Gardens of Distinction
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Some very distinguished gardens feature in this tour of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, not to mention some very stately homes, including Blenheim Palace and Waddesdon Manor.
It is on the Waddesdon Estate that we enjoy the exclusive highlight of our holiday, a guided tour of the private Rothschild walled garden at Eythrope, a working garden that provides produce for the Waddesdon estate. After our private tour we will transfer to Waddesdon Manor itself for lunch. Thereafter, we will have the afternoon to tour the house, a lavishly decorated fantasy pastiche of a Loire Château, and explore the gardens, with their elaborate bedding schemes and Rococo aviary.
Elsewhere, we visit other gardens associated with distinguished politicians, such as the late Lord Carrington’s garden at The Manor House and Blenheim Palace, the seat of the Duke of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. The Savill Garden in Windsor, which has connections with the Royal Family, completes an aristocratic garden tour.
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Comfortable coach travel throughout
- Meals - as per the itinerary
4 May 2020: Itinerary
We depart from our London pick-up point and head for our first visit, the Savill Garden in Windsor, one of Britain’s greatest ornamental gardens. Neither a botanical garden, nor a kitchen garden attached to a great house, it is a garden for the garden’s sake, enjoyed by horticulturalists and enthusiasts alike. It never fails to charm visitors who come to explore its 35 acres of contemporary and classically designed gardens and exotic woodland. Developed under the patronage of Kings and Queens, The Savill Garden was created in the 1930s by Sir Eric Savill. It began as a woodland garden, with native oak, beech and sweet chestnut trees, but has since evolved by incorporating many new plants over the years.
We continue to our comfortable hotel in Oxfordshire. Dinner is served in the evening.
Meals include: Dinner
Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
This morning, following breakfast, we visit the walled garden at Eythrope (pronounced ‘Ee-throp’), part of the Waddesdon Estate, which was acquired by a branch of the Rothschild family in the 1870s. The garden is only ever open by special appointment and we will be privileged to enjoy a private guided tour of this productive garden, which supplies vegetables, fruit, herbs and cut flowers for the Rothschild family as well as Waddesdon’s restaurants, hotel and artisan food market. A working garden on this scale is rare in the 21st century and Eythrope is legendary in the garden world for the excellence of the gardening and as a haven for traditional techniques that might otherwise be lost. Our tour includes the four-acre walled garden, glasshouses and orchard.
Following our tour we transfer to nearby Waddesdon Manor, where we will have lunch in the restaurant, and in the afternoon we will be free to tour the house with its opulently decorated rooms and the extensive gardens. Waddesdon is a fantasy pastiche of a Loire Château, finished in 1889 for Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild, situated on top of a knoll with fantastic views over the Vale of Aylesbury. To the south of the house are terraced gardens which have been restored to their original Edwardian splendour with elaborate bedding schemes, featuring tens of thousands of bedding plants which create a padded effect like a well-filled eiderdown. A splendid Rococo ironwork aviary housing exotic birds overlooks a garden designed by Lanning Roper in the 1960s. Many other parts of the garden are also being restored.
We return to our hotel where dinner is served in the evening.
All meals included
Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
After breakfast we depart for Blenheim Palace, one of the great stately homes of England and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. From the imposing Great Hall to the beautifully intricate State Rooms, the Palace balances delicate detail with ambitious architecture on the grandest scale. Stunning portraits, tapestries and an exquisite collection of furniture grace the Palace interior, set against a magnificent backdrop of ornate ceilings and striking stone work. The Park was landscaped by Capability Brown and the magnificent vista leading north across Vanbrugh’s bridge to the immense Column of Victory, surmounted by a statue of the Duke of Marlborough, is said to be one of the finest views in England. The formal gardens owe much to the 9th Duke of Marlborough who, in the 1920s, with the help of the French landscape architect Achille Duchêne, redesigned the previously uninspiring gardens to provide the Palace with the formal majestic setting that visitors see today. Lunch is available here (not included).
In the afternoon we cross from Oxfordshire into Northamptonshire for a visit to Thenford Gardens and Arboretum. Michael and Anne Heseltine purchased Thenford House and its surrounding garden in 1976, whilst adding over 400 acres of agricultural land to the horticultural and agricultural assets of Haymarket Media Group. Over the next twenty five years their priority consisted in the restoration of 40 acres of woodland. The debris was cleared, rotten or fallen trees replaced, the walled garden brought back to its former use, the medieval fish ponds dredged and the water flow restored. The two acre lake had to be cleared of silt and its stone retaining wall rebuilt. In order to help with the replanting programme the Heseltines sought advice from some of the leading horticultural leaders of the time, including Lanning Roper, Sir Harold Hillier, Roy Lancaster and Keith Rushforth. The result is an excellent garden and impressive arboretum that stands shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the county.
Dinner is served at our hotel in the evening.
Meals include: Breakfast, Dinner
Hotel: Oxford Witney Hotel
Following breakfast we return to Bucks for a visit to the gardens at The Manor House, which was built in the mid-17th century and was purchased at the end of the 18th century by the first Lord Carrington, who lived at Wycombe Abbey, as the house of his eldest son. The house is currently undergoing major renovation by the seventh Lord and Lady Carrington before their occupation in 2020. Before 1950 there was no garden of any kind and it was not until 1969 that the present garden started to take shape. In front of the house is a lawn dominated by a large Cedar and a Beech tree, and beyond is a wrought iron gate leading into a traditional walled garden divided into four sections by two paths. Other highlights include a garden created in memory of Lady Carrington composed of her favourite flowers and shrubs; a small parterre presided over by a statue of St Peter that used to hang outside the office of Lord Carrington in Westminster and a sculpture garden.
Following our visit we will return to our original pick-up points with arrival due in the late afternoon.
Meals include: Breakfast
4 May 2020: Additional Info
4 May 2020: Accommodation
Just a short walk from the historic centre of the town, Oxford Witney Hotel, Witney offers great accommodation. Its close proximity to Oxford, Burford, and the Cotswolds makes it the ideal base for travelling throughout Oxfordshire, while elegant en-suite bedrooms are perfect for a tranquil night’s rest at the end of the day.
Enjoy a delicious meal in the contemporary Brasserie restaurant or maybe a light snack and refreshing drink in our bar and lounge. The hotel features a wide range of leisure facilities including a heated swimming pool, spa bath, steam room, and sauna—making Oxford Witney Hotel the right choice for conferences, meetings, weddings, and special events.