Houghton Lodge has arguably one of the beautiful privately owned gardens in the country and remains open to visitors until the end of September.
Houghton Lodge is a stunning Hampshire garden, known and loved by locals and those visitors who have been fortunate enough to discover it.
The house and gardens are in the heart of the Test valley and only five minutes from the local market town of Stockbridge. It was built in 1790 and probably just intended as a fishing lodge.
Houghton Lodge is a Grade II listed ‘Cottage Orné’, surrounded by mature trees and lawns sweeping down to the river and is arguably one of the most beautiful privately owned gardens, which span over 14 acres, to visit in the county.
The walled garden boasts vast espalier fruit trees enclosed by a historical chalk cob wall. It provides protection to 32 different varieties of apple tree, many of which cannot be bought today. There is a wonderful herb garden with pharmaceutical, medicinal, natural dye, pot pourri and tea beds. The fruit cage is home to both golden and red raspberries. Vegetables grow in raised beds, and you will see wild flowers, sweet peas and dahlias providing a kaleidoscope of summer and autumn colour. Not to be missed is the magnificent and famous espaliered pear tree growing on the eastern wall- which is now over 52 feet long!
On leaving this part of the garden the scents and colours of the magnificent 300-foot herbaceous border is an impressive sight. Ambling down to the Test, visitors can engage with ever-friendly alpacas, Tom, Dick and Harry.
Nearby, the woodland walk offers an enchanting mix of the quiet and scents of ancient times. On approaching the house again, the statue of Mercury announces the abundance of Delphiniums in all their spiked glory. Before returning to the walled garden, see the splendour of the semi formal box hedging that makes up the stunning peacock topiary garden.
The gardens will be hosting another celebration of their heritage apples on Sunday, 29th September, with lots of activities.
‘Heritage apples’ are varieties not available across today’s supermarkets and shops. They were in abundance around 80 years ago when apple orchards were on every corner and in most gardens, but sadly with the lack of manpower after both world wars, new farming techniques and more profitable uses of the land, the orchards were lost.
There will be plenty of opportunity to ‘ask the experts’ on fruit tree growing, cultivating and pruning along with the chance to view and taste the many varieties.
Houghton Lodge Gardens Apple Day, Sunday 29th September, 11am to 4pm.
- Houghton Lodge is open until Monday 30th September from 11am to 5pm Mondays to Fridays. 10am to 5pm weekends and Bank Holidays. Tea rooms are open every day.
- The topography of the site means that it is generally accessible for disabled visitors however several areas are not suitable for wheelchairs and mobility scooters. There are gravel paths particularly in the walled garden and some hills.
- Free parking. Dogs welcome on short leads
- Adults: £7.50 children three plus £3.50
How to find it
Houghton Lodge is in the heart of the Test Valley, five minutes from the local town of Stockbridge. Follow the signs to Houghton Lodge Gardens.
Houghton Lodge Gardens, Houghton, North Houghton, Stockbridge SO20 6LQ