From 1st September autumn in England officially begins and the Treasure Houses of England are inviting us all to immerse ourselves in russet tones and see spectacular floral displays as well as cultivated and wild parkland.
The Treasure Houses of England are ten of the most magnificent palaces, houses and castles in England today. Together they attract in excess of 2.8 million visitors annually so let’s take you through what’s on offer this autumn…
Where else than Beaulieu – meaning ‘beautiful place’ to admire autumn? You can find peace and tranquility in the walled cloisters and herb garden. Take a tour of the Ornamental Kitchen Garden complete with 1870s restored vine house. Walk along the scenic Mill Pond and wander into the natural splendor of the Wilderness Garden.
As autumn sets in at Blenheim Palace, 2,000 acres of parkland will be transformed with an array of warm colours, making this a beautiful time of year to come and take in the stunning landscape and views. There are a wealth of events and activities to enjoy throughout the winter months; highlights include the Festival of Literature, Film & Music, Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials and Sunday Jazz.
The Burghley Flower Festival takes place between the 3rd and 11th October and is an autumnal celebration which will transform Burghley’s State Rooms with floral displays created by local flower societies. Be inspired by the botanical theme ‘To be or not to be, a floral celebration of Shakespearean plays’ arranged with the 17th century art situated under opulent painted ceilings.
Take a stroll through Ray Wood at Castle Howard and marvel at 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 the tenth anniversary of Beyond Limits, Sotheby’s annual exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the garden at Chatsworth from 14 September to 25 October. The Kitchen garden is still producing good crops of plums, pears and apples to harvest, and at the beginning of September the Display House will have blooms on the passionflowers and water-lillies.
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 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. There’s also scarecrow trails around the grounds.
Or what about Hatfield House which forms the centre-piece of the largest private estate in Hertfordshire? With the woodlands covering an extensive spread across the county they offer a rich diversity of habitat and species. The woodland types range from the traditional coppice with standards, woodland and include commercial conifer broadleaved mixtures, continuous cover systems and minimum intervention woodlands.
Stock up on garden essentials and a great array of plants at Holkham Hall’s Plant Fair on 26th and 27th September. A highlight of this year’s fair will be a series of gardening ‘Masterclass Talks’, where Holkham’s Landscape Department will teach green-fingered visitors how to truly get the most from their gardens. 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 on 18th October.
Set in 500 acres of picturesque parkland, Leeds Castle is a lovely 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. The Festival of Flowers is on from the 22nd until 27th September when you can see the castle’s State rooms transformed into works of art using flowers, by local florists, flower societies and clubs. Leeds Castle will also host its first Fantastic British Food Festival between the 11th and 13th September when you’re invited to smell and taste goods from local food and drink producers, retailers, chefs and cookery schools.
Finally, 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.