Unfortunately The privately owned Walled Gardens At Croome Court will not be open to visitors in 2020. We hope to welcome you back next season in 2021. To book your visit to National Trust Croome please visit https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome
*Dates published are subject to change.
Press play on the video above to see a short feature by presenter Hollie Smith, for BBC Midlands, about the 2018 exhibition in the gardens.
Things to See and Do Whilst Visiting The Gardens…
The tunnels were originally constructed to protect and maintain the hot water pipes which carried heat from the boiler house and distributed it to the array of nearby glass houses. Approximately 35m long, the main tunnel can be walked through in less than a minute. Visitors don a hard hat and descend a flight of steps in the now fully restored fig house. Winding their way through the dimly lit tunnels, which can be a little narrow and low in places, they come up in the boiler house. Adventurous children will be given an ‘I survived the Croome tunnels’ sticker to show off to their friends and family for their bravery.
A shop and visitor centre is now open in the newly restored vinery. Visitors can explore art work on display and browse carefully chosen, mostly handmade, cards, gifts and art, all of which are available to purchase. With views looking out across the walled gardens, and with natural light beaming through the windows, the shop and gallery space is a stunning place to spend time and the Cronin family are keen for visitors to enjoy the latest addition to the walled gardens experience.
Explore the rose garden – a romantic promise from Chris to his wife after they visited and fell in love with The Christchurch Botanic Gardens in New Zealand on their 25th wedding anniversary. Work started to recreate their own interpretation of the rose garden in 2007 and was completed 4 years later, filled with 50 varieties of scented David Austin roses. In the centre of the rose garden a sundial designed by Robert Adam which had been found in pieces on the Croome Estate has since been restored using a 1915 article showing photos of the sundial which was featured in Country Life Magazine.
Fresh produce and plants are on sale throughout the seasons, although the selection on offer is weather dependent. Visitors will be able to purchase a wide choice of freshly picked fruit and vegetables from the gardens (when available) at the entrance gate (cash only) or in the visitor centre shop (card and cash accepted) to take home and enjoy. Discover Heritage variety vegetables and unusual plants which have been successfully grown in he walled gardens – why not have a go at growing them yourself when you get home?
Tod Vinery – Remains were recently uncovered of what we’d considered to be the ‘Bothy’ at the end of the Hot Wall in 2017. The initial ground works revealed a series of underground arches along the back wall, indicating that the structure was most likely to be something of significance. We now know that it is, in fact, the Vinery designed by George Tod for the 6th Earl in 1805 which we had previously miss-identified during some earlier excavation work under the current Vinery. It is well documented that Vineries from mid to late 1800’s featured arches at the front of the building. This was accompanied by soil filled external trenches, in which the roots of the vines were planted, and the stems were then trained under the arches and up close to the glass ceiling. It took a visiting family, who were fascinated by the discovery, to actually make the link and put us (and the experts) back on track. Also, thanks to archivist Jill Tovey, we now have a copy of the invoice which came to £141.00.
Refreshments, home baked cakes and garden games are available on the lawn next to the rose garden. Visitors can shelter under the gazebos and relax in the seating areas both inside or outside. Help yourself to tea or coffee and a slice of freshly baked cake whilst enjoying the magical surroundings. On sunnier days, children and adults of all ages can entertain themselves with traditional style garden games to be played on the lawn.
The fig house and melon house have been fully restored back to their former glory. When Chris and Karen arrived at Croome in 2000, the glasses houses were derelict and in 2002 work began to assess the buildings before the restoration work could begin. A new timber framework was fitted on the melon house in 2004, and sash windows were fitted the following year. Today, both glasshouses are fully functioning and house a number of exotic plants, fruits and vegetables, some of which visitors will be able to purchase (subject to weather and availability).
The Irrigation system is the main project which we’ve had to work on whilst the gardens have been closed. We needed to dig over a kilometre of trenches to hold 1,500 metres of water pipes and electricity cables as part of the first phase. When complete the state of the art computer controlled system will sense the moisture in the ground, decide if it needs watering and will water the garden accordingly. Water tanks were installed at the top of the garden at the beginning of 2018 for the next stage of the project. We then tapped into the original irrigation system (installed by ‘Capability’ Brown in 1764) comprising land drains which carried rain water from the roof of the vinery to the dipping pond. We hope to have the new irrigation system fully functioning by the end of 2018.
If you’re a regular visitor to the walled gardens, don’t forget to pick up a loyalty card from the entrance gate or in the visitor centre shop. We will stamp it every time you visit throughout the seasons, and entrance on your 6th visit will be free.
Practical information to help with your visit to The Walled Gardens:
- Please note the majority of The Walled Gardens are accessible by wheelchair, however there are some limitations
- Disabled access toilet available in The Walled Gardens visitor centre
- We advise visitors to wear suitable footwear whilst visiting The Walled Gardens
- Please be aware of the steep grass slope
- There are steps into the greenhouses
- The exit route has a small flight of steps. If you’d prefer, you can use the entrance door to exit from the garden
Tether points are available just outside the entrance gate where we would be happy for you to leave your dog. We’re sorry, but no dogs are allowed inside the walled gardens, except for assistance dogs.
Please be aware of the following during your visit:
- Open water of the Dipping Pond
- Uneven paths (particularly the original stone paths at bottom of garden)
- Steep grass slope at the top of the garden
Photos captured by Victoria Richardson and Peter Young