Spring has officially sprung in Gloucestershire, and with the longer days, lighter evenings and warmer temperatures soon to look forward to, the National Trust properties across the county have opened their doors for the first time this March.
National Trust day-tripping visitors in Gloucestershire have a lot to look forward to in 2009, with new developments and added events giving even more reason to visit, and re-visit, some of the county’s most popular attractions.
Freshly opened for the spring season, Snowshill Manor will be offering day-trippers another chance to see some of Charles Paget Wade’s astounding treasure trove of more than 22,000 objects on a visit to the manor house. There is a new children’s manor trail in 2009, and while George and the Dragon may be absent from the gate as they undergo renovations, the popular restaurant at Snowshill will be serving a new menu of fresh, seasonal and local food in 2009 – not to mention the legendary cream teas.
According to the National Trust the cold spring could make it a magnificent, albeit late, season for the Hidcote Manor Garden magnolias this spring. The estate’s restored original tennis courts will be ready to hire for a match from May – with the option for visitors to borrow a 1930s antique racquet from Hidcote’s collection, and later in the season the gardens’ Theatre Lawn will be open for summer croquet for the first time too.
Situated on the banks of the Severn, Britain’s only restored Dutch water garden, Westbury Court Gardens is also now open for garden-loving visitors from across the country – with the chance to explore the beautiful canals and pristine clipped hedges, not to mention the opportunity to see what’s growing in the working 17th-century vegetable plot in 2009.
The added enticement of a packed season of special events throughout the spring and summer should mean that Chedworth Roman Villa, near Cheltenham, will once again prove very popular with families from near and far in 2009 – with all ages flocking to see the remains of one of Britain’s largest Romano-British villas, as well as taking part in the host of entertaining and educational living history events.
The Newark Park former Tudor hunting lodge, near Wotton-under-Edge, is once again welcoming visitors to take a tour of the converted Georgian home on specific days throughout the season – with the addition of plant sales bringing a smile to gardeners, while a second-hand bookstall gives visitors even more reason to stay and relax in the peaceful gardens this year.
The 17th century grandstand and Cotswold estate Lodge Park is once again open to visitors. Described by the National Trust as ‘a little property with a big history,’ for the first time this year Lodge Park will be offering visitors the chance to buy gifts at a small shop, light refreshments will be served, and there will also be a chance to for the green-fingered to purchase a range of plants too.
An annual National Trust membership costs from £35.63, giving members free access to more than 300 historic houses and gardens across the country for a year. Find out more about National Trust memberships online.
Saturday 14 March 2009