One of my favourite days out during this summer was to Lowther Castle near Penrith. I had never heard of it before but my mum had seen something advertising the building of a new wooden castle playground in the woods of the castle, due to open in Aug 2016, and sent me the link. The pictures looked fantastic and we all immediately wanted to go.

We set off fairly early so we could arrive around the opening time of 10am and I’m so glad we did as we spent the entire day there and loved every minute.

When you first enter the car park you still can’t really see the castle, but once you walk to the end you are met with this very imposing and beautiful sight.

You enter through the gates into a courtyard flanked on three sides by what would have once been the stables but now houses a gift shop, the toilets and a cafe. I’m not the type of person who would normally photograph the toilets but in this case they were amazing and very in-keeping with their stable past, even the sinks were shaped like troughs.

It took us a while to figure out where to pay and tried both the the cafe and the gift shop. As it turns out you go though the arched entrance to the castle grounds and there is a little kiosk just after entering. Entrance fee was £8 for adults and £7 for children (0-2yr olds are free) but if you have an historic houses card you can get in for free.

We walked through the gallery first and looked at all of the old photographs and artefacts and were amazed to see how the castle looked not too long ago and the way the grounds were all concreted over during the war for tanks to manoeuvre on.

The castle itself is a complete ruin and some of it inaccessible, but there is an incredible amount of restoration work ongoing to stop it decaying further and to allow more of it to eventually be opened up. The gardeners here doing an absolutely amazing job and everywhere you look there are beatiful flower beds with old pieces of carved stone from the castle mingled in amongst the plants.

It was certainly a room with a view … Provided you were tall enough to see out.

L was fascinated looking up at the sky through the top of the turret.

Any time L comes across a large rock or piece of stone she just has to stand on it and do a little dance!

I love this picture of L and my Dad framed by the window.

Nature has reclaimed this part of the castle.

After looking at the ruins we headed over to the right (looking away from the castle) and down some steps to the amazing gardens on that side. There is an orchard, a Japanese garden and lots of others that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of. If it wasn’t for little legs already getting tired we could have explored these gardens for hours.

Yew Avenue.

A strange stone bath in one of the gardens.

A quirky little cottage in another. The kids loved this one and we decided to have out picnic right next it.

A look back at the real castle through the trees before heading off to find the wooden castle my son was so excited to visit.

The trees along this route were incredible and hundreds of years old, inevitably there were a few that had fallen down.

Coming out from the first lot of trees there is a big open green with what looks like an old fountain in the middle.

After that we headed to the next lot of trees where the sequels of children gave away the location of the lost castle. This was by far the busiest area and it was hard to get photos without lots of other people’s children in them.

The wooden castle is huge and full of various obstacle courses. You can tell from the smile on M’s face how great it was. Even L had to attempt crossing this netting. Unfortunately that meant I had to as well and was much less graceful than the kids bounding across, let’s just leave it at that!

These narrow wooden walkways were great. Unfortunately the first one we tried led to a zip wire that L was too small for and second one led to a (barely) sloped wall with two ropes to climb up. L desperately wanted to go up but there was no way I’d get up there myself never mind with her as well so we had to turn round. This was also the only route to the big slide (and M tells me there was another huge obstacle to get past after this too) which in a way was quite clever as it kept kids who were really too small from getting to it by themselves.

After a bit of exploring we discovered the toddler section for under 5s. There were two slides (one of which was accessed by a slope, so great for kids who aren’t confident on steps yet), a sandpit, some swings and a couple of zip wires with enclosed seats (like on baby swings) which I have never seen anywhere before and were great fun. Again this area was pretty crowded so I couldn’t get any pictures, but it was a great place to sit so that M could go off exploring the main play castle and always know where we were. It was also at the bottom of the big slide so we saw him come down a number of times.

Mission impossible

After the fun of the castle we headed out to the ‘summerhouse with surprise view’. And oh my, what a view! This picture doesn’t do it justice but we were so high up (there’s a sheer drop where you can just make out the rocks in front of M) you could see for miles.

Making our way back we walked down the other side of the gardens this time as we had seen from the map that there were some tree swings, always good fun.

The swings were excellent. Even me and my parents had a go! It brought back a lot of childhood memories although I think my Dad found me a lot harder to push now!

Before leaving we headed round to the front of the castle for some more pictures

You couldn’t get inside from here but there was a big hole in the door and I managed to get this picture of what would have been the very grand entrance.

We stopped of at the cafe before heading home and although a little on the pricey side the food was gorgeous and I’d definitely recommend a visit, even if you just have one of the many cakes!

In the gift shop I bought M one of those make your own adventure books, where you pick a different option at the end of each section and go to the corresponding pages. I used to love them when I was younger but this one was extra special because the story was based at Lowther Castle. He loved the fact that we had just visited all the places being mentioned so he could really visualise what was happening and it’s a great keepsake of our day.

We had a really great time at Lowther Castle and I can’t wait to visit again, you can find out more about the place on their website

Have you visited any great castles or ruins lately? What was your best day out during the summer?

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32 thoughts on “Exploring Lowther Castle

  1. Wow, that looks like a beautiful place. You have so many fantastic photos. I especially like the toilets made from erstwhile stables, and the wooden castle! Will definitely check it out if I’m ever in the area. #FamilyFun

    Posted on 28 September, 2016 at 9:06 pm
    1. Thank you, it really is stunning

      Posted on 29 September, 2016 at 6:34 am
  2. We live so close to lowther castle I can’t believe I’ve not been!! It looks brilliant. I might wait till next year now but definitely worth it by the looks of it! Thanks for linking up to #familyfun
    Karen | TwoTinyHands recently posted…#FamilyFun Week 4My Profile

    Posted on 29 September, 2016 at 12:03 am
    1. It’s amazing how many places you can live close to for years and never visit, I discovered a few this summer. Lowther Castle is definitely worth a visit, it’s so beautiful, and plenty of space for the kids to run off some energy which is always a bonus!

