A delightful and well-run park, with on-lead dogs welcome in the formal gardens and rougher ground for off-lead romping.
WC+disabled, cafe, car park and disabled parking spaces in front of the cafe entrance. Garden entry charge, which includes access to the children's play garden, formal gardens, lakes, secluded seating areas, and Boatswain's memorial.
The famous memorial to Byron's newfie, Boatswain, is by the Spanish garden towards the rear of the house and in line with the ruined abbey window. Boatswain died of rabies at just five years old, and inspired Byron to pen the heartfelt if a bit long, poem below:
When some proud son of man returns to earth,
Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below;
When all is done, upon the tombs is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been:
But the poor dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his master's own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,
Denied in heaven the soul he held on earth;
While man, vain insect! Hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole, exclusive heaven.
O man! Thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy smiles hypocrisy, thy words deceit!
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! Who, perchance, behold this simple urn,
Pass on - it honours none you wish to mourn:
To mark a friend's remains these stones arise:
I never knew but one, and here he lies.
There's a lot to see here, and if you want to have a full explore then allow most of the day for a leisurely tour of the house and gardens. For a swifter visit, dogs will be happy with an off-lead walk towards the Papplewick gatehouse. This is a little used metal lane that runs behind the house and gardens and starts more or less opposite the car park. This is also a useful route for calming boisterous dogs before going into the gardens.
Note: the Big Lake is dangerous for dog swimming as the slopes are steep and dogs can't get out. The Fire Brigade charge for rescues.
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Edited: 13th April 2020. The details of this listing may have changed, and though the Driving with Dogs team do our best to confirm the accuracy of every listing, we cannot guarantee that the details are fully up to date and accurate. If you know that any aspect of this listing is incorrect, please suggest an edit to let us know.