Rivington Terraced Gardens is a magical place of hidden paths, caves, structures and lakes covering an area of roughly 45 acres of hillside. It’s open 365 days a year, and is completely free to visit.
Lord Leverhulme (William Hesketh Lever), the soap magnate and founder of Lever Brothers (now Unilever) conceived and built the Terraced Gardens with the help of Thomas Mawson between 1905 and 1925. After his death, and subsequent sale of the property in 1925, the gardens began to fall into disrepair. The houses were demolished after World War II, and Rivington Terraced Gardens were left to the forces of nature.
60 years later, United Utilities own the land, and the Rivington Heritage Trust repair and conservation project is underway.
As the project progresses, and more of the shrubs, self-seeded trees and mud are cleared away, the original shape of Lord Leverhulme’s garden is more visible. New paths are being discovered, new stairways uncovered, and visitors to the gardens are beginning to see how it once might have been.
There is nowhere else like it on Earth. With iconic structures like the Pigeon Tower, the Seven Arch Bridge, the Summer Houses and Loggia, not to mention the Pulham rock faces around the pathways and Lakes – the Italian lake, where Lever used to take his morning swim, and the beautiful Japanese Lake, which was once looked upon from glamorous oriental pagoda-style tea houses – the Gardens are truly unique.
Rivington Terraced Gardens has something for everyone:
- Garden and history enthusiasts will delight in its stories about Thomas Mawson – the world’s first “landscape gardener”, James Pulham – a landscape gardener specialising in rock gardens and grottoes, and Edith Rigby – the suffragette who burned down Lever’s original house in the Gardens
- Families and children will love exploring the paths, finding caves and exploring the foundation remains of the Bungalow.
- Walkers and Runners love the steps, inclines and hills and this majestic entrance to the West Pennine Moors.
- Wildlife and nature enthusiasts will enjoy the interesting plants that have survived from the oriental gardens, the vast variety of fungi, and the many birds and animals that live here. Will you spot some of our roe deer as you explore the myriad of pathways?
- Schools and Children’s groups – visit our Outdoor Classroom.
- Events – Visit the What’s On pages to see a list of activities coming soon.
Stop by at the Visitor Centre and pick up a map to help you on your journey of discovery.
Rivington Terraced Gardens sit on layers of terraces on the western side of Winter Hill, just below Rivington Pike. The hill is steep with uneven paths. It is not accessible to wheelchairs, and even the most ruggedly built pram would struggle. There are a lot of steps.
Sensible footwear is advised.
There are quite a few Car Parks dotted around the base of the Gardens, and visitors also tend to park around the lanes.
Food and Drink
The area is well-served for tea rooms and cafes in the village of Rivington, at the base of the hill.
There are well-maintained public toilets below the Visitor Centre, at the base of the hill.
Great House Visitor Centre
As well as finding maps, walking guides and books here at the Visitor Centre, you will also find exhibits about the local area – the reservoirs, Rivington Village and Liverpool Castle.
Great House Visitor Centre