Category Archives: Day Tours 19

Tour 11. Norfolk – Wednesday 3 July

Raynham Hall - Tour 11

Raynham Hall

Raynham Hall, Fakenham
The Marquess and Marchioness Townshend

William Kent was active in decorating Norfolk houses during the 1720s, particularly at Holkham and Houghton, but it is a particular and rare pleasure to be able to see his work at Raynham. The house was started in the 1620s by Sir Roger Townshend, after visiting the Low Countries and being inspired by Inigo Jones, Surveyor-General of the King’s Works. Minor works were carried out later by the second baronet. It was only in 1723 that Kent became involved with the interior decoration of the house for ‘Turnip’ Townshend, the second viscount. He designed the magnificent Marble Hall, the very typical enfilade of rooms on the east side of the house (which reveal how surprisingly intimate this large house is) and the State Dining Room, with its screen, an allusion to a Roman triumphal arch. Lord and Lady Townshend will take us around the house preceded by a talk on the portraits by the conservationist restorer.

Sennowe Park - Tour 11

Sennowe Park – Tour 11

Sennowe Park, Guist
Mr and Mrs Charles Temple-Richards

The approach to Sennowe is spectacular. The house which stands on a shoulder of hillside gazing proudly out over park, lake, the River Wensum and the landscape beyond, was originally built in 1774. It was remodelled by Decimus Burton (of Kew Palm House fame) in 1855 and then transformed in 1907 in the Edwardian Baroque style for Thomas Albert Cook, grandson of Thomas Cook, whose descendants live here still. The Italianate garden of the same date falls towards the park in monumental terraces. This is a wonderful and very comfortable house, whose history will be explained to us by Charles Temple-Richards, the current owner, before lunch in the winter garden.
* There are double and twin bedrooms, available for bed and breakfast at Sennowe Park. If you would like to book, please contact Virginia Temple-Richards directly at

Tudor Lodgings, Castle Acre
Mr and Mrs Gus Stafford Allen

Castle Acre had the grandest motte-and-bailey castle in England, built by William de Warenne around 1070, who then founded the priory in the 1090s. The town was walled in the 12th century. Tudor Lodgings, which Pevsner describes in detail, was originally 15th century monastic lodgings in the south west corner of the town. Today the two-acre garden, which lies between the house and the impressive remains of the Norman earthworks, is made up of a series of rooms; the first with a view from the terrace (with its Mondrian-inspired parterre) over the walls into the fields beyond the village. Beyond the unusual square dovecote and some intriguing box shapes, is a triangular space with an inspired planting of Panicum virgatum which leads on to the vegetable garden and a wilder area with a pond and shepherd’s hut sheltered by the enclosing banks of the town walls.

Tour 12. Northumberland Tuesday 9 July

Longwitton Hall, Longwitton, Morpeth
Mr and Mrs Michael Spriggs

The six-acre garden that surrounds the 18th century house has a wonderful inheritance of mature trees sheltering it on three sides, leaving a glorious view southwards towards the Pennines. The garden has been restored and replanted in recent years by Louise and Michael Spriggs, who have added a rose garden on the main lawn, created a vista across the house to a new pond, planted a yew and lavender walk and, most spectacularly, a laburnum tunnel. This is the best sort of garden; a private garden owned by passionate gardeners

Whalton Manor, Whalton, Morpeth
Timothy Norton Esq

Whalton Manor is an intriguing house, originally 17th century, with additions firstly by Robert Lorimer and later by Lutyens. The three-acre garden was originally laid out by Miss Jekyll, whose magnificent Wisteria still covers the front of the house. Lutyens designed the entrance archway, the huge paved courtyard and the pergola, beyond which lies the garden. An ancient oak, under-planted with peonies and Anemone ‘Honorine Joubert’, shades the lawn which slopes upwards to the two Lutyens summerhouses. Yew cones and a rose border surround the old grass tennis court and behind are Lorimer’s beautifully designed stables.

Bide-a-Wee Cottage, Stanton, Morpeth
The Robson Family

Three generations of the Robson family have created the garden at Bide-a-Wee Cottage, but the driving force has been Mark Robson, now a landscape architect, who started working on the garden aged twelve. The garden, on an exposed site, is laid out around an old sandstone quarry, once filled with rubbish and now is a supremely sheltered spot, with a pool fringed with Primula, Gunnera and Rodgerias.  This is a wonderful plantsman’s garden, with a range of plants from Azaleas in the spring to Agapanthus and Nerines in late summer. The garden, which houses the National Collection of Centaurea, also has an enticing nursery.

