Lincolnshire PE9 3JY
PGG visit to Burghley House
Burghley House is a Tudor mansion built by Sir William Cecil, Lord High Treasurer to Queen Elizabeth I, over a period of 32 years from 1563 onwards. The gardens and wider parklands were largely designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown in the 18th century. Today, sweeping vistas to the spires of Stamford with the backdrop of the house create the perfect canvas for open-air classical concerts, wedding receptions, events or just a quiet stroll with the dog.
The main visitor gardens at Burghley are the Garden of Surprises and the Sculpture Garden.
The first Lord Burghley was a passionate gardener and employed the Tradescants in the 16th century. One of his gardens, at Theobalds, was noted by diarists of the day as containing “divers conceits, obelisks of many materials and a lead pond which was pleasant for bathing in the summer, as well as Caesars heads contained in a circular building with a table made from ‘touchstone”‘.
The amazing contents of the Garden of Surprises are inspired by this Elizabethan garden and are hidden from the outside – waiting to reveal their surprises to those who enter. Features such as the moss house, the swivelling Caesar busts, basins of water, jets and the mirrored maze have been designed to be accessible to all regardless of age or interest.
Following the bark and mown pathways around the sculpture garden, you pass many different species of trees, many of them planted when the site was cleared of brambles and weeds in 1995; these, along with additional seasonal exhibitions of contemporary sculpture, make the perfect surrounding for a relaxing stroll. Annual exhibitions of sculptures run from April to October, along with permanent pieces including the grass maze designed by Peter Randall Page, which gives fun to both young and old.
An injection of formality into Brown’s sweeping vistas, the south gardens represent a brief distraction from the rolling landscape of his overall design. These gardens are dominated by mature oak and lime trees, planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1844. The yew hedