Some of the best gardens to visit in Berkshire this summer
PUBLISHED: 09:02 13 July 2015
We've rounded up a selection of beautiful Berkshire gardens open this summer for you to enjoy
Many beautiful gardens open in the next few weeks, some for the National Gardens Scheme, which raises funds for charities. It’s a chance to see some beautiful displays, including in gardens that open to the public just once or twice a year.
You’ll find ones attached to small private homes where the owners meticulously care for cherished borders. Others, such as those at National Trust properties, will be providing their best views of the year as earlier planting reveals its results.
At many there’s the chance to enjoy refreshments (perhaps a cream tea!) and if you plan well it’s possible to enjoy a lovely day out, perhaps taking in two or more gardens, a pub lunch and walk round a village you’ve previously only known as a name on the county map, or not visited for some time.
According to the UK Landscaping & Garden Trends Report by Houzz.co.uk, almost a third of UK homeowners will undertake a garden project this year, with 28% planning to landscape or upgrade their grounds. If you’re one of them, and seeking ideas for your own garden, take a look at our selection, you’ll find many more open on dates throughout the summer at www.ngs.org.uk.
The Savill Garden, Windsor Great Park
The perfect summer treat is a visit here, you really can make a day of it. Open from 10am to 6pm throughout the season, there’s the beautiful greenery and blooms (get ready for the roses) to enjoy in a historic setting, woodland and ornamental areas. Regular visitors always find something new to enjoy alongside their favourite views and planting schemes.
All of this comes with the extraordinary undulating curves of the leaf-like roof of The Savill Building, an outstanding visitor centre built in 2006 and which used sustainable timber from Crown Estate forests. It’s a great place to enjoy if the weather is unfriendly, with its airy restaurant and gift shop, but you’ll definitely be drawn outside to the charms of the ornamental gardens.
Entrance fees are £9.75 adults (£8.75 seniors), £4.35 under 16s (under six, free), with family tickets available.
For more information on The Savill Garden and details of The Valley Gardens and Virginia Water see www.theroyallandscape.co.uk.
Wander the delightful gardens at will during summer, or make the most of them on Tuesday afternoons from 2pm throughout July when hour-long guided tours led by expert members of the gardens team introduce you to the latest developments there. The guided tours are free once you’ve paid the National Trust entry fees (£9.50 adults with Gift Aid, £4.75 children, family tickets available) and are popular, so arranged on a first-come first-served basis.
One of the great things about Cliveden is that there really is something for all ages, with a maze, picnic areas and café alongside beautiful gardens and grounds overlooking the Thames. See some astounding sculptures, the ever changing and magnificent parterre and huge trees which have provided shade for royalty and noted visitors of the past.
For more see www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden.
Littlecote House, Hungerford
This Grade 1 Listed house is now part of the Warner Leisure Hotels Group, offering holidays for adults, so if you want to visit the gardens when they open under the NGS this is a ‘grown ups only’ event.
Enjoy the views over the Kennet Valley and some beautiful formal areas including traditional clipped yew and box hedging. There’s a stumpery and a courtyard featuring large planters, plus plants and garden bits abd bobs for sale in the Potting Shed Shop.
NGS open days this summer are 11am to 4pm, Sundays, 28 June, 26 July and 23 August, admission £4 with cream teas available to purchase. See www.warnerleisurehotels.co.uk.
West Mills Allotments & Island Cottage, Newbury
Something quite different here – see allotments and a small town garden in the centre of Newbury, open for the first time under NGS. Some of the plot holders will be present to chat, so if you are a newbie planning a fruit or vegetable section in your garden, here’s the chance to get some good advice. As for nearby Island Cottage, there’s a good story here in this garden set between a backwater of the river Kennet and the Kennet and Avon Canal. A great deal of work went into it over nearly a decade and then much of it had to be redone after the floods of last year. There’s also a studio with a small display of work by local artists and you’ll find plants for sale at both sites. See www.ngs.org.uk.
Farley Hill Place Gardens, Farley Hill
This is one of the best walled gardens you’ll see – it’s caught the eye of no less than Alan Titchmarsh. If you’ve got an old glasshouse in your property, definitely don’t knock it down until viewing how the Victorian version in this 18th century cottage garden has been restored alongside a small nursery.
The well-stocked garden includes vegetable areas as well as herbaceous borders and a new herb garden – there’s plenty to view.
Farley Hill is a small village near Swallowfield and the garden owners, Tony and Margaret Finch, are opening it for the NGS on Sunday, 19 July, 2 to 5pm, admission £4, children free.
Visits by groups of 15+ can be arranged on other dates throughout the summer, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for availability and pricing. See www.ngs.org.uk
If you’d like to see a spectacular example of what can be done with a small urban garden, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better example than this delight in Loddon Bridge Road, home of Janet and Bill Bonney, a previous BBC Gardener of the Year finalist.
It’s open on Sunday, 26 July from 2 to 5pm under the NGS, admission £3.50, children go free, with home made teas available. Parties of around 10 to 15 are also welcome by arrangement in summer.
So what will you find? Alongside mature trees and a fern walkway there are unusual hostas, ornamental grasses and plants. Latest developments include a vertical garden, Heuchera Tapestry bed. and stained glass and ceramic art. See www.ngs.org.uk for the open day, mail email@example.com for visits at other times or further details.
Old Waterfield, Ascot
Hugh and Catherine Stevenson will be opening this charming garden for the NGS in Winkfield Road between Ascot Heath and Windsor Great Park from 2 to 5pm on Sunday, 30 August. It’s grown to four acres to enjoy, developed from the original kitchen garden. Take a tour of herbaceous borders, a meadow with specimen trees, large productive vegetable garden, orchard, and mixed hedging.
Plants and dried flowers for sale will include some unusual varieties grown on site from seed. Take home some Old Waterfield jam and chutneys and enjoy home made teas.
Admission is £4 (children free), see www.ngs.org.uk.