About the garden
Earl and Countess of Pembroke
The gardens at Wilton House have changed over successive generations, reflecting the different fashionable tastes of each Earl and Countess of Pembroke. Situated in an idyllic setting, the grounds are bordered by the rivers Wylye and Nadder. They offer a mix of open parkland, small formal gardens and splendid herbaceous borders, coupled with a wealth of architectural features ranging from the early Renaissance to mid-18th century. The addition of the Millennium Water Feature forms a particularly pleasing contrast with the adjacent 18th century Palladian Bridge.
On arrival in the North Forecourt, which is flanked by battlemented walls and a Corinthian Triumphal Arch, the visitor can enjoy roses and lavender, honeysuckle and shrubs which abound. The formal central layout, with pleached lime trees, box-edged beds of tulip and lavender, and a circular fountain pool is a memorial to the 16th Earl, designed by David Vicary in 1971. The layout of the East Garden was the work of Catherine Woronzow, second wife of the 11th Earl of Pembroke, in the 1820s, which includes the central, gravelled broad walk leading to the urn-bedecked semi-circular Whispering Seat, designed by Westmacott.
Adjoining this seat are recent gardens laid out by the late Lord Pembroke in the 1980s and 1990s, including a Water Garden with linked ponds, red painted Chinoiserie bridges and lush aquatic and marginal planting; a rose garden with old-fashioned shrub roses; and a laburnum arch. Beyond is the Egyptian granite column, topped with a version of Gianbologna’s Venus.
Across the water from this is the Victorian boathouse and further east lies the arboretum or Woodland Garden, with specimen trees, rough-mown grass and spring bulbs. Nearby, for the young at heart, is the Miz Maze, built of Indian granite by the present Earl in 2010 in commemoration of his father.