BOUGHTON HOUSE GARDENS
Photos courtesy of Boughton House website
Gardens large and small are preparing to open in aid of The National Gardens Scheme, and this Sunday there’s an opportunity to see the stunning gardens of Boughton House in Northamptonshire. Ann Evans tells us more.
If you’re eager to get out in the fresh air and enjoy those early spring flowers, then here’s an opportunity to explore the gardens and magnificent landscaped grounds at Boughton House – one of the country’s most grand and best preserved historic stately homes.
Boughton House in Kettering, Northamptonshire is home to the Duke and Duchess of Buccleuch and Queensberry and would normally not open to the public until Easter. However, the Gardens and Grade 1 Designed Landscape at the Estate will open in conjunction with the National Garden Scheme this Sunday, 25th February 2018 when a portion of the entrance ticket proceeds will be donated to charity.
Two new areas of the upper Walled Gardens will officially open to visitors for the first time on the day. The Wedding Garden features a pavilion centrepiece, with trees used at a recent family wedding. The new installation pays homage to the famous Chinese Pavilion which is displayed in Boughton’s unfinished wing, and offers seating within.
The Gardens team have also been busy developing the Alpine Garden, a respectful nod to alpine specialist Valerie Finnis, who had been resident at Boughton, which features an array of hardy species.
David Cullum, Parks and Gardens Manager at Boughton House, said: “It’s wonderful to have had the opportunity to introduce new elements to our visitor experience here at Boughton. Our focus in recent years has been very much on the restoration of the 18th century gardens – which culminated in the opening of the Grand Etang lake in 2015.The addition of these two new areas of the Walled Garden has only enhanced its beauty. We hope visitors will enjoy them as part of their visit to the Estate this February.”
The history of Boughton House goes back to 1683 when the first owner of what was a much simpler Tudor building was Ralph Montagu, who later became the 1st Duke of Montagu. He was an English ambassador to France, and he so appreciated the beauty and style of French architecture, applied this to his own home.
His son, John, the 2nd Duke of Montagu made grand changes to the gardens and the landscape, and so created the stunning masterpiece we see today which is often referred to as ‘The English Versailles.
The house itself has outstanding collections of fine art, furniture, tapestries, porcelain, carpets and paintings. It also has some of the best-preserved baroque State Rooms in the British Isles. There are guided tours every Easter and August, plus all year round opportunities to arrange group visits. Please visit the website for full details.
Meanwhile, Boughton House Gardens will open between 11am and 3pm on Sunday 25th February. Tickets cost £6 for adults, £3 for children and £14 for a family of two adults and two children.
Visitors can enjoy light bites in the 18th century stable block and peruse the gift shop’s wide variety of crafts, food, jewellery, books and more.
Further details: http://www.boughtonhouse.co.uk/