Levens Hall and Garden Provides Canvas for ‘Tree Therapy’

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When Levens Hall and Gardens, near Kendal in the southern Lake District, open its doors again on Wednesday 27 March, the Elizabethan property and its stunning 10-acre gardens, including the world’s oldest topiary garden, will become a canvas for a season-long art exhibition inspired by trees.


The historic house and gardens is collaborating with local charity fundraising artist Bob Sutcliffe OBE, who will be displaying empathetic works of art produced for his ‘Tree Therapy’ exhibition.

These will sit alongside his ‘Tree Therapy’ book, on sale in the Levens gift shop.  This is aiming to raise money for Bob’s own charity, the Creative Health Trust, to fund creative therapies in hospices.

Eleven artworks, at any one time, many of which will feature trees gracing the amazing Levens Hall gardens, will be on display on giant easels specially built from reclaimed fallen timber.  Artworks have been created in a variety of media and will be located around the 10-acre gardens, so as to encourage visitors to have fun discovering their whereabouts.

Some will undoubtedly be found in the world’s oldest topiary garden, dating from 1694, where the Great Umbrella tree and its sister umbrella tree have inspired Bob Sutcliffe.  Other artworks may be in the tranquil Fountain Garden, by the Bowling Green, in the Orchard, Herb Garden, or Beech Circle.  Some might even be discovered by the Labyrinth or children’s playground, or perhaps close to the oldest ha-ha in England or one of the stunning colour-themed borders dividing the garden with a display of different hues and architectural plant structures.

The colours chosen for some of the paintings have been selected following discussions with head gardener, Chris Crowder, so that they can reflect or complement the planting in the garden’s borders and the flower beds around the topiary.  Over 30,000 bedding plants are grown each year at Levens Hall and Gardens, to ensure visitors can see ancient topiary set off at its very best and also borders full of pastel, red and blue flowers.

Artworks will be changing as the months go by, making it worth the while of anyone who can do so to visit regularly and see the entire collection.  This can be done very affordably with the purchase of a season ticket.

Bob Sutcliffe will also be staging several workshops in the gardens, including one on Levens Hall’s World Topiary Day celebration, on Sunday May 12.   At other times, he will be painting in the gardens and art enthusiasts can talk to him and find out more about his work.

The artist is a prolific fundraiser, having so far raised over £500,000 for various health charities.  He only learned to paint after being diagnosed with late-onset epilepsy in his 30s and then suffering a heart attack 10 years later.  Both events led to Bob using art as health therapy and now allowing others to do the same, through his Creative Health Trust charity, which provides grants to hospices wishing to assist patient health through creative activities.

Those wishing to see the Tree Therapy exhibition at Levens Hall and Gardens will pay just standard admission. For the gardens only, this costs £11.50 for an adult, £4.50 for a child and £29 for a family of two adults and two children.  Adding admission to the Hall as well, makes these prices £15.50, £5.50 and £39 respectively.

A season pass, to make the very most of all that ‘Tree Therapy’ can offer during the 2024 season, costs £30 (single), £55 (double) or £60 for a family of two adults and up to three children. This gives the holder the opportunity to visit time and again during the season.

Buy tickets or season passes at

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