Somerset is a great destination with beautiful countryside, moors and coast. It also has some of the finest historic houses and gardens to visit in England. Here is a selection of the best that can be easily reached from the Cart House Holiday Cottage:
Bishop’s Palace Garden, Market Place, Wells
Behind a moat and ramparts, this peaceful 14 acre garden has plenty to see. An arboretum, herbaceous borders, roses, a waterfall and a Garden of Reflection, to name a few, to say nothing of the view from those ancient ramparts. Wonderfully presented and colourful, the Palace grounds also host theatrical, musical and medieval entertainment during the summer.
Clevedon Court Garden, Tickenham Road, Clevedon
Now managed by the National Trust, Clevedon Court was for centuries home to the lords of Clevedon. This majestic 14th century manor house offers excellent views and a small but pleasant garden. Take a walk or have a picnic in the 18th century terraced garden, with its trees, wooded hillside and wild flowers, and buy refreshments from the tea kiosk.
Hestercombe Gardens, Cheddon Fitzpaine, Taunton
Three historic periods meet and complement each other in Hestercombe Gardens, with a Victorian Shrubbery, a Georgian Landscape Garden and Edwardian Formal Gardens combining to make this a unique destination. Intriguing buildings are scattered among the spectacular walks, and you can see designs by Sir Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll.
Lytes Cary Manor, near Somerton
Mediaeval Lytes Cary Manor was once the home of herbalist Henry Lyte, benefited from a 20th century garden restoration by Sir Walter Jenner, and is now an attractive spot with numerous highlights. The Arts and Crafts garden contains fine topiary, roses and colourful herbaceous borders, besides a Medlar and Quince orchard. There is also a well-stocked barn shop and a tea room offering light refreshments.
Milton Lodge, Old Bristol Road, Wells
The layout of the Milton Lodge Gardens was the brainchild of Charles Tudway, great grandfather of the Lodge’s present owner. The peaceful and attractive Grade II listed gardens incorporate trees, yew hedges and roses while architectural terraces, including the Pool Terrace and the Sundial Terrace, give stunning views towards Wells Cathedral and the Vale of Avalon. There is also a seven-acre arboretum.
Montacute House Gardens
Montacute House is an Elizabethan Renaissance gem, and makes a stunning backdrop to the graceful gardens around it. Here, fine lawns are surrounded by neatly-trimmed yews, while a sunken lawn is backed by pavilions and walls with balustrades and pinnacles.
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Ralph Allen Drive, Bath
18th century landscape garden created by Bath entrepreneur Ralph Allen with advice from poet Alexander Pope, and by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Sweeping valley with magnificent views over the city of Bath. Walk across the famous Palladian Bridge, one of only four in the world, and explore the woodland paths.
Yeo Valley Organic Garden, Holt Farm, Bath Road, Blagdon
Farmed by the Mead family since the 15th century and renowned for its dairy products, Yeo Valley is home to one of Britain’s few ornamental organic gardens. Covering 6.5 acres and with views of the Mendips and Blagdon Lake, it promises a colourful experience, with continuously developing edible and ornamental displays.
Hauser and Wirth Garden, Bruton
Carefully shaped and planted, the garden echoes the tradition of classical gardens, but the variety of species and combination of plants creates a looseness, softening the formality of its appearance including a large perennial meadow situated behind the art gallery buildings. The use of plants with spectacular seed heads has created a garden that has interest year round.
Please check local seasonal opening times.