I always get a bit lost when I have a flexi day. I always have great ambitions to meet up with friends and do exciting things. But it doesn’t always work like that. Last week I had another flexi day and I had big plans.
I knew it was going to be a lovely day and wanted to try and get out for some photography to several places I’d had on my to visit liat for a while. It turned out that I didn’t have time to go to Rousham Gardens because I got waylaid with other places. Instead the bank holiday weekend and N’s love of farming, meant I had a morning to myself. So a visit to Rousham it was.
Rousham House and Gardens is a private home in Oxfordshire where they open the gardens in the summer to the public. The only downside if you like going out as a family is that the Gardens closed to under 15 year olds. Not a problem on this occasion, and to be honest now I’ve been, there’s no chance N would have enjoyed it. It really is just gardens to walk around and enjoy.
Rousham Gardens isn’t set up as a commercial attraction. There’s a car park and toilets and then the gardens. That’s it. The gardens are mostly the same as they were when first landscaped by William Kent, and enjoyed by 18th Century visitors.
When I arrived just after opening mine was the second car in the car park. It costs £6 to enter which you pay by machine, making it quick and easy to start your visit. And it really was quiet. I saw no one until I was halfway walking around the gardens.
The gardens were really looking spectacular in the sun. When you walk past the bowling green area and around the side of the house you arrive at the walled gardens. Yes not just one. But several gardens one after the other.
It’s like being Alice in Wonderland or going into a secret garden discovering new gates and archways to walk through.
Many of the flowers aren’t quite out at the moment. But the apple blossom trees which line the walkways looks stunning. Some of the tulips are still out and there’s plenty of other colour to see amongst the green.
I was a little early for the wisteria to be blooming over the arches but they were still beautiful to walk under and perfect for pretty photos.
While you can only see the house through a private tour, you’re able to pretty much walk around the outside in entirety. There’s also the church in the grounds and while I was there I could hear service taking place.
Near the church there’s also a pigeon house. Similar to a dovecote you can sit outside and watch the birds or walk amongst the beautifully ornate parterre, with miniature ‘hedges’ with geometric shapes and paths between.
There’s also a kitchen garden, although at this time of year not much to see there. As for the gorgeous greenhouse, sheds and tulips display, I don’t do gardening, but maybe I would if I had something to help like this area.
Once I’d had my fill of the walled gardens, I explored along side the bowling green with its perfect grass, and down towards the river. On the way there are statues dotted around, ponds and cascades, cold bath and arcades to enjoy.
I spent around 1.5 hours just wandering round and enjoying the gardens. As I was leaving, more people were walking in, but mostly I only came across 5-6 people as I was walking round. Not like the National Trust locations, where on a sunny day, you can’t move for people. The car park was full by the time I left (about 25 cars) but given I’ve lived in Oxfordshire for around 30 years, I’ve never heard of the place until recently. I’m now thinking I might have to return next month, for the wisteria and the flowers which will appear in the flower beds, bring some colour to the green.
If you’re after somewhere to stroll, write, paint, photography or generally get some quiet time, I’d recommend Rousham Gardens. Just remember you can’t take the kids.
Have you ever been somewhere that doesn’t allow children?
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