Charles Lowther and the rest of the team behind the excellent George and Dragon in Clifton have this month opened the gardens and cafe at Askham Hall in Penrith, Cumbria. This the first stage of a project that will next year see the beautiful Grade 1 listed house offer rooms, restaurant and spa. For now you can visit the gardens with their colourful terraces, herbaceous borders, formal lawns, kitchen gardens and woodlands. The Kitchen Garden Cafe, below, serves coffee, cake, light lunches, wines and local ales and, like the George and Dragon, uses only produce from the Lowther Estate. There is also a stone built wood fired oven for making pizza and a tempting selection of homemade ice creams.

Askham Hall Gardens and Cafe are open every day from 10-5.30. Entrance to the gardens is £5.50.