Woodchester Park House garden & Kiftsgate Court Gardens
Courtesy of the Holburne Museum’s Friends Committee, we are offering private tours of two spectacular gardens.
Woodchester Park House is a large Victorian Gothic building which has existed in its present form since 1874. When the Bidwells arrived in 1995, there was little or no garden. Several sheep and a couple of geese were grazing up to the windows of the house in around 3 acres of grass and tangles. In the subsequent near 30 years the Bidwells have transformed this area, now wholly under cultivation.
For much of the summer there is a mass of colour: there are herbaceous beds surrounding the lawn and further beds on the walk round to the pond. There is a small orchard with wildflower meadow and another pond. Leading from the pond to the house is an avenue of yews. Adjoining the house there is a terrace with roses and colourful shrubs. Below the main lawn there is a vegetable garden and area for cutting flowers (including a number of rose beds). There is a woodland area with a range of shade loving plants and in late May a mass of alliums.
From the Bidwells we go north to Kiftsgate Court gardens, the work of three generations of women gardeners and garden designers: Heather Muir, Diany Binny and Anne Chambers. It was Muir who
began the transformation of the paved formal garden into something more fluid and naturalistic. From the 1950s, Diany Binny’s influence began to be felt, with sculptures commissioned, a semi-circular pool installed in the lower garden and Kiftsgate opening to the public for the first time. Current owner Anne Chambers has continued with the idea of “evolution not revolution” when it comes to Kiftsgate’s development, with one of her notable changes being the conversion of a tennis court area into the water garden.
Kiftsgate today is really a series of different garden-spaces, with formal borders (including the famous Kiftsgate rose border) and plantings, a wildflower meadow, orchard, a sunken garden, terraces as well as water features and ponds.
Ticket cost includes return private coach transport, arrival refreshments and a private tour of Woodchester Park House gardens, entry to Kiftsgate, and a delicious 2-course lunch at the Kiftsgate Tea Rooms. Depart from The Holburne at 9am, aiming to be back in Bath by 6.30pm.