Stanton Fence, Stanton, Morpeth
Sir David and Lady Kelly

Stanton Fence

© Country Life Images

David and Angela Kelly bought the derelict Stanton Fence for its location. The house developed organically with their family, but Arabella Lennox-Boyd designed the garden. The quality is apparent at once, as the drive curves through the sheep-grazed parkland into a Prunus ‘Tai-Haku’ and hornbeam avenue. From the entrance courtyard the garden wraps around the house in distinct spaces. In the Pergola Garden, the pergola is smothered in Rosa ‘New Dawn’ and ‘Albertine’, and a mass of Clematis ‘Perle d’Azur’. Roses are as important in the adjoining Sun Room Garden, with Rosa ‘Paul’s Himalayan Musk’, covering the house. In the Kitchen Garden the emphasis is on ornament; from box parterre, the rows of white sweet peas to the greenhouse that is home to Angela Kelly’s collection of Pelargoniums.

Tour 13. Northumberland – Wednesday 10 July

Mildrum House

Mindrum House and Kirky Cottage, Mindrum
Mr and Mrs Tom Fairfax, Mrs Ginny Fairfax

The garden at Mindrum is a family affair. The 1830s house, which stands on a bluff above the Bowmont Water, was bought in 1927 by a hydro-electric engineer, whose wife acquired a rock garden from the Chelsea Flower Show which was subsequently buried and planted with Scots Pines in the 1940s. In 1955 Peregrine Fairfax acquired the house and began, with his wife Ginny, to replant the garden and reclaim the rock garden. Today Mindrum, in the hands of Tom and Miki Fairfax, is a romantic mixture of old roses and perennials surrounding open lawns by the house descending through specimen trees and shrubs to the river walks below. Ginny has created a new and very different garden around her new house nearby. The planting, remarkably established, is more cottagey, with lots of gravel planting and on a scale that is far less daunting than the garden she has left at the big house.

Hetton House, Wooler
Mr and Mrs John Lovett

Jane Lovett moved into John’s family home and set about creating a garden. The house was remodelled in the 18th century with a later kitchen wing, which opens onto a square terrace. This has pots filled with Plectranthus and surrounding borders filled with roses, Salvias, Perovskia, Dahlias and other perennials and annuals designed to look good all summer. Outside the 18th century house is a white border, with Romneya, Iceberg roses, white Delphiums, Ammi and Cosmos. A vista runs through a yew-hedged square garden, the entrance guarded by a pair of Malus transitoria. There is a new Spring Garden here, including Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ and Pulmonaria centred on a Cornus. The greenhouse and tennis court are separated by a border of globe artichokes, under-planted with tulips. Jane is a renowned professional cook and so I am delighted that she has agreed to give us lunch.

Lilburn Tower
Mr and Mrs Duncan Davidson

Lilburn Tower
Lilburn Tower was built in 1828 to succeed a 15th century pele tower. The house stands on high ground with views over the rolling hills of north Northumberland. The garden was laid out in a series of terraces descending to the kitchen gardens below. The Dutch garden is partly roses and peonies in box beds and partly carpets of thyme and sage surrounding a stone well head, a recent redesign by Head Gardener, David Sinclair. Below an orchard lies a long border, planted to peak in July and August. The spectacular glass house is filled with flowers for the house, with a central section of tender exotics including Abutilons, Brugmansia and Tibouchina. Peaches are grown in one semi–circular bay, balanced by another housing David’s award-winning Muscat vine. To the west of the house is the woodland garden, where Sarah Davidson has created an informal pond garden, accessed by a Wisteria covered bridge.

Tour 14. Northumberland – Thursday 11 July


© Blagdon Estate

Blagdon Hall, Seaton Burn
The Viscount Ridley

Blagdon Hall has been the home of the Ridleys since 1700. The house dates mostly from the 1750s with additions by James Wyatt in the 1780s and was restored by Robert Lutyens following a fire in 1944. In the 1930s Sir Edwin Lutyens remodelled the garden for his daughter Ursula, who married the third Lord Ridley. Lutyens paved the terrace to the south of the house, which has recently been replanted, and created the canal (the “sky mirror”) that runs for 550 feet to the south of the house into the post–industrial landscape that has been reclaimed and reshaped in the last few years under the guiding hand of Matt Ridley. Lutyens also laid out the walk west towards the walled garden. To the north of the house is the quarry garden where Matt’s father began his collection of trees and where, on the rock face, he commissioned a portrait of his grandfather, Ned Lutyens

