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Towards Borrowdale from Friars Crag

Pictures of Holker Hall

a Historic Building in the town of Allithwaite, in the county of Cumbria

About Holker Hall

The tall ornamental chimneys, gables and mullioned windows of Holker Hall stand stark against the vast skies covering Grange-over-Sands in Cumbria. This is one of England's finest mansion houses from the 17th century, it is a "lived in" house and is the home of Lord and Lady Cavendish.

Holker Hall has been altered on a number of occasions, the most notable alterations are those by Lord Burlington in 1840, when the house was altered and refaced to give it its Gothic look. Lord Burlington also added stables and a conservatory. The other notable alteration to Holker Hall is the rebuilding of the entire west wing, this followed a fire of 178. The 7th Duke engaged the services of Paley and Austin of Lancaster to design a grand new wing in elaborate Elizabethan style. The wing, built of red sandstone is an outstanding example of the skill of the architects, who have been described by Pevsner as "the best architects in the country" of this there could be little doubt, as at each turn there is superb craftsmanship and intricate detail to catch the eye. It is this part of the house that is open to the public - and what a joy it is! All the more pleasing is the fact that visitors are allowed to look around at will.

The house is exceedingly spacious, grand it may be, but there is an intimate atmosphere about it, probably due to it being a much loved family home. The other feature which makes the house so special if the beautiful marble fireplaces, showing off the use of local stone. Mirrors and softly lit lamps complete an overall picture of elegance and comfort.

On the ground floor there are four rooms remaining in almost untouched condition. Of the rooms on show the magnificent drawing room with stunning silk wall hangings, beautiful carving and linenfold panelling is impressive, as is the dining room, billiard room and long gallery. You can take a peep at the Duke's bedroom and there is a dressing room known as the Wedgwood Dressing Room, this has a superb collection of Josiah Wedgwood's Jasper ware in the famous blue, green and lilac. There is also an elegant library room where you can see over three thousand books.

The grand staircase is a triumph of the work of the estate workers, this is elaborately hand carved, cantilevered with each baluster different to the other. Around the staircase is arranged a number of paintings, these include portraits of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza. Also open to public view is the room occupied by Queen Mary on a visit of 1937.

There are memorable collections, these include decorative arts, paintings, porcelain and fine furniture from several periods including some exquisite Louis XV pieces.

Holker Hall is a wonderful open place surrounded by stunning grounds containing many rare trees and shrubs, with one Lime tree rising to a dizzy 72 feet in height. In all there is around 120 acres of parkland and the garden covers approximately 22 acres. The park holds much interest including a herd of deer. There is a crafts and countryside museum, special events throughout the year with the spectacular "garden" event drawing visitors from all over. The Lakeland Motor Museum is famous for its superb collection of Vintage and Classic Cars, as well as farm vehicles, scooters and all manner of motoring memorabilia. There is also a cafe and a shop.

This house is a wonderful celebration of our national heritage as well as being a family home, as such it is well worth a visit.

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