The Top Five Parks and Gardens to Visit in the South Lakes

The Lake District has a well-deserved reputation for scenic country walks and picturesque views, but while the fells and peaks attract the most attention.

Borrans Park, Ambleside

The first of our South Lakes parks is situated on the shore of Lake Windermere. Borrans Park offers excellent views across the water, and is ideal for walkers of all ages and abilities. The lakeside park is perfect for a gentle stroll or afternoon picnic, and also contains the remains of a Roman road which leads to the nearby ruins of Galava, a Roman fort which once stood on Windermere’s shoreline. Borrans Park is easily accessible with no challenging footpaths or rough terrain, and is well-suited to older people, including wheelchair or mobility scooter users.

Castle Hill, Kendal

Overlooking the South Lakes town of Kendal, Castle Hill was once the site of Kendal Castle in centuries past. This 13th-century castle fell to ruin during the Tudor period and little of the original structure now remains, though the ruins have since been extensively repaired. Nowadays, Castle Hill is a lovely spot for an afternoon walk or picnic lunch, with landscaped fields flanked by tumbled-down walls. The site includes specially-commissioned sculpture seats by artist Alain Ayers, as well as information displays about the castle ruins. The hilltop offers one of the best views of Kendal to be found in the area, and the uphill walk from the town to Castle Hill is quite accessible, although may prove steep in places.

Photo by Jonny Gios Photography

Nobles Rest, Kendal

An oasis of calm and quiet within the bustle of central Kendal, the park known as Nobles Rest is a popular lunch spot, with meandering pathways, flowerbeds, and a wild flower meadow contained within its borders. Other features of Nobles Rest include a grass maze and a ‘sensory garden,’ which was created by the Kendal Rotary Club with funding provided by Marks & Spencer in 2000. Nobles Rest is perfect for a short, tranquil afternoon walk, especially for Kendal residents and visitors. The garden is easily accessed from the town centre.

Ornamental Gardens, Grange-Over-Sands

Offering a picturesque walk around a 19th-century duck pond, the Ornamental Gardens in Grange-Over-Sands meander around a central fountain, with gentle pathways that are well-suited to walkers of all capabilities. You will find plenty of seating available as you make your way through these gardens, which include the town’s War Memorial, unveiled in 1921. The pond is home to several species of waterfowl, and walkers can purchase duck food from the nearby shops on Yewbarrow Terrace, which overlooks the Ornamental Gardens.

Stockghyll Force, Ambleside

Once written about by John Keats, the last location on our list of South Lakes parks and gardens is the spectacular Stockghyll Force, one of the Lake District’s most impressive waterfalls. A winding, scenic footpath leads from Ambleside, through Stockghyll Woods, and along the cascading beck to the site of the falls themselves. At the end of this short route is a platform which offers stunning views of Stockghyll Force as it tumbles down the mossy hillside. While there is some rougher terrain in the Stockghyll Woods, most of the paths are gentle, with only a few steps here and there. Fortunately, a disabled access point does provide an alternate route to the main viewing platform for those who may struggle with the rougher areas.