Brantwood was the home of John Ruskin, writer, philosopher and art critic from 1871 until his death in 1900. The estate covers 250 acres with spectacular views over Coniston Water.
The gardens are divided into eight areas including the Zig Zaggy. Designed by John Ruskin as the entrance to the garden, it represents Dante’s The Divine Comedy. In the allegory, the soul must travel through Purgatory to rid itself of the Seven Deadly Sins: pride, envy, wrath, sloth, gluttony, greed and lust. The visitor climbs from the bottom of the Mount (or car park!), through the six Terraces until they reach the 7th – the Terrace of Lust. The boiling hot, fetid mire of lust is represented by sheep’s wool with phallic flowers and large red lips emerging from the fire, gasping for breath.
Other areas are the High Walk with spectacular views over the fells, the Hortus Inclusus, the Harbour Walk, the Trellis Walk and the Professor’s Garden which is dedicated to plants that are good for the body and soul.
Before visiting listen to the videos on the Brantwood website. Great information on Ruskin’s vision for the gardens – in particular the Zig-Zaggy Garden.
If you have time, walk to the top of the hill behind Brantwood. Spectacular views over the landscape with Coniston Water in the distance.
Brantwood is managed by the Brantwood Trust.