      Posted on 29 September, 2016 at 6:38 am
  3. What a cool day out, looks great running around the old ruins and the gardens. I love visiting such historical houses. My goodness that hidden cattle – I bet that is such a hit! My daughter would have loved it! Some really fab photos here too. Glad you all had a good day out, thanks for sharing it at #fanilyfun xx
    Tammymum recently posted…Living with a 15 year oldMy Profile

    Posted on 30 September, 2016 at 7:45 am
    1. Thank you, the hidden castle really was a hit, such a great idea x

      Posted on 30 September, 2016 at 8:11 am
  4. This looks absolutely amazing! My parents are really into history so when I was younger we always visited castles and historic sites, I loved it. I can’t wait for TM to be old enough to enjoy exploring them, too. I haven’t been to any for a while! I love all your pictures and how brilliant that you made a whole day of it. #ablogginggoodtime
    Ellen recently posted…An ode to Center ParcsMy Profile

    Posted on 30 September, 2016 at 10:13 am
    1. Thank you. I’m the same, visiting places like this always takes me back to being a kid and all the great days out we had at castles and ruins x

      Posted on 30 September, 2016 at 3:13 pm
  5. Wow what an amazing place. My boys would be in total heaven and we would be back time and time again #picknmix

    Posted on 30 September, 2016 at 10:38 pm
    1. It really is amazing. If we lived closer I think we’d be there every week!

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 6:35 am
  6. The castle itself looks stunning – so many fab architectural features – but that wooden play castle is absolutely awesome! Love that they have a toddler area too, I find it so frustrating when my son is desperate to go on something that’s too old for him but there’s nothing else he can go on! Thanks so much for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

    Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 7:41 pm
    1. Thank you. It was great, especially the toddler zip wire, such a great idea.

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 8:26 pm
  7. I loved reading this post – the castle and grounds seem fascinating and you have made me eager to explore it myself. I can see why the wooden castle play area was such a draw – it looks amazing! I love those toilets too and totally get why you had to take the picture. What a fab place for a day out – off to work out how far away it is from me…..

    Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 7:52 pm
    1. Thank you, hope it’s close enough for you to make the trip x

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 8:28 pm
  8. What an amazing Castle! Love your moody photography and the natural and stone made framing in your pictures is magical. We’d love to venture up there to explore! #SharingTheBlogLove #DreamTeam #CountryKids xx
    Baby Isabella recently posted…Miller’s Ark Autumn Open DayMy Profile

    Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 8:02 pm
    1. Thank you, that’s really nice of you to say. Hope you manage a visit, it’s beautiful x

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 8:30 pm
  9. This looks like a fab day out – my best friend is from Penrith and it’s such a beautiful part of the world. The castle looks stunning and so well kept, and I know my little one would love the under-5’s play area. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam x
    Bridie By The Sea recently posted…5 Things I Couldn’t Live WithoutMy Profile

    Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 8:54 pm
    1. It really is a beautiful place, maybe you’ll get to visit next time you see your friend x

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 10:39 pm
  10. Oh what a fabulous day out – I had read about the wooden playground but it looks amazing, even better than I thought. And such a cool ‘framed’ photo. Lovely that you can get the book as well. #countrykids
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…Family day out: Bodiam Castle, SussexMy Profile

    Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 9:40 pm
    1. Thank you, I love that picture too. The whole place has been so well thought out for families, it’s fantastic

      Posted on 1 October, 2016 at 10:41 pm
  11. What an amazing place! It really looks like sleeping beauty could be found somewhere waiting for her prince to kiss her awake.

    Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 8:25 am
    1. You’re right, what a beautiful image! I’ll be looking at it in a whole new fairytale light now x

      Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 8:30 am
  12. What an impressive house but such a shame it is ruined and empty. It looks like a wonderful place to explore. #CountryKids

    Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 10:08 am
    1. It is such a shame, and lived in up until the war too I think so not that long ago really

      Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 2:23 pm
  13. I do love a good castle and this one looks awesome. Love the wooden castle play area as well, that is fantastic. I will definitely try and get to Lowther next time we’re up that way. That view from the summer house is too good to miss!

    Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 11:33 am
    1. It’s so stunning, well worth a visit x

      Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 2:24 pm
  14. What a totally amazing place. I’d be in heaven with those ruins and Monkey would love the wooden playground. Wish we lived closer! #CountryKids
    Mary @ Over 40 and a Mum to One recently posted…Signalling change – Silent Sunday My Sunday Photo 021016My Profile

    Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 7:29 pm
    1. It’s fantastic, definitely something for everyone x

      Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 7:33 pm
  15. Wow this looks like a fantastic place to explore with little ones. It looks so beautiful and it seems there’s plenty to do. Definitely one for my to visit list. I do love a good castle 😉

    Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 8:37 pm
    1. I can highly recommend it, such a great day out x

      Posted on 2 October, 2016 at 8:55 pm
  16. I thought the castle was stunning and a great place to explore. But that wooden castle is every child’s dream, my girls would have squealed with delight at it. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove X
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…Living Arrows 40/52My Profile

    Posted on 3 October, 2016 at 10:20 pm
    1. It’s so well thought out, all the kids there were having a blast x

      Posted on 3 October, 2016 at 10:45 pm