or so of playing, we walked back down to the entrance area to go in to the cafe for lunch. The choice of food was great, ranging from sandwiches and light bites to more substantial meals. O enjoyed a sandwich bag with fruit and a Freddo, whilst hubs and I opted for a cooked lunch. Hubs had a delicious platter of meats, cheeses and pickles served with fresh bread, and I chose the pan-fried salmon with greens and salsa verde. They were scrumptious!
We also enjoyed a selection of home-baked cakes – cream tea, mars bar cake and a beautiful peanut tart. We really couldn’t fault our lunch as it really was delicious. There were a handful of tables outside where you could sit in the sunshine and plenty of high chairs available for little ones.
After lunch, we looked around the exhibition inside the castle which told the story of the Lowther family and why the castle had been left to ruin all those years ago. Water damage and a huge fire left the original castle in such a state, there are only a handful of features that were able to be salvaged and remain part of what stands today. The gardens within part of the ruins are gorgeous and we found them perfect for a little game of Hide and Seek!
The gardens are a huge part of the experience here, much of the planted areas are filled with butterflies which flutter past seemingly care-free. The gardens were designed by Dan Pearson, a huge talent in the gardening world who’s designs have been extremely successful in the Chelsea Flower Show. They really are beautiful – I wish you could smell the flowers through my photographs!
On the walk back up to the Lost Castle, we admired the huge lawns that were being laid on and played on by couples and families alike. There were children swinging on the rope swings in the huge trees on the embankment, clearly loving life. It was such a beautiful day – Lowther Castle and it’s gardens was a fantastic place to visit to enjoy the outdoors.
We allowed O to play on the Lost Castle for another couple of hours before it was time to set off home for tea. We had a slightly upset 4 year old… a testament to how utterly awesome the play castle is! I didn’t get to see every inch of it as I had to sit on the ‘home’ bench and feed Q a lot of the time. I did think it was a great idea to have a section just for toddlers – small swings, a slide set and a sand pit to name a few of the play bits for them. Most of the older children stayed out of it – I suppose because there are so many other age-appropriate things for them to play on/with.
We had such a great time at Lowther Castle experiencing the gardens and the Lost Castle. O says his favourite part was the Lost Castle – no surprise there! The only thing that could be improved is the signage around the site. It certainly didn’t spoil our day though and we can’t wait to go back!
Disclosure: We were asked to attend Lowther Castle for the purposes of this review, however all words and opinions are my own.