The site of Lowther Castle has been occupied by the same family since 1150. Several different buildings have occupied the spot, the last of which was the castle itself. It was commissioned by William, 1st Earl of Lonsdale in 1806 and designed by the architect Robert Smirke, later responsible for many great civic buildings in London including the British Museum. In its heyday, the castle boasted a room for every day of the year. There was a grand art collection and the house was a celebrated beacon of the north.
130 years after it was built however, the castle was abandoned for good. The ‘Yellow Earl’, 5th Earl of Lonsdale spent his way through a vast fortune and the castle became a luxury too far.
War-time requisition by an army tank regiment, then crippling death duties finally sealed the castle’s fate and in 1957, James Lonsdale, the 7th Earl removed the castle roof. Every chimney pot, every door handle, every fireplace was sold and Lowther Castle became an empty shell.
Large visitor attraction of the year 2018
The history of Lowther Castle has now come full circle. From grandeur to extravagance to abandonment to demolition, the castle has become of the most popular tourist destinations in Cumbria. Intervention by public funding bodies, the creation of the Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust and extensive investment and hard work on the part of the owners have transformed the place into a thriving visitor location. The castle is now a garden and the gardens are being rediscovered and renewed. In the stable gallery, an exhibition tells The Story of Lowther – showing exactly how this fascinating place has held up a mirror to its times. For families, an adventure playground offers fun and excitement galore.
To find out more information about opening times and ticket prices, follow this link.