About the garden
The formal and informal gardens at Houghton Lodge surround possibly the UK's best surviving example of an 18th-century Cottage Orné, idyllically set above the tranquil waters of the River Test.
Built in 1790, Houghton Lodge was probably intended as a fishing lodge set within a naturalistic and picturesque landscape. The chalk cob walled garden boasts vast espalier fruit trees, providing protection to 32 different varieties of apple tree, many of which cannot be bought today. A hosta bed was planted in 2018 and the themed herb garden includes medicinal, natural dye, pot-pourri and herbal tea beds. In early summer fragrant peonies line the rose and clematis arbour path. Vegetables grow alongside wildflowers, with sweet peas and dahlias providing a kaleidoscope of seasonal colour.
One of the many hidden treasures at Houghton Lodge, and newly recognised for its grandeur, is the espalier Pear Beurre Diel located to the right of the walled garden gate. Spanning the west-facing wall, this magnificent pear tree has an incredible width of 53.6” (16.33m) long. The impressive fruit tree has been recognised by the Champion Tree Register and awarded its status as a Champion Tree. As such it will join the register as the widest of its species in Britain
There are more than 15 acres of water meadows and walks along the picturesque River Test where you can meet the friendly alpacas, Hebridean sheep and resident ‘snorting’ Topiary dragon who enjoys puffing his welcome. The woodland walk offers an enchanting mix of the quiet and scents of ancient times. On approaching the house again, the statue of Mercury announces the abundance of delphiniums in all their spiked glory. Before returning to the walled garden, see the splendour of the semi-formal box-hedging that makes up the pretty peacock topiary garden.
Freshly prepared light lunches, cream teas and homemade cakes are served with tea and coffee in the tearoom. House and garden tours are available to pre-booked groups.