Hospitality for horses: Wolsey Lodges with stables
- Travel Guide
Travelling with animals is often a challenge. Many Wolsey Lodges welcome dogs – as long as their owners are well-behaved – but…Read More
Once the Festive season is out of the way, Spring comes rattling round faster than you think – and seems to come more quickly with each passing year. It’s never too early to plan a Spring trip.
You can actually declare Spring whenever you like. The Calendar Spring starts on the 1st March, while the Astronomical Spring waits until the Equinox on the 21st of the same month. The Emotional Spring has a totally different date: for many the mood changes when the clocks go forward. For this you’ll have to wait until the 27th March, a rather arbitrary date that birds , bulbs and blooms throughout the UK and Ireland will completely ignore. By then chicks will already be fleeing the nest, flowers will transform countless gardens, and year’s second season will already be fully underway. As evenings suddenly stretch this change seems to mark less the start of Spring than the very early days of Summer.
Whichever Spring dates you choose to recognise, February is a short month and is never enough to get your travel plans in shape. Every year Spring seems to come over the horizon faster, so now is a good time to consider your options.
There are Wolsey Lodges to suit all seasons. One of the first indicators of a good B&B to visit during the Spring are those that open their gardens under the National Gardens Scheme (NGS). This represents one of the Royal Horticultural Society’s major fundraising events, collecting thousands of individual garden entrance fees and cake sales to build a massive proportion of its annual income. There are many Wolsey Lodges B&Bs that open their gardens for the NGS: these are just three.
Perhaps the most loyal supporter of the NGS is the Citadel, set in one of the very few of the UK’s Grade I listed landscapes on the rolling hills of Shropshire. The three acres of gardens here have been open under the RGS for the last 85 years, pausing only for the hiatus summer of 2020.
At the core of the Citadel’s gardens is a rocky, sandstone outcrop with winding paths taking guests past rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, acers and heathers.
Many areas of lawn include a beautiful walled summer garden, there are wooded areas where mature oak, scots pine and copper beach tower over younger species of conifer and ornamental trees, and a Victorian-style summerhouse for moments of quiet contemplation.
The Citadel’s large kitchen garden, which provides nearly all the vegetables and soft fruit for the house, has the protection of a high Victorian brick wall. This part of the garden is formal in design, with inter-connecting paved paths and is as much ornamental as functional. It could be more accurately described as a potager, a place where vegetables and flowers happily intermingle.
Set in the sleepy Norfolk village of Wellingham, Manor House Farm is a luxury B&B sleeping six. But while the house itself is lovely, visit in Spring and you’ll find the gardens provide an overwhelming extra to make more of your stay. Open every year as part of the National Garden Scheme, Manor House Farm’s four acre garden offers a series of different spaces which surround the house on three sides. The unusual walled ‘Taj’ garden is a highlight, with its formal carp pond, old fashioned roses and tree peonies. Leading away from the house is a fragrant tunnel of roses with a pleached lime walk beyond. Elsewhere in the garden a small arboretum has been planted with unusual specimen trees and a ‘hot’ gravel garden has been created. Beyond the formal gardens are Libby’s hens and guinea fowl with Robin’s unusual pair of rhea sharing a paddock with a small group of Formosan Sika Deer.
With just two guest bedrooms, Spindrift B&B at Jordans is a cosy refuge in a beautiful part of the Chilterns. A grand piano once owned by Queen Alexandra lurks in the living room, and sometimes Norma can be persuaded to play.
A huge part of Spindrift’s appeal is in its spectacular two-acre gardens, divided into different levels, each with an atmosphere all of its own.
There’s the Hosta Garden, lush with foliage, a terraced garden tumbling with irises and a separate Monet Garden that shares its shape and colour palette with the world-famous gardens at Giverny. For a quieter mood head down into the wooded dell, or stroll through the kitchen garden to see choose your selection of fresh food for a salad. These gardens have been nurtured by Norma and her family for over half a century: unsurprisingly the gardens are open to the public during Open Garden Week but visitors aren’t allowed in the swimming pool – which is strictly for guests.
These are just some of the Wolsey Lodges that dedicate endless hours to create truly beautiful gardens. Just take a look at our range to see some of the great B&B gardens available.