Levens Hall and Gardens, near Kendal in the southern Lake District, will be thrilling visitors arriving on May 12 with activities designed to celebrate its inaugural World Topiary Day.
Levens Hall’s gardens are home to the world’s oldest topiary garden, founded in 1694 by Monsieur Guillaume Beaumont, James II’s former head gardener. World Topiary Day celebrates this and all things topiary and will be the focus of both on-site and off-site activities. It will also entice visitors to the brilliant topiary gardens during the rest of the season.
Taking place on the day that was traditionally set aside for Levens Hall’s very quirky Radish Feast – a jamboree of fun, games and downing of Levens Hall’s famous Morocco Ale founded in the late 17th century – World Topiary Day will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore over 100 pieces of topiary, with the help of head gardener, Chris Crowder.
With over three decades of caring for pieces like Elizabeth I and her Maids of Honour, the Judge’s Wig and the Great Umbrella, under his belt, Chris knows everything about the amazing 17th century garden and its individual pieces. He can also reveal what it takes to keep the Great Umbrella – one of the 50 Great British Trees, according to the Tree Council in 2002 – in tip-top topiary condition.
Chris will lead tours, starting at 11am, 1pm and 3pm on May 12, free of charge with admission. These will explore the garden’s history, offer tips on creating and caring for topiary and provide insight into how pieces got their names.
There are quizzes and other activities for adults and children and details of the children’s story competition Levens Hall is running, on the theme of ‘The Day the (Piece of Topiary) Came to Life’, in which children can decide on which piece to focus.
Meanwhile, there will be topiary inspired food in the contemporary Levens Kitchen and the Potting Shed Gift Shop will have a variety of topiary-themed items to explore and buy.
Visitors can benefit from the mindfulness many describe when quietly sitting on a bench and contemplating the shapes. Absorbing topiary pieces visually, and creatively processing what they could be, is thought to be beneficial to mental health and wellbeing, whilst the biophilia effect, through which nature uplifts, is another reason to spend time in the garden.
The rest of the 10-acre gardens can also be explored, discovering the 30,000 bedding plants grown annually at Levens Gardens, the Rose Garden, orchard, Willow Labyrinth, Beech Circle and the 1994 Fountain Garden, created to celebrate the garden’s 300th birthday. There is also one of the UK’s oldest ha-ha features to see.
Visit Levens Hall
Admission to Levens Hall’s gardens costs £10.50 for an adult, £4 for a child or £26 for a family. The gardens open at 10am and close at 5pm and visits to the Topiary Garden are available until October 7, 2021, but without the special World Topiary Day activities.
Levens Hall will be able to reopen its doors on May 17, in line with the Government’s Covid-19 roadmap, and admission to both Hall and Gardens will then be available at a cost of £14.50
for an adult, £5 for a child and £36 for a family ticket.
Entrance to Levens Kitchen alone is possible without paying for admission. More information is at www.levenshall.co.uk