Hampton Court Castle

Hampton Court Castle

Route: Hampton Court Castle Gardens

Area: Herefordshire

Date of walk: 28th July 2022

Walkers: Andrew and Gilly

Distance: 2.0 miles

Weather: Grey skies

Hampton Court Castle (not to be confused with Hampton Court Palace in Surrey) dates back to 1427 and is nearly 100 years older than the latter. The estate is privately owned and the castle has been the subect of a major restoration program. We were here to visit the gardens today. On arrival visitors are given a useful plan of the grounds and gardens, so I’ve not added the usual route map

We wandered around the beautifully maintained gardens which were full of interest. The Wisteria Arch was no longer in flower, but the South Garden with its island pavilions and the Dutch Garden with its canal lined with pots of agapanthus were looking superb. We entered the maze, consisting of 1,000 yew trees and managed (eventually) to find our way to the entrance to the Gothic Tower. Having admired the view from the top of the tower we descended down a staircase to a tunnel which leads out to a pond and waterfall, a magical area where it’s possible to follow a narrow path behind the falls

Lastly we visited the South Lawns where there are some ancient trees in the surrounding parkland. A River Walk leads from here but we had insufficient time as we’d booked an appointment to see another nearby and well known garden, The Laskett, developed by Sir Roy Strong. We’ve read many positive reviews about this garden and were full of anticipation but in truth it was a disappointment. A hotch potch of extravagant ornaments and other jarring features, a claustrophobic design and the use of cheap modern building materials all detracted from the experience. I’ve since discovered a review which echoes my thoughts, read here if of interest

Not to worry, the visit to Hampton Court Castle had greatly exceeded our anticipation and more than compensated for the disappointment which followed. The gardens here are wonderful and are well worth seeing at any time during the gardening season

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