Delightful gardens with herbaceous borders, avenues, terraces with statues and fountains by Jan van Nost the Elder. Other features include the Yew Tunnel and Birdcage by Robert Bakewell c.1705-10.
Extensive restoration of the gardens was carried out at the beginning of the twentieth century and continues today.
The layout and the majority of the main features of the garden have changed little since the early 18th century.
The house is now the seat of Lord and Lady Ralph Kerr.
The gardens are open on Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays in the afternoons. The house is open in the afternoon of most days in August.
Historic Houses and RHS members visit for free.
The Hall was originally a 12th century rectory owned by the Bishops of Carlisle. It was bought by Sir John Coke who made changes to the house in 1620s. In 1692, Thomas Coke, Vice Chamberlain to Queen Anne, inherited Melbourne. With advice from Henry Wise and George London of Brompton Nurseries, Coke laid out the gardens between 1704 – 1710. Further alterations were made by Coke’s son in 1740s.
The estate descended through the female line to Sir Matthew Lamb whose son Penistone Lamb was created first Viscount Melbourne in 1770.
In 1805, Melbourne was inherited by William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne. Melbourne married Lady Caroline Ponsonby who had an affair with Lord Byron. She described Byron as ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know’. Melbourne was Prime Minister in 1834 and again from 1835 until 1841. Melbourne in Australia was named in his honour.
Melbourne Hall passed through the female line to the Cowper and Kerr families.