Autumn in the Treasure Houses

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Blenheim Palace in autumn

Autumn in the grounds of Blenheim Palace

Although Autumn officially began a month ago, it is only later this week, the weather forecasters say, that we will start to feel the cooler temperatures, the winds and that crispness in the air. The leaves – which have hardly turned any colour other than a dull green in our village, will suddenly start to adopt those browns and reds we expect to see.

From that group of historic houses called the Treasure Houses of England, here are some of the sights they expect to have on offer over the next few months.

At Beaulieu – meaning ‘beautiful place’ – in the New Forest  you will find peace and tranquility in the walled cloisters and herb garden. Take a tour of the Ornamental Kitchen Garden complete with 1870’s restored vine house or walk hand-in-hand along the scenic Mill Pond walk and wander into the natural splendour of the Wilderness Garden.

As autumn sets in at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, 2000 acres of parkland will be transformed with an array of warm colours, making this a beautiful time of year to go and take in the stunning landscape and views. There are a wealth of events and activities to enjoy throughout the winter months; highlights include the Literary Festival and Sunday Jazz.

Harewood House

the Autumn landscape at Harewood House

Don’t miss the Burghley Flower Festival in Lincolnshire which runs over this coming weekend.  (4 – 12 October.) Burghley’s State Rooms will be transformed with floral displays created by local flower societies. Be inspired by the botanical theme ‘Cities on the Grand Tour’ arranged with the 17th Century art situated under opulent painted ceilings.

Take a stroll through Ray Wood at Castle Howard in Yorkshire and marvel in the season’s striking tones and resplendent autumn colour, from the many shrubs and trees, and huge array of ripened fruit and berries.  Then make your way to the ornamental kitchen garden – Castle Howard Potager – for the autumn vegetable garden harvest.

Having evolved over more than 450 years, the 105 acre Chatsworth garden in Derbyshire continues to change today much of it due to the Dowager Duchess who died recently. There is plenty to discover at every turn, including the ninth installation of Beyond Limits, Sotheby’s annual exhibition of contemporary sculpture in the garden at Chatsworth runs until the 26th of October. The Kitchen Garden is still producing good crops of plums, pears and apples to harvest

There are over 100 acres of gardens at Harewood in Yorkshire. They are full of variety, with plants from all over the world – all in the setting of a landscape created by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Harewood’s renowned Bird Garden is home to exotic species including penguins, owls, flamingos and parrots and the Himalayan Garden is an extraordinary world in miniature, a plant-hunter’s paradise. There’s also scarecrow trails around the grounds.



the walled gardens at Holkham

Hatfield House in Hertfordshire forms the centre-piece of the largest private estate in Hertfordshire, with the woodlands covering an extensive spread across the county. Thus they offer a rich diversity of habitat and species. The woodland types range from the traditional coppice with standards, woodland and include commercial conifer broadleaved mixtures, continuous cover systems and minimum intervention woodlands.

At Holkham Hall in Norfolk, there is a spectacular arboretum with its many unusual and rare specimen trees And in Autumn some would argue that it is at its best,  resplendent in its autumn foliage, book onto one of the three Autumn Tours of the Private Gardens which take place on the 19th of  October.

Set in 500 acres of picturesque parkland, one of the prettiest castles – Leeds Castle in Kent – is the perfect setting for an autumn day out.  Take a stroll through the Wood Garden, which follows the curve of the River Len to the Pavilion Lawn. There are guided woodland walks on the 9th and 24th of October, parkland ones on the 23rd.on the 12th and 22nd    and an Autumn photowalk on the 23rd.

Woburn Abbey

Woburn Abbey’s Chinese section

In Bedfordshire, Woburn Abbey‘s tranquil Abbey Gardens are open for everyone to enjoy the brilliance of Humphry Repton. Make your way through approximately 30 acres of serene formal and natural garden environments: from manicured lawns and colourful flower beds to peaceful woodland glades and ponds teeming with life.  Discover the bog garden, a recent addition with it carnivorous plants, the romance of the Doric Temple which was carefully restored last year and watch the recreation work in progress on the rockery and grotto.

And of course, all of them will be having Halloween events to amuse and scare younger members of the family as well!

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