Glorious Gravetye Manor


This weekend saw the OH and me celebrating (a month early) our 30th Wedding Anniversary having decided just a few days ago to go to Gravetye Manor.

Gravetye was the home of William Robinson, who bought it in 1884 and lived there until his death in 1935.  At Gravetye he established the idea of the English natural garden, eschewing the ‘blobby’ Victorian bedding planting and,  instead pioneering sweeping, painterly drifts of herbaceous perennials close to the house, but also establishing wonderful ‘wild’ areas of naturalised bulbs and wild flowers.

As the website says “The variety and charm of the arrangements of trees and shrubs and the layout of the different types of garden at Gravetye is still his creation and memorial. Even when very old and partly crippled he would go out in his wheelchair and scatter bulbs and seeds from a bag on his lap; the garden room he built at the end of the formal garden provided him with a shelter from which he could watch his beloved flowers and trees from a fresh viewpoint.”

I’d read about Robinson and Gravetye in The Garden magazine a couple of years ago and it’s been on my list ever since.  Following the hotel changing hands in 2010 significant redevelopment work has taken place in the garden under the careful eye of Tom Coward (who had previously spent three years with Fergus Garrett at Great Dixter).

The gardens surround a wonderful hotel and aren’t available to just wander into, consequently our stay was planned as a special treat – to stay a night and enjoy the gardens as part of the visit.

Exiting through the bar you are greeted with the view above.  The view is north westerly across the flower garden.

The timing of our visit was pretty much perfect with not only the tulips at their peak, but the Azalea Bank too.  And you have to admire the backdrop of remarkable mature trees.IMG_2476IMG_2483

Further absolutely stunning displays surrounded the Flower GardenIMG_2462IMG_2520

To the south of the Flower Garden is a huge Wildflower Meadow but there wasn’t a great deal to see at this time of year, but there were some lovely poppies!

Walking around to the orchard and then on towards the glasshouses, we passed this glorious sight


and we weren’t the only ones enjoying it!  Can someone identify it please?IMG_2489

On to the glasshouses and there was a mixture of large scale production, IMG_2492

as well as rather more glamorous endeavours.  Look at these fabulous peaches!IMG_2493IMG_2494

From the glasshouses we entered the astonishing elliptical 1.5 acre Kitchen Garden. Not only is this the first kitchen garden I’ve ever been in that wasn’t square or rectangular, but it’s also on a proper slope – the whole thing slopes really significantly towards the south east.IMG_2496IMG_2502

At the back of the Kitchen Garden we came across this beautiful ‘Allium Gate’. Apparently it was only made three years ago by a local female blacksmith.  I haven’t been able to find out the name of the maker, but isn’t it wonderful?


All in all it was an amazing garden, so thank you Gravetye Manor, Tom Coward and William Robinson.  Genius!IMG_2501

7 thoughts on “Glorious Gravetye Manor

  1. Pingback: In a vase on Monday – Gravetye blooms | Duver Diary

  2. Cathy

    Oh how wonderful to see such an iconic and beautiful garden in your post, Jen, but even more so for yo and OH to see it in person – congratulations on the anniversary too! Did you have a meal there as well?

  3. Linda Brazill

    You can certainly see some Dixter influence especially in the picture of the entrance with the mossy roof. I had not heard that their kitchen garden was on a slope. Makes one realize there is no excuse not to plant one if you have the room. Thanks for this lovely tour.

  4. Sam

    Oh crikey-George, what a place! Happy wedding anniversary! What a treat to stay somewhere so amazing and have the garden practically to yourselves. Sigh. The planting is fabulous. I might start dropping hints (we’ll have been married for 20 years in a couple of years…).

  5. Cathy

    What an excellent thing to do for celebrating your 30th anniversary – and happy anniversary! It is such a superb place – I always sort of imagined the gardens were nothing now (when I lived in England a long time ago!) and it struck me as sad, but there was still the dream of taking a look. Now I have, thanks to you! Those tulips and the kitchen garden – but something that really struck me was that the angelica is also flowering with the tulips! As I said in my last comment – I’ve lost touch with the English seasons. Thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Pingback: Tardy Parham | Duver Diary

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