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Spectacular summer gardens in Wiltshire and Somerset

Our day begins with coffee and cake at lovely Reddish House, a romantic, Grade II listed Queen Anne house built on a chalk hillside alongside the River Ebble in the Chalke valley. Once owned and loved by Sir Cecil Beaton who, over 20 years, created with his devoted gardener Jack Smallpiece, a garden as romantic as the house itself. Our guide will be current owner Sophie Caruth, who has been breathing new life back into the garden over the past six years with the help of designer Tania Compton.

They have been gradually transforming the old water garden opposite the house, which was bought by Cecil Beaton to make sure of the view from his bedroom window. The gardens are evolving, still bearing the stamp of previous owners, who include musicians Robert Fripp and Toyah Willcox. Alongside renowned large cloud topiary, the borders now burgeon with summer colour and there is a much-loved vegetable and cutting garden.

After a seasonal two-course lunch with wine at The Beckford Arms at Fonthill Gifford, we will travel to the spectacular Stavordale Priory, home of Michael Le Poer Trench and his partner, theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh, whose gardens have featured on BBC Gardeners’ World and are described by Gardens Illustrated as “singing with creativity and invention”. You will be free to wander around the garden’s borders, sculpted topiary, elegant lawns and occasional surprise feature. Originally laid out by the previous owner, garden designer Georgia Langton, the gardens overflow with features further developed by Michael over the past 20 years, including an arboretum and a vegetable garden. A delicious afternoon tea will follow.


£135, Garden Museum Friend £105 (Find out more about becoming a Friend of the Garden Museum)


We will start from Gillingham station, Dorset and transport between gardens is provided. 9.30am start. (See www.parkopedia.com if you wish to park in Gillingham.) The day includes morning coffee, a seasonal two-course lunch with wine and afternoon tea.

This event has been organised by the Garden Museum’s Garden Visits committee. We recommend you read our Garden Visits Attendee Charter and Refund/exchange policy before booking your place on any of our Garden Visits.

Image: Jason Ingram © (Stavordale) and Sophie Caruth © (Reddish House)