Newbiggin House, Blanchland
Mrs Daphne Scott-Harden

Daphne Scott-Harden moved to Newbiggin House some 25 years ago and began to plant the garden around the house. Having previously worked as an interior designer, she was inspired to turn to garden design and built, by word of mouth, a flourishing international practice. The five-acre garden stands, challengingly, at 1,000ft and is planted to peak in August. The enclosed spaces behind the house are planted with late-summer flowering perennials and roses, particularly the dark pink David Austin rose ‘Flower Carpet’. Moving around the house, the garden expands, the perennials are replaced by shrubs and trees and the open moorland comes into view. The lawns slope down into a bog garden planted with Gunnera, Primulas and Filipendula, above the pond a Rosa spinosissima walk turns back towards the house and the final flourish of a parterre of clipped yew hedges and David Austin roses immediately outside the house.

Lambshield, Hexham
David Young Esq

The two-acre garden at Lambshield is, astonishingly, only eight years old. David Young has created a garden perfectly balanced between strong structure (all sculpture, walls, buildings and fencing are created by local craftsmen) and good, largely herbaceous planting. The front of the house is softened by clouds of Euphorbia wulfenii and a gap in the hedge leads through to a formal rectangular pool bordered with clipped yew cushions. The main borders surrounding a lawn, with four large yew cones at each corner, are designed to look their best from mid-summer. These are filled with Achillea, Helenium, Alstroemerias and Eupatorium as well as Dahlias and purple-leaved Cannas. Between the house and the steep slope that falls away to the river below, alarmingly called the Devil’s Water, lies an earlier-flowering garden, anchored by randomly planted yew pyramids.

Tour. 15 Essex -Tuesday 24 September

Ulting Wick, Maldon
Mr and Mrs Bryan Burrough

In one of the driest areas of the country, Philippa Burrough has risen to the challenge of creating a show-stopping garden. The gardens are designed to be at their best in the spring and then, after a major replanting in May each year, again in the autumn. Dahlias are the backbone of the strong autumnal flourish and bold colours flaunt against a background of the mellow tone of the house and the black wooden barns. The combinations change yearly, but staples include Ricinus communis, Salvias, Cleome, Cosmos, grasses and tender exotics. A cooler note is struck, by way of contrast, in the white and pink gardens. The vegetable garden is still productive and, in the autumn, squashes and chillies are to the fore. As if four intensive acres were not sufficient, Philippa has extended the garden into four more acres of woodland and a wild flower meadow.

Horkesley Hall, Little Horkesley
Mr and Mrs Johnny Eddis

Horkesley Hall
Horkesley Hall is a remarkable neo-classical house with an entrance portico of gigantic columns which are matched in style by the handsome stable block beyond. Johnny and Polly Eddis took over the house in 2002 and inherited a garden that had been extensively planted with trees by his father. On the south side of the house a terrace gives on to lawns which slope down to a lake, fringed by many of Richard Eddis’s trees, particularly Acers, Prunus and Malus among an older generation of trees which include an ancient Acacia, the largest Ginko outside Kew and substantial plane trees. A mixed border lines the south wall of the kitchen garden to the west of the house and a more formal garden, a mass of Dahlias in the autumn, lies to the east. The garden is a reflection of its owners; relaxed, informal and charming.

The Old Vicarage, Wormingford
Mr and Mrs Jeremy Allen

The 16th and 18th century Old Vicarage lies concealed in a sheltered hollow. One might have expected a traditional English garden around this classic English house, but Jeremy Allen, a garden designer, has created a more exciting and interesting garden, with planting designed to peak from mid-summer onwards. The garden, a wilderness of sycamore seedlings when the Allens arrived in 2005, has developed outwards from the house, starting, deceptively formally, with rectangular beds of Molinia set on a lawn against a background of clipped Photinia. A wide perennial border with lots of late-flowering Asters, Sedums and Verbena runs from the elegant Regency veranda towards the Rill Garden, planted with white-flowered Hydrangeas and Pyrus salicifolia. On the bank above the house, the planting becomes much less formal, with grass paths running through drifts of Persicaria, Echinacea and Deschampsia, ultimately merging into the surrounding landscape