Recently featured on Britain's ITV program The Lakes - wish I'd been there to view it - Muncaster was originally set on 23,000 acres of land granted to Alan de Penitone in 1208, the castle was built 50 years later. Go here for the story of Muncaster Castle and its interesting history, and here for the story of the Pennington family.
The castle overlooks amazing gardens, now reduced to 1,800 acres, and beyond to the surrounding farms and fells.
A great castle to visit in Western Cumbria......and supposedly the most haunted place in Britain.
Mullioned castle windows with climbing wisteria.
The tower where the Pennington family live. Sadly, Phyllida Duff-Gordon-Pennington, chatelaine of the castle, died here the evening prior to our visit. She was known as a gentle soul, well-respected, and often seen chatting with tourists to her home and gardens.
Walking toward the entrance to the castle huge rhododendrons and azaleas are quite breathtaking. It is thought the Romans introduced non-indigenous species, including Spanish Chestnut trees to the garden. The hybrid rhododendrons were first planted as seeds in 1840 and vary in color from pure white to blood red.
Many other flowering plants are gorgeous and line the pathways........truly glorious gardens.
Babs, Kim, Mary and Paula...................dwarfed by the gigantic azaleas!
Another surprise in the castle grounds...............a huge group of beautiful herons visit each afternoon to be fed.
However, the biggest surprise was that Muncaster Castle is also home to the World Owl Center and the World Owl Trust, the first owl conservation organization to work on a global scale. There are over 50 species to view, owls from the Arctic to Australia, from the giant eagle owl to the tiny pygmy owl, all exceptionally beautiful and interesting.
What a great time we all had here at the castle.......another day out in the Lake District.