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ENGLEFIELD GARDENS

Partner Garden
Free access for RHS members at selected times

Englefield
Theale
Reading
RG7 5EN

On A340, 1 mile from M4, Jct 12.

9 acres

Tel
0118 930 2504

Visit website

Opening Hours

Mon only, 10am–6pm, 1 Apr–31 Oct; 10am–4pm, 1 Nov–30 Mar.

Admission

Non-member adult £5.

RHS members

Free access (Member 1 only) - applies when open.

Facilities

  • Assistance dogs only
  • Accessible garden
  • Children’s play area
  • Free carer entry
  • Parking

Features

  • Autumn colour
  • Children’s garden (not playground)
  • Colour themed borders
  • Pond or lake
  • Wildflower meadow
  • Woodland

About the garden

Owned by
Richard & Zoe Benyon

Designed By
Lanning Roper

There is an inscription on a stone staircase in the garden that reads, “If you help towards Englefield garden either in flowers or invention you shall be welcome thither”. This was written in a letter to a friend by Sir Edward Norris in 1601 and shows that a garden at Englefield was being planned and cared for 400 years ago. In 1860 major work was recorded when stone balustrades and staircases were built by Italian craftsmen in the time of Richard Benyon, farmer, philanthropist and MP for Reading.     

A large conservatory stood on the wide upper terrace from 1860 until it was removed in 1930. In 1936, the woodland garden on the hill above was created by thinning the existing forest trees. Sir Henry and Lady Benyon commissioned Wallace & Barr of Tunbridge Wells to design and plant this area and the stream was constructed at the same time.

Much early planting is still in place and includes varieties of rhododendron, azalea, camellia, magnolia, witch hazel, Parrotia, dogwood, Davidia and Acer. The lower terrace was redesigned in 1974 from a formal rose garden surrounded by wide gravel paths with the help of Lanning Roper. The fountain and rill were added in the 1990s. Recent features include the ivy house at the top of the garden, the grotto with its fir cone-studded interior, the bear, the round pebble garden, and the yellow and blue garden enclosed in clipped yew.   

Near the entrance gate are the children's garden with surprise fountains, slides and swings, the sundial arbour and the magnolia plantation bordering the car park.

Plants of special interest

  • Agapanthus
  • Alliums
  • Asters
  • Autumn bulbs
  • Begonias
  • Bluebells
  • Camellias
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Clematis
  • Conifers
  • Cornus (for winter stems or spring bracts)
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodils
  • Dahlias
  • Delphiniums
  • Ferns
  • Fuchsias
  • Grasses
  • Heathers
  • Hellebores
  • Hemerocallis
  • Hostas
  • Irises
  • Lavender
  • Lilies
  • Magnolias
  • Maple
  • Orchids
  • Primulas
  • Rhododendrons/azaleas
  • Roses
  • Shade-loving plants
  • Snowdrops
  • Spring bulbs
  • Topiary
  • Wildflowers
  • Wisteria

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.