The Villa Levens was originally Brettargh Holt, a family home for the Brettargh-Yates family designed by local architect, Joseph Bintley in 1871.

It was later owned by Sir Charles Walker whose passion for orchids lead him to build greenhouses against the large garden walls that still remain. His daughters were well known suffragettes.

When he died in 1920 the estate was auctioned off and soon became the Levens Hotel and was altered to designs by Malcom G Shaw (Kendal) in 1928.

Due, it seems, to failure to obtain a liquor licence, Sam Ashcroft sold the estate to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart and in 1944 it became a convent followed by a home for single mothers in 1946 with accommodation for up to 35 mothers and babies.