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Barrington Court, Somerset

My visits to gardens and historic houses have been severely curtailed this year, for obvious reasons. However places are beginning to open up again, partially, at least. The National Trust is opening many of its gardens, although sadly the tea shops (a highlight of many a visit) are operating a limited take-away service only.

We picked Barrington Court for a day out as it is just over an hour’s drive from home, it had a nice garden, and we hadn’t visited it before. I didn’t realise how many similarities it had to my imaginary Birchanger Hall.

Barrington Court
The E-shaped side of Barrington Court

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English garden styles

I’ve posted two guest blog articles on Mary Anne Yarde’s website, about the changing styles of landscape gardening in Britain.
The first is based on a visit I made to Wrest Park last year, where much of the grounds are still laid out as they were in the early 1700s.

The house at Wrest Park from the far end of the Long Water.

The second post looks at the less formal style of landscape introduced by Kent, Brown and Repton.

The lake at Blenheim Palace

Belton House

Afficionados of the 1995 BBC TV version of Pride and Prejudice might recognise Belton House as Rosings Park, Lady Catherine’s home. This is the drive that Lizzie walked along with Mr and Mrs Collins, as he encouraged her not to worry about her dress, as Lady Catherine liked to maintain the distinctions of rank.

The approach to Belton House. The yew trees beside the gravel walk have been trimmed since the BBC filmed there.


There is a lot more detail on Belton House in P&P here for the exteriors, and here for the interiors.

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Hardwick Hall, Derbyshire

I visited Hardwick Hall in August, interested in visiting both the house and the grounds. The Hall is now looked after by the National Trust, and is a popular destination, especially in the school summer holidays. This is the first good view of the Hall you get, through a gate, as you approach from the car park. This is one end of the building, and already you can understand the rhyme:

Hardwick Hall, more glass than wall.

There are formal gardens to one side, this first picture shows the hedges separating the herb garden from an orchard and other areas, and more gardens in front of the house. Unforntunately, the design of these gardens dates from after Bess’s time, so we don’t get much of an idea of what the surrounding gardens looked like when she lived there.

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Beningbrough Hall, Yorkshire – kitchen garden

I spent a long weekend in Yorkshire in May, and as part of the trip I visited Beningbrough Hall, now run by the National Trust. Beningbrough Hall was built in the 18th Century, and the inside is fascinating – the National Trust have a portrait theme here, and display portraits on loan from the National Portrait Gallery. However as the weather was gloriously sunny, we spent most of our time enjoying the gardens. I’m particularly fascinated by the kitchen gardens of old houses like this.

Cordon fruit trees
Cordon fruit trees

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