Press Releases from Levens Hall
14 August 2023
Levens Hall Highlights the Superlatives That Make a Visit so Special
Levens Superlatives - oldest, earliest, luckiest, strangest and latest! Find out more.

Following some parts of the country experiencing their wettest ever July, Cumbrian stately home and visitor attraction, Levens Hall and Gardens, has been considering some other superlatives, very close to home and which August Bank Holiday visitors might enjoy.

The first superlative is ‘oldest’, with the Levens Hall Topiary Garden having no equal, in terms of its longevity.  Founded around 1694, some of the 100 topiary trees in the garden have celebrated nearly 330 years, with this including the Great Umbrella tree, deemed to be one of Britain’s‘50 Great Trees’,duringQueen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee celebrations, in 2002.

Many more of the trees have graced the garden for more than 150 years, although their shape and form may have altered over the years, according to how they have been cut and tended.  There are many quirky examples, from the Toppling Wedding Cake to the Judge’s Wig, Queen Elizabeth and her Maids of Honour and the Top Hat.  Add to this peacocks, Darth Vader and Homer Simpson and it is very much a latter-day Alice’s Wonderland.

Then there are two ‘earliest’ things to see at Levens Hall and Gardens.  The first is the earliest example of a ha-ha – a sunken, stone-built retaining protecting the garden from flooding by the nearby River Kent, but also affording an uninterrupted view of the Lakeland landscape.

Then there is England’s earliest known patchwork, created in 1708, by the wife (Dorothy) and daughters of the Hall’s 17th century owner, Colonel James Grahme.  It comprises five different shaped patches, predominantly cruciform, diamond and octagon shapes, formed from portions of precious Indian cottons. It may have been inspired by the ceiling of the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, with which Dorothy Grahme would have been very familiar, having been a maid of honour to Queen Catherine of Braganza.

The luckiest person of his time, her husband, Colonel James Grahme, is never far from the mind of visitors, thanks to a visual reminder of how he came to own the property.  Downpipes on the Elizabethan Hall carry a heart symbol, to record a card game, at which previous owner, Alan Bellingham, lost Levens on the turn of the Ace of Hearts, leaving it to be disposed of by trustees, who sold it to Grahme.

The strangest situation rests in history and is narrated on an audio guide headset from the Levens Hall shop.  This guide offers much insight as visitors tour the gardens but also reveals the story of the old woman refused shelter, several centuries ago, then cursing Levens Hall, saying no male heir would be born into the family until the River Kent ceased to flow and a white fawn was born into the herd of black fallow deer in Levens Park.  No male heirs were born for over 200 years, until the birth of Alan Desmond Bagot in 1896.  At that time, the River Kent had frozen over and, bizarrely, a white fawn had also been born.

Finally, the ‘latest’!  Levens Hall can boast the latest bakery in the South Lakes since Levens Bakery opened its doors in July.  The Bakery is now providing takeaway baked and patisserie delights for locals and visitors alike, not to mention those wanting to pack a picnic to enjoy in Levens Park. Under the supervision of Robert Stacey and MireiaFerreresLuna, who appeared on Bake Off: The Professionals, in 2022, it offers a wide variety of temptations for anyone not watching the calories.  Of course, a riverside walk in Levens Park can soon burn those off!

With so much to see and do, whether touring the entire gardens with their numerous delights even beyond the topiary, or viewing the Hall, with all its rich history, exquisite interiors and links to the Duke of Wellington and Napoleon, Levens Hall and Gardens can perhaps also boast one of the best value days out in the South Lakes in Cumbria.

Contact Information
Jane Hunt, Catapult PR, 0333 2424062 –