Our day in the Lake District began at Levens Hall, which is a manor house built during the 16th century. It has been owned by many different prominent families throughout the centuries, it is now owned by the Bagot family. While the house is open to the public for touring, the family still uses the house for special occasions and family functions. The inside of the house is remarkable, so many gorgeous antiques. One of my favorite parts of the home was the special leather wallpaper designed specifically for the walls of this house.
After our tour of the manor house (no pictures were allowed) we were met just outside the front door by the head gardner. The gardens at Leven's Hall is what makes this site so well known and famous, our tour director described it as being transported to Wonderland, I feel that is a pretty accurate description ...
"There are ten wonderful acres of gardens at Levens Hall, they include the unique collection of ancient and extraordinary topiary characters sculpted from box and yew. They rise up from a spectacular seasonal underplanting populated with an ever-changing range of over thirty thousand flowers. Further on, beyond the romantic old orchard and separated by the great beech hedges, lie the magnificent herbaceous borders. These are traditionally double in format and are amongst the finest to be found in England. There are also wall borders, vegetable and herb gardens, a rose garden, fountain garden, fine lawns, wildflower meadows, a willow labyrinth and much, much more."
There was a croquet game happening out on the lawn, you can't get more British then that.
After our fabulous tour of the gardens, we got to have lunch at the Bleningham Buttery Cafe which is located right on the gardens. We ate out on the patio and soaked up the rare, English sunshine.
That afternoon we had some free time Windermere. The shopping streets look charming, but are hard to navigate with the huge crowds and the stores weren't very interesting. There were quite a few pet-able puppies though, and we stopped and petted each one. The British take great pride in their dogs, and I was eager to boost their egos.
We wandered down to the lake front and sat on the edge of the beach to watch the many varieties of birds, swarm to the beach in search of any treats dropped by any generous passersby. The swans were especially friendly.