Friday, 11 October 2013

Autumn Colours at the Treasure Houses of England

Autumn view at Blenheim Palace
Admire autumn in all of its awe-inspiring glory and take a group visit to the magnificent Treasure Houses of England. Marvel at the season’s spectacular colours courtesy of dazzling floral displays and special days out at the beautiful grounds and pristine parklands that surround the country’s most stunning palaces, estates and castles. 

From the sweet rose-scented Victorian Flower Garden to the Ornamental Kitchen Garden complete with 1870’s restored vine house, Beaulieu – literally meaning ‘beautiful place’ – is an absolute must-see. Take a stroll with their scenic Mill Pond walk and wander into the natural splendour of the Wilderness Garden, which dates back to the 1770’s.

The Secret Garden, one of Blenheim Palace’s most popular attractions, is a garden for all seasons. Conceived by the 10th Duke, it boasts magnificent mature trees along side new planting, water features, and a twisting stream, it is a perfect spot to relax and admire the myriad of autumn colours.

Local flower societies transform Burghley’s staterooms into fabulous floral displays during Burghley Flower Festival (Saturday 5- Sunday 13 October). Take a tour through the prettified interiors of this great Elizabethan house where the painted ceilings and seventeenth century art will be inspirationally echoed by breathtaking blooms.

Take a stroll through Ray Wood at Castle Howard and marvel in the season’s striking tones and resplendent autumn colour, from the many shrubs and trees, and huge array of ripened fruit and berries.  Then make your way to the ornamental kitchen garden - Castle Howard Potager – for the autumn vegetable garden harvest.

Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden continues to change today. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including permanent sculptures to be found.  The famous waterworks include the 300 year old Cascade, the trough waterfall in the rockery and the enormous gravity-fed Emperor fountain. As well as the huge maze, the rockery and the rose, cottage and kitchen gardens, there are also over five miles of walks with rare trees, shrubs, streams and ponds to discover.

There are over 100 acres of Gardens at Harewood. They are full of variety, with plants from all over the world - all in the setting of a magnificent landscape created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Harewood’s renowned Bird Garden is home to exotic species including penguins, owls, flamingos
 and parrots and the Himalayan Garden is an extraordinary world in miniature, a plant-hunter’s paradise.

Stock up on garden essentials and a great array of plants at Holkham Hall’s Plant Fair (28-29 September). Hosted in the vast arena of the Walled Gardens, a range of plant nurseries from across East Anglia present special seasonal plants and offer up top tips to gardeners. Or for a chance to see the spectacular arboretum with its many unusual and rare specimen trees resplendent in their autumn foliage, book onto one of the Autumn tours of the private gardens surrounding the 18th century hall.

Set in 500 acres of picturesque parkland, Leeds Castle is the perfect setting for an autumn day out.  Take a stroll through the Wood Garden, which follows the curve of the River Len to the Pavilion Lawn.  Meanwhile, the Culpeper Garden features the heady likes of roses and exotic blooms for an intoxicating palette and fusion of scents.

Woburn Abbey’s
tranquil Abbey Gardens are open for everyone to enjoy the brilliance of Humphry Repton. Make your way through approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.  Discover the bog garden, a recent addition with it carnivorous plants, the romance of the Doric Temple which was carefully restored last year and watch the recreation work in progress on the rockery and grotto.

Treasure Houses of England
  • The Treasure Houses of England are 10 of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Together they attract in excess of 2.8 million visitors annually.
  • Members are Beaulieu, Blenheim Palace, Burghley House, Castle Howard, Chatsworth, Harewood, Hatfield House, Holkham Hall, Leeds Castle and Woburn Abbey.
  • One of the most compelling features of the Treasure Houses of England is that they all offer the visitor a living history. Most are still homes to the great families who have owned them for generations. Others keep their heritage alive by re-creating scenes and events that have dominated and shaped England from the 9th century to the present day.
  • Between them they house some of the most important art collections in the world with famous works from artists such as Van Dyck and Gainsborough. The connoisseur of fine furniture, porcelain and china will find priceless examples of Chippendale, Wedgwood and Meissen.
  • Each house is an architectural masterpiece surrounded by beautiful parklands and gardens.

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