The gardens surrounding an historic house are great places to visit. They usually have a relaxed and tranquil feel to them and somebody else does all the work to keep them looking good! At Grimsthorpe there is a long history of gardening, which continues to this day with fresh planting ideas that provide something to enjoy whenever you visit.
The formal flower and topiary garden leads into the woodland garden and provides a fine setting for the ornamental vegetable garden and orchard, created in the 1960s by the Countess of Ancaster.
Intricate parterres marked with box hedges lie close to the Castle, and a dramatic herbaceous border frames views across the lake.
The photograph above shows how the lawns were cut before the introduction of small petrol engines. The horse would have worn leather slippers to ensure that no hoof marks were made on the newly mown grass.
There are now over 20 acres of lawns to be maintained by the gardening team and they use very sophisticated (and expensive) ride on mowers.
There are no records left of the Tudor gardens, but a housekeeper’s book from the 1560s does mention payments made to part time female gardeners, called in to weed the ‘inner courts’. Early indications of how the gardens looked comes from a painting of c1700. Formal parterres and a long yew tunnel can be seen in addition to a bowling green and orchards.
Since that time there have been many changes to the appearance of the gardens.
If you are a member of a garden history club and want to find out more, it is possible to book a lecture on the history of the gardens. Email me for details.
Visiting the Gardens
The gardens open at 11am on standard open days. Once you have purchased a park ticket you will have access to the park and gardens. There’s always something to see during the season: from spring flowers in April through to laden fruit trees in the autumn.
The kitchen garden is a favourite spot for many of our regular visitors. Tranquil and sheltered, it’s a great place to sit and read a book.
We have provided parking for disabled visitors close to the entrance to the gardens. Ask about special parking when you arrive at the ticket hut.
We do request that dogs are not taken into the formal gardens and that cyclists leave their bikes at the garden entrance.