Home » Home & Garden » Levens Hall—stunning topiary in Cumbria, England

Levens Hall—stunning topiary in Cumbria, England

By Sandra Hutchinson

Near Kendal, in Cumbria, on the southern edge of England’s Lake District, lies Levens Hall, with its extensive topiary garden, said to be the oldest and most extensive garden of its type in the world.


Levens Hall itself is still a private residence, home to the Bagot family, but it and the surrounding gardens are open to the public (for a fee) from spring to fall. Photographs are not permitted inside the home, so unfortunately, I have none to share. The original home was built circa 1250 to 1300, and subsequent additions turned it into the sprawling manor house that visitors see today.

The home includes collections from Sir Charles Bagot, who married Lady Mary Wellesley, niece of the Duke of Wellington, who of course, defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. It is because of this connection that the Levens Hall collection includes a number of items relating to the Duke, including a clasp with interlocking gold bees, said to be from Napoleon’s cloak.


Front view of Levens Hall


The topiaries are of yew and box.

IMG_1128Many of the topiaries resemble giant chess figures.



Mad Hatter?



The gardens were originally laid out in the late 17th century, and portions have remained intact for well over 300 years.






I love the shadow of the hedge to the left of this photo.

Walking around the grounds of Levens Hall, I happened upon an open, grassy area called the “bowling green,” with several people dressed in whites, playing croquet. They asked me if I’d like to “have a go.” Turns out, it was National Croquet Day and the Westmorland Croquet Club was offering free lessons.


This lovely lady instructed me on the proper use of a croquet mallet. Hers seemed pretty high-tech to me.

Interesting aside: years earlier, my family and I had rented a cottage through the National Trust, adjacent to the National Trust property called Chastleton House, an early 17th century Jacobean manor house in the Cotswolds. It was at Chastleton House that the rules of the game of croquet were invented!

Perennial beds at Levens Hall with pyramid plant supports and stone urns.


Lead trough dated 1704


Pleached lime tunnel arbors that radiate off a circular pool with a fountain in the center.



Clock tower on a rear portion of Levens Hall.


Levens Hall is open to the public Sunday to Thursday, from late April to early October. See the property’s Website, here: https://www.levenshall.co.uk for details and pricing. Levens Hall is located 6 miles south of Kendal, in the southern Lake District, Cumbria.



10 thoughts on “Levens Hall—stunning topiary in Cumbria, England

    • Thanks Mary Ann! I only wish I could have taken photographs inside the home. There is that magnificent plaster coat of arms of Elizabeth I over the fireplace in the Great Hall, for example. I hope you were able to play some croquet there!


  1. Hi Sandra – I love Levens Hall and I love Beatrix Potter. So lovely to see your posts. I’m a tour guide and travel organiser – I also write specialist itineraries for clients – Discovering Palladian Villas by bike – for example. Next year I am collaborating with author Sophfronia Scott – we are offering a ‘Writer’s Retreat’ in the Veneto, Italy from 08-15 Sept, 2019. It occurred to me that this might interest you: https://wp.me/p5eFNn-3DV – loving your posts and delighted to be in contact. Janet x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Sandra,
    I couldn’t help noticing the similarity of our blog choices. We seem to be inspired by very similar things! I adore Levens Hall – I saw the topiary there as a child, decades ago, and the impressions have stayed with me every since. I’m organising a very special ‘writer’s retreat’ in the Veneto, Italy in Sept, 2019 with an author friend of mine. It occurred to me that this might interest you. Here’s the link! https://wp.me/p5eFNn-3DV – if it is not of interest, no problem. Meanwhile let’s enjoy each others blogs! Have a great day. Janet / my e-mail: janet@educated-traveller.com or janet@grand-tourist.com

    Liked by 1 person

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