An astounding castle transformation in England’s Lakes District

Admit it, we’ve all been there. At some stage in our life we’ve all gotten into an argument with our father about what to do with the family castle.

Walking among the ruins of Lowther Castle, in the county Cumbria and part of Lake District National Park, I wonder how I would have handled things if I’d been in Jim Lowther’s shoes, charged with steering the fate of the decrepit remains of my famous family’s legacy.

Jim’s shoes just happen to be walking beside me, as the man himself shows me round the £15 million restoration project that has saved his abandoned Regency-gothic family home from complete collapse, turning it instead into an inspired Lake District attraction. If these walls could talk they might well beg for more support.

Okay, so technically the castle is still a ruin. For a start, it’s missing a roof. Jim’s father took that off in 1957. He’d already sold everything inside, in the largest country house sale England had ever seen. The façade remains an imposing fortress, like the castle from your childhood imagination. Part of what set Jim on the course of preserving – but not repairing – the crumbling castle, was that he recognised it had more potential as a ruin than a house. Over a classic English afternoon tea in the castle’s former sculpture gallery Jim fills me in on one of the strangest family stories I’ve ever heard…

Read the full story here