On our way home from our flying visit to a family party in Gloucestershire, we stopped of at Hampton Court. No, not Hampton Court Palace in London, but a Hampton Court Castle and gardens not far from Leominster in Herefordshire.
We decided not to pay the extra to visit the castle as we can save that for another day, but just paid to wander around the gardens. There was a charity walk event going on for MacMillan so it was fairly busy, but the gardens themselves were quite quiet. We started off walking around the impressive kitchen gardens and walled garden. The beans, pumpkins and various apple and pear trees were all fruiting well and there was plenty of other fruit, veg and herbs growing, interspersed with various cottage garden style plantings. As kitchen gardens go it was was really nice and probably the perfect time to visit. Parts of it gave way to more cottage garden style plantings which were looking a little tired in places but must have been lovely a couple of weeks ago.
There were some nice sculptures in amongst the various borders too.
The Walled Garden gave way to yet more borders and some formal planting, some geometrical gardens and various arbours but unfortunately the wisteria walkway had finished flowering. There was also an amazing water feature!
We then headed into the maze which is constructed of yew trees and has a tower in the middle of it. We managed to negotiate our way through it to all four sides of the tower and finally on the fourth side found an open door allowing us entry into the tower where we had some lovely views of the gardens and castle and the maze below.
There were plenty of other highlights and little secrets all around the garden so I won’t give them all away, but there were sculptures and things of interest around every corner. There was a lovely Dutch Garden with a large pool that would have been perfect for some trainign laps and I even got a photo of Anna with a bear behind!
Our favourite part though was the sunken garden. A lovely peaceful garden hidden away out of sight with a crystal clear pond fed by a waterfall. You could even walk behind the falls if you didn’t mind getting a little damp.
We had lunch in the orangery whilst the cavalry were firing muskets outside. The soup was nice, but the service was a little odd as they were easily confused and didn’t seem too pleased when we told them they had got the order wrong. The did sort it out though and were quick about it too. We then headed back for a second go at the maze before starting the rest of the journey home. We shall be returning at some point though as it was a nice place to stop on the way home.
Morgan and I then spent the evening fishing in the estuary at Ynyslas, but we still haven’t caught anything – I think we must be doing something wrong.