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In 2014, Cark-in-Cartmel will set the stage once more for the Holker Garden Festival, now in its 22nd phase, and growing – quite literally – lovelier by the year. One of the best annual events in Cumbria’s calendar, it’ll transform the town into a haven for horticulture from Friday 30th May to Sunday 1st June, and see thousands of green-fingered visitors flock to its show-stopping displays (or marquees, if the clouds make an appearance…). It’ll offer the very best in botanical advice, as well as a roster of finger-licking local foods, crafts and arts, performance and good ol’ fashioned, family oriented fun.
Simply read on for our guide to this verdant event – when the sun is shining and the merging scents of flowers are on the warm breeze, it’s sure to be one of Cumbria’s most colourful. And after, simply head for the festival's website to book your place at the show.
Holker Garden Festival: everything you need to know
Holker Garden Festival: the venue
Set in the grounds of Holker Hall, Cark-in-Cartmel, the event is hosted by Lord and Lady Cavendish. Given that Downton Abbey is now just Sunday night pleasure, you don’t need a formal introduction to attend – but the stately home and acres of parkland are still as grand as ever. The tenant farmers are, needless to say, also different to their forebears of 1900… but their artisanal honeys, cheeses and meats have been perfected over the centuries. Get your chops around Saltmarsh Lamb or Shorthorn Beef. Seriously. And, to burn off the calories, you’ll have 25 acres of Holker’s award-winning gardens to explore – access is included within the price of your ticket. You can visit the Hall itself for £3.50.
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Holker Garden Festival: gardens
Avid gardeners of all kinds come to Holker Garden Festival: designers; landscapers; experts; businesses. There will be over 200 exhibitors this year: in the Horticultural Marquee, you can expect to find anything from carnivorous plants to exotic orchids and bonsai trees; outside, some of the area’s top nurseries will be selling their wares; elsewhere, you can enjoy the majesty of the show gardens and outdoor spaces – all examples of botanical brilliance. Each day sees experts in the Garden Theatre, but the 30th will see special guest Christine Walkden – gardening expert for BBC’s The One Show – doling out tips and tricks. There’ll be a Q&A session, as well as a book signing afterwards.
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Holker Garden Festival: yum in the sun
Foodies, be prepared to sample some of the finest produce our United Kingdom has to offer. At the pop-up Cartmel Village, you’ll find all sorts of local, delectable treats awaiting your approval: sticky toffee pudding; cheese; beer. And as for snacking on the go, everyone knows a roll stuffed to capacity with spit-roasted hog does the trick (though afternoon tea with scones, strawberries and oh-so-indulgent lashings of cream will make you look just as silly when you get it all over your face). The North West’s spoils are well represented here, both in the food courts and the Festival Restaurant.
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Holker Garden Festival: family fun
The best bit about taking little ones to Holker Garden Festival? Under-16s don’t have to pay a penny. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to appeal to them; far from it. Kids be spoilt for choice when it comes to fun-filled activities. They can climb the 50-foot Helter Skelter in the centre of the festival, watch sheepdogs do their thing, watch terriers race (who knew that was a thing?), pet Shire horses Ben and Troy, or eye up vintage tractors. Flower-themed stilt-walkers will be parading through the area, and there are a host of shows for families: this year sees Gerard Naprous and the Devil’s Horsemen Stunt Riders return once again. After, head to the Tipi Village for some crafty activities.
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Holker Garden Festival: tickets
An all-day ticket for Friday will set you back just £11.30, while a Saturday or Sunday ticket will cost £11.80 – either way, the reasonable ticket price leaves you all the more pennies to spend on goods at the show (my money’s on the home-made pastries and cakes). You can, when booking tickets, choose to book a two-course lunch in the official Festival Restaurant (£15 pp), or at a slightly cheaper price, indulge in afternoon tea (£12.50 pp). Strangely, it’s pricier if you’re not sure which day you’ll visit the festival – so, if you’d like to save yourself a bob or so, just plan your trip in advance. The festival is open each day from 10am - 5.30pm.
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All images © Holker Estate
Holker Garden Festival 2014 Accommodation
On the 2nd floor of a converted traditional stone mansion (built in the last century for the heir to the Cunard family), this light and comfortable apartment is ideally located between Ambleside and Waterhead at the north end of Lake Windermere. ...
Stone Leys Cottage is a quintessential Lakeland cottage complete with AGA in a large kitchen. This 200 hundred year old double-fronted stone property is in Haws Bank, a hamlet a couple of minutes south of Coniston. It has three bedrooms and spacio...
Tucked away behind the owners’ house, Bridge End Cottage offers spacious holiday accommodation. The cottage is inverted, having a double and twin bedded rooms and the bathroom downstairs and quarry tiled floors throughout. Upstairs, the ceilings...
This lovely holiday home offers spacious, luxury accommodation comprised of three reception rooms and three bedrooms. Bedroom room 1 is a king size master bedroom with en-suite shower room, bedroom 2 is also a king size room and bedroom 3 is a del...
Our self catering cottages have featured in Country Living Magazine's 'Great Escapes'. They are comfortable, well furnished and are maintained to the highest standards by the resident owners.
Each cottage was created from a range of ancient stone...
Smithy House dates back to the 1700s and has retained much of its traditional charm and character. It is set in the old part of Stainton on the village green.
Smithy House has its own mature gardens and is ideal for those looking for a retreat ...
Lovely log fire and quiet surroundings.. Why not ask us to arrange Champagne /Flowers for that special occasion.Happy memories are important to us all. If you love birds then a visit to Tarnside is a must, we have Woodpeckers,Nut Hatch ,Gold Finch...
Threeways is a spacious two floor apartment with WiFi offering high quality self catering in the heart of Keswick in the Northern Lake District. The property offers three spacious bedrooms, is situated above a local outdoor shop and has views towa...
building and outdoor:
Saxlingham Thorpe 13 km from Norwich: Rustic, comfortable bungalow Elmers Barn. In a quiet position. Parking (for 2 cars) at the house. Shop 500 m, bar 250 m. Golf course (18 hole) 6 km. Nearby attractions: ...
Park Lodge Apartment (sleeps up to 8 adults):
Entrance hall leading to stairs up to a double bedroom with 5ft. bed with separate adjoining cloakroom. Stairs leading up to:
First Floor: Kitchen/breakfast room, reception room and separate dining-r...