Cumbria’s NGS Gardens ready for visitors

After the restrictions of the past year the freedom to go and visit a garden once again is both uplifting and certainly good for the soul. Now, across the nation hundreds of gardens will be opening under the National Garden Scheme (NGS) to both delight their visitors and raise valuable funds for the various health charities the scheme supports.

Cumbria is especially blessed with some wonderful gardens, from majestic castles, manor houses and country cottages to specialist nurseries and allotments. Cumbria is a county of contrasts in scale and interest, where a visit to some of the County’s NGS gardens will offer colour, relaxation, evidence of love and care and perhaps an idea or two to take back home. Here you will find gardens with mountain and fell views, tarns and waterfalls, rugged coastline and rolling open country, urban gardens full of vitality and small spaces offering a peaceful oasis. An additional bonus is that part of Cumbria is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Assistant County Organiser, Grainne Jackson, points out that we have really come to appreciate the importance of gardens and nature in our lives and for our mental and physical health: “There are lots of benefits for gardeners themselves but we have, in the past, not appreciated so much that visiting gardens and spending time with nature is so good for everyone. Now we can get out and about visit a lovely garden, spend time with friends, eat fabulous homemade cake -what could be a nicer way to spend an afternoon!

Grainne explains that this year (2021) there will be 48 gardens open in Cumbria, mainly private ones with something for everyone: “We have small cottages, formal estates, woodlands, fellside and allotments. Many gardens have great plants for sale and welcome dogs. Entry for children is free and some gardens have nature trails and quizzes for them to do. At the same time, you are supporting a wonderful charity which is the biggest single donor to nursing and caring charities in the UK including; Macmillan Cancer Care, Hospice UK, the Carers trust and many more. All charities that we hope that we will never need but they are there to help us at the darkest of times,” she said.

Below, you will find a very small sample of the gardens you can visit during 2021 – for a full list, owner(s), access and visiting details for each garden please visit or pick up a leaflet. (Each county has a dedicated leaflet.) You can also purchase the Garden Visitor’s Handbook containing details of all gardens open throughout the country by visiting the NGS website. Please note some gardens have specific opening days while others are by prior arrangement only.

Tithe Barn – Laversdale, Irthington, Carlisle CA6 4PJ – opens 6th June 2021 (and by arrangement).(pictured banner above). Stunning views of the Lake District, Pennines and Scottish Borders. Planting follows cottage garden style, surrounding walls, arches, grottos and quirky features designed and created by owners.

Fernhill Coach House – Witherslack LA11 6RX – (pictured above) (open 27th June and by arrangement June to September for groups up to 20)

Exuberant cottage garden, mixed borders, apple trees. Hens, bees, small ponds and lots of roses. Owners propagate cottage garden plants and grow heritage and northern fruit trees.

Whetstone Croft and Cottage – Broughton in Furness LA20 6AE (pictured left)
Sat 19th and Sunday 20th June 2021(12-5)

Two different, tranquil, south-facing cottage gardens overlooking woodland valley. Herbaceous borders bursting with cottage-garden favourites.

Mature flowering shrubs, azaleas, herb beds, stoop garden, courtyard and shrubbery surrounding C18th century farmhouse and barns.

Easy access to ten acres of renowned traditional hay meadows including eyebright, orchids and oxeye-daisies.Stunning views of the woodland fells.


Cherry Cottage – Crosby-on-Eden, CA6 4QX (Visits by arrangement April to September for groups of 5 to 20).

Relaxed country garden surrounding an C18 cottage on approx. 1/3 acre site. Wide range of habitats including herbaceous borders, wildlife pond, bog garden and shady woodland. Two greenhouses, a potting shed and summerhouse. Various seating areas connected by grass and gravel paths.Rose Croft – Levens, Kendal (by arrangement only June-September)

Naturalistic plantings, perennials and grasses pouring away from top terrace. Rose arches, silver birches, set against views that dominate the westerly scene beyond the summer house. Garden colour at its peak in August.

Yewbarrow House – Grange-over-Sands LA11 6BE (pictured above) Sun 6th June, Sun 4th July, Sun 1st August, Sun 5th September 2021.

“More Cornwall than Cumbria” according to Country Life. A colourful garden filled with exotic and rare plants with dramatic views over Morecambe Bay. Japanese garden with infinity pool, Italian terraces and restored Victorian kitchen garden.Orangery, dahlias, cannas and colourful exotica a speciality.

Woodend House – Egremont, CA22 2TA – (pictured above) open 14th and 15th August 2021.
A small interesting garden tucked away in a small hamlet. Meandering gravel paths lead around garden with colourful planting and quirky features. Productive organic potager, wildlife pond, mini spring and summer meadows, summer house.

During the summer (2021) there will also be a number of ‘group openings’ including Eden Mount Gardens, Grange-over-Sands, (Sunday 20th June), Grange-over-Sands Hidden Gardens, 27th June, 25th July, 29th August, 26th September and Hayton Village Gardens, 13th June.

Happy garden visiting.

Photo credits: grateful acknowledgement to garden owners and NGS for garden images.