Three miles north of Keswick on the shores of Bassenthwaite Lake, Mirehouse and Gardens is an absolute gem of a place. Here’s how we did it.
Where is Mirehouse?
You can find Mirehouse and Gardens on the A591, 3 miles north of Keswick.
Parking and toilets for Mirehouse and Gardens are at Dodd Wood car park (pay on exit), which is just across the road. Just next to the carpark you will find The Old Sawmill Tearoom, which is where you buy your tickets for entry to Mirehouse and Gardens.
Mirehouse and Gardens Prices
We visited on a day where only the gardens were open, and we found the prices really reasonable for a family of five:
- Gardens Only
- Adults: £5.50
- Children: £2
- Under 4’s: free
- House and Gardens
- Adults: £10.50
- Children: £4
- Family (2 adults and up to 4 children): £26
- Under 4’s: free
Once you cross the road and walk into the entrance to Mirehouse and Gardens, you will come to a gatekeepers cottage on your left. This is where you show your tickets. When we visited, the lady working there was so friendly, and she gave us a map of the gardens and explained the best route around the whole place.
We visited on the very last weekend of Mirehouse’s opening season, and the autumn colours were on full display.
There are signs all over the garden making it easy to find your way around, with loads of different areas to discover and play in. We started in the Forest Castle and Steeplechase zone, where we found natural play areas with lots of room for imagination and play.
The gardens are full of new and different areas to discover, with all different types of terrain on display.
We were delighted to find a Forest Hazard Course for children aged 12-16. It’s our experience that quite often this age group isn’t catered for when it comes to physical play areas, so we love it when we come across one!
The Forest Hazard Course was made up of wooden play structures to climb over/under/across, with a zip wire to finish off with. We loved it!
We followed the map in the order suggested (there are numbers to follow around the gardens) and after the hazard course we found a small playground which would suit the under 5’s. We continued on and come out into a much more manicured and organised part of the gardens, complete with a low maze, stone circle and lots of areas especially for bees.
There was even a garden just for the bees!
This area was flat and open and brilliant for running around in!
After leaving the bee garden, we continued down the path towards Mirehouse itself. The house is well hidden behind all the trees so you don’t see it until you’re right there next to it.
Even on a grey autumn day, the house looked beautiful set amongst it’s amazing gardens.
The map indicated an area that you could visit just past the house, labelled as a poetry walk. We had a little look at this but as it was so quiet on the last day of the season, we really felt like we were intruding on someone’s private garden, so we didn’t stay long!
Just across from the main house, we found access down to a stream with a waterfall (we love a waterfall!) with a bench to rest for a few minutes. This part of the garden is beautiful, and the perfect place to stop for a snack.
After the waterfall, there is a long path that leads out of the wooded area down to a church, which stands within the gardens. It’s here that you get your first glimpse of Bassenthwaite Lake beyond the fields and the church.
If you are walking with small children and don’t have a burning desire to visit, I would maybe miss out the church. Because of the fencing, it’s an extra walk in addition to the natural loop around the gardens, and you have to walk quite far out and back on yourself if you want to visit the church. It is very beautiful, just a long way for little legs!
When you finally reach the church, you enter the churchyard via a gate. The church is always open and everyone is welcome to go inside. I think it’s one of the most beautiful locations for a church that I’ve ever seen.
After the church, you’ll need to retrace your steps back to join the loop which then leads you around the edge of the lake and back up towards the gatehouse where you started.
The last part after leaving the lakeshore is quite a walk up a gentle hill, this is where our legs started to get quite tired!
And finally, once you’re safely back across the road, it’s time for refreshments at The Old Sawmill Tearoom!
We absolutely loved Mirehouse and Gardens, and we’re making plans for a return visit next year on a day when the house is open. Definitely recommend!