I love a flexi day. Not only are they a day off work, but they’re a day for me to spend doing the things I enjoy doing, without having to think about entertaining a tween who doesn’t enjoy the same things. That largely means visits to National Trust places and gardens. My latest has been on my list to visit for some time, Sezincote House and Gardens.
As a private residential house, it only opens May to September, and certain days of the week. Within a short school day, it can be hard to make timings work if a house doesn’t open until lunchtime, but I made sure I’d have an hour in the garden first (assuming the rain held off), then had booked my house tour for 12.
If you want to do a house tour, you have to book in advance, and at weekends or bank holidays they recommend also booking ahead as it can get busy.
The car park is quite a walk downhill to the entrance (and it’s hardwork going back up afterwards). I couldn’t resist meeting some of the cows which were bellowing at each other from across the drive.
The toilets are by the entrance booth, so don’t forget to go as there aren’t any near the house.
The gardens at Sezincote are beautiful. There’s lots of trees, ponds and little water features. Walkways, bridges and even stepping stones under a bridge.
There are paths, but you can go off cutting through to different areas, across bridges, but these can get slippy when it’s been wet.
The flowers were just coming out when I was there, and the blossoms were looking beautiful, so there was plenty of colour. As well as generally blue skies. The water was a beautiful teal green/blue colour – I’m not sure whether that was just the lighting, or if it’s something in the water causing the colour to be so.
I enjoyed my walk around the first pool area before heading up towards the house. They’d conveniently parked a little photogenic vintage car outside the house making a great photo opportunity. I’m not sure the tuk tuk quite made the same impression.
I had time to explore the gardens next to the house, along with the grottos. You can also head up to the old dairy, but I didn’t have time for that.
The more formal gardens were a contrast to the more relaxed and natural first garden area. With elephant statues and the symmetry of the trees aside the house and orangery, it really is beautiful.
The Orangery make a lovely arched walk towards the house, although it’s now the tea rooms. Bizarrely it’s table service, so you have to wait to be seated. It looked empty, but I didn’t want to go and get seated if I then decided the food or drinks wasn’t what I wanted. I found it very odd having to sit down before seeing a menu, so I didn’t bother going in after the tour for lunch.
The house is a real beauty and nothing you’ll see elsewhere in the UK. It’s certainly a surprise for the Cotswold countryside. The early owners were employed at the India Tea Company, and loved India. So decided to change the existing building to Indianise it. Rather than knocking it down and starting from scratch, it’s like a skin over the top. With Indian style dome and other architectural delights, it’s quite something to discover.
We weren’t able to take photos in the house, but it was full of old furniture and decor that fit with the style and period of the time.
The history of the house and inhabitants of the past was really interesting. We got to see a few of the rooms – the guest room you could end up staying in if invited, the dining room that’s still in use today, a gorgeous bedroom and the previous ballroom.
The tour felt like it lasted longer than 30 minutes, but it was worth doing. As with other tours I’ve done this year, it was interesting to see behind the scenes.
I walked up the garden again towards one of the temple grottos before heading back to the bridge at the entrance and walking back up the hill to the car park.
If you’re in the area, Sezincote is worth a visit. Children can visit, but I’d say it’s for older children as there’s open ponds and it’s not set up for children running around (no playgrounds or changing facilities) or big open picnic spaces.
Sezincote isn’t the only place to visit in the area. Try Batsford Arboretum just opposite the Sezincote Gardens entrance, and there’s also Bourton open gardens just along the road. And not forgetting Cotswold Wildlife Park which isn’t far.
I really enjoyed my visit – even if my family think going to gardens is a sign of getting old!