The present house has evolved over the last few centuries. There is evidence that there was a Georgian house on the site. The earliest parts of the present house are believed to be the Regency core of the main house which is now the Boudoir and Medal Room.
The house was much extended in late Victorian and in Edwardian times by Colonel Gascoigne to create a country home for his family. A lot of what you see in the house was given by Sir Alvary and Lady Gascoigne together with the estate to the city of Leeds in 1968.
The house is also home to a fabulous decorative art collection and is part of Leeds Museums and Galleries. The Fashion Galleries are on the first floor of the house in the old guest wing.
In the ground floor of the north wing you can get a glimpse of where the house staff once worked in the restored Servants’ Rooms.
The house hosts a regular changing exhibition programme. The annual theme in the Fashion Galleries is continued throughout the house. There are several, mainly local exhibitions featured in the Servants’ Hall each year.
The Chapel dates from the 12th century and once part of the medieval village of Luttrington and is dedicated to St James.
The gardens cover an area of 8 acres surrounding the front aspect of the House. They were designed mainly by Gwendolyn Gascoigne between 1903 and 1949.
The Edwardian Garden at Lotherton was a composition of both the formal and the natural, laid out by Gwendolyn who not only knew the stylistic rules, but also saw the existing qualities of the site and landscape.
The Gardens were designed as a series of enclosed gardens to the north and east of the main house. The old Walled Garden was transformed into an "old-fashioned" garden filled with rose beds and herbaceous borders with scented flowers, tender creepers and perennials. The William and Mary Garden was built with a sunken pond and plant walls. A part of the Victorian shrubbery was made into a rock garden, "The Dell" with winding sunken paths and a hard tennis court was laid out overlooking the pasture and the open landscape.
Since the city of Leeds was given the care of the Estate in 1968, many alterations have been made. These have mainly been superficial so the main character of the gardens remains intact. The gardens are now being slowly restored to their former state.
With over 480 individual birds, from more than 130 different species, the Bird Garden has developed into one of the UK`s premier collections of rare and endangered birdlife.
Explore the Bird Garden
Planted in 2005, in partnership with the Northern Fruit Group. The Orchard contains 109 of mixed use, old varieties including many from the Yorkshire region with over 200 trees in total.
Beyond the formal gardens, there is so much to see and do. Walk quietly along the perimeter fence of the Deer Park and watch the herd of red deer grazing. Saunter due south, off the beaten track onto Ranger's Walk; or continue beyond the Bird Garden entrance, and the countryside is only footsteps away.
Captain Wood Walk
A short easy walk through open mixed broadleaved woodland. See the abundance of flowers and wildlife in the hazel and ash coppice groups. Coppicing is the ancient craft of cutting young trees and shrubs to ground level, in a small area - a coup. This allows more sunlight to reach the woodland floor and encourages the regrowth of wildflowers. The path is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs all the year round.
Take a stroll around the cattle and horse paddocks on the south eastern side of the Estate on this circular walk of about two thirds of a mile. The hedgerows and pathways are rich with wildflowers and birds, and there are panoramic views of the open countryside. Partway round the trail is a group of standing stones 'Geometry in the Landscape'. Surrounded by flower filled banks and ditches it appeals to visitors either as an astronomical focal point, a place to sit and ponder, or a great natural play area for children of all ages. A leaflet is available from the Estate shop or Ranger's office. Suitable for electric wheelchairs and pushchairs in the summer.
Coburnhill Wood Walk
Put on your walking boots and follow Ranger's Walk - an ancient green track and public right of way - south of the estate towards Micklefield. A leaflet is available from the Estate shop.
Lotherton has its own herd of red deer. Visit the new Deer Hide and see how many you can count!
Lotherton is a great place to let off steam. Everyone can make use of our free-play fields. Feel free to bring your own games, fly a kite or have a kick about with all your friends and family.
The new Fashion Galleries opened in 2015. These have been created from the old Costume Gallery which opened in the 1970s in the former guest bedroom wing of the house.
The new galleries have modern flexible display cases which can be configured to show our extensive collections and key loan items to their best advantage.
Lotherton has an exciting events plan, with something for everyone.
See our Annual Events page for dates and more details.
From May to September enjoy our monthly themed events, including:
May Day Party
Fabulous Fifties Fete
Lotherton Autumn Harvest
Edwardian Christmas at Lotherton
Lotherton provides family-friendly fun, activities and games. From crafts to trails and workshops, there is always something to do. The programme includes the house, bird garden and estate.
Our spring and autumn seasons of Young Artists’ Recitals feature emerging musicians. There is regular music in the gardens in summer.
Lotherton features a range of adult workshops, tours and talks every month. Join the mailing list to keep up to date.
Leeds City Council What's On website
Lotherton Hall Facebook page
Hot and cold snacks and light meals are served. The cafe is also famous for the home-made cakes! Private rooms available for parties, groups and meetings.
Lotherton is a great place for picnics. There are many delightful areas to choose from as well as picnic benches in selected areas. Park and picnic by your car in the grassy car parking areas or take advantage of the new car-free picnic and play area next to the Bird Garden. There are other quieter areas in more secluded spots.
There is a kiosk in the courtyard, next to the café where you can get soft ice creams, choc ices and ever popular ices.
Within the old Stables Courtyard you will find the shop. As well as Lotherton souvenirs and giftware you will find a range of children’s toys and some great bargain books.