Name: The Sculpture Gallery at Lowther Castle

Where: Lowther Castle, Lowther, Penrith CA10 2HH


Tel: 01931 712192

Opening hours: Afternoon tea every Saturday and Sunday 12noon-5pm (last sitting 4pm).

Owners: Jim and Vanessa Lowther

History: Lowther Castle was built in 1806. Although it had well over 200 rooms, it was not big enough to house the remarkable collection of ancient sculptures put together by the second Earl of Lonsdale and, in 1866, two galleries were built, one east, one west.

While the castle itself remains a ruin (following demolition in the 1950s), the east Sculpture Gallery has been restored to new magnificence. Views over the parterre tapestry garden bring the outside in and make afternoon tea in this setting truly memorable.

Style of food: In keeping with the historical setting, the theme of afternoon tea at Lowther is black and white and the menu traditional. It includes delicious finger sandwiches, savoury nibbles, cakes, a scone, tea, coffee and optional wines.

Menu sample: Sandwiches include smoked Scottish salmon and herb cream cheese; free-range egg mayonnaise and watercress; mature Cheddar cheese and pickle; Cumbrian roast ham and Dijon mustard. Other savoury treats include goats’ cheese bon-bon and mini quiche. Sweets feature a dark chocolate treat, blueberry cream and jam cake, macaroons, lemon meringue tart and traditional home-made fruit scones with clotted cream and jam.

In their own words: “Since the Lowther Castle project first got underway in 1999, Jim and Vanessa Lowther have very much focused on adding new layers of history.

“Both inside and out, the castle has its own clear style – chic, contemporary, bold, thoughtful.

“The Sculpture Gallery is very much a reflection of this, as is the presentation of afternoon tea. We respect the past and embrace the future. Guests can come and enjoy a traditional menu with a contemporary twist, all in an exceptionally elegant and stylish setting.”

n The price for afternoon tea is £27 per person (including entry to the castle and gardens) or £50 for two. Well-behaved dogs are welcome. At least 24 hours notice must be given in advance. To book call 01931 712192.