Last week B and I went back to Herefordshire. We travelled on Monday morning thinking it would be quieter but there were signs notifying of a 45 minute delay by Worcester so we left the M5 at Droitwich and then failed to remember the exact way! We got lost so many times (and yes we did try to cut across country again - bad mistake!) that it took 2 hours instead of less than 90 minutes.
We had the usual click and collect in Leominster in the afternoon.
Tuesday was hot and sunny so we decided to return to Hampton Court Castle gardens which were so lovely last summer.
Ox-eye daisies by the car park and we saw a Whitethroat in the hedgerow.
Hampton Court is a castellated country house with the oldest parts including the chapel dating back to 1427. Various additions and alterations have been made since and the castle has now been fully restored. The most recent owner is Robert Van Kampen, an American millionaire, who bought the castle in the 1990's.
The present gardens sit in two walled gardens designed by Simon Dorrell and David Wheeler with Chadburn Ltd of Bath in 1996/8. For the creation of the landscaped park some centuries ago Humphrey Repton was consulted in 1795 and 1810.
The Walled Gardens
There was a lovely display of oriental poppies of many shades of colour.
I love sweet williams as they always remind me of my father and grandfather's gardens. The perfume was incredible and foxgloves had been planted among them.
Part of the vegetable garden
and a lovely spiral herb garden - I would love one of these!
The Rose Garden
The Dutch Garden
Pleached lime trees
We passed through the most beautiful Wisteria arch to reach the grounds. This was probably the highlight of my visit - it was stunning.
By now it was getting hot so time for a Magnum!
We decided to do the River Walk again (there is a longer walk you can do but to be honest it was just too hot!)
The cows were being sensible sheltering under the trees! and it was lovely to see calves feeding having read so many horror stories of calves being removed from their mothers very quickly in intensively reared herds on other farms.
Dinmore Hill in the distance (Queenswood Arboretum is on this hill about 5 minutes drive away).
We saw a Kingfisher dart along the river and there were many holes in the bank that looked very much as though they could belong to water voles.
Back to the castle - it is open for visitors and one day I would love to see it but as I have mentioned before B doesn't really like house interiors and if I am honest I am still wary of going indoors.
B had a walk round the Sunken Garden which still had a one way system in operation. I didn't go this time as exciting as the walk behind the waterfall was I didn't really wish to repeat it.
Back into the Walled Gardens
This is the Gothic Tower in a separate garden with a maze which is still closed to visitors.
The gardens are very lovely and you can buy a season ticket which is something we might consider in future years if the threat of lockdowns ever completely recedes. It is only 20 minutes from the caravan so easy to visit.
Part 2 will include a visit to a National Trust Property which we haven't visited before.
Stay safe and well everyone.
All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.