The Lowther Castle & Gardens Trust (the Trust) was established in 2007 as a registered charity to provide public access and enjoyment of Lowther Castle & Gardens, to oversee the castle and gardens’ continued regeneration, and to foster educational and other community benefits through a programme of restoration, education and discovery.
The Trust has a 51 year lease over Lowther Castle and 130 acres of gardens from the Lowther private estate. The lease will expire in 2061.
During the period 2008 –2016, the Trust raised £10 million from public and private sources and defrayed this amount on making safe the castle ruins, creating a visitor centre, implementing a Dan Pearson-led masterplan for the gardens and opening the site to the public in 2012.
The Trust is most grateful to The Northwest Development Agency (subsequently subsumed into the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), the European Regional Development Fund, Heritage England, The Architectural Heritage Fund and a number of private individuals for their generous financial support and encouragement during this period. The investment made has been hugely successful in creating a unique and much valued and admired visitor experience and has delivered all the objectives set by the grant funding bodies. This was achieved despite the unfortunate administration of the main contractor part way through the investment period.
In 2016, the Trust entered into a sub-lease with Lowther private estate whereby that estate took on responsibility for the operation of the castle and gardens and invested £3 million in the further development of the visitor centre and experience. The Trust has maintained ongoing oversight of these operations to ensure the continued delivery of its charitable objectives. It works in close partnership with the private estate to develop and operate the castle and gardens for the public benefit.
The trustees meet regularly with the team managing the operation of the castle and gardens. Working in partnership, they have developed plans for wider public access to the castle and gardens and the surrounding private estate, through enhancements to the site, with a focus on an enlightened educational programme. These plans are ambitious but sensitive to the environment and the local community.
The trustees want to involve people in the continued transformation of Lowther Castle & Gardens and to create a destination of quality that will bring new visitors to the region, provide education and employment and stand as a national benchmark for sustainable tourism.
Current trustees (for biographies, please click on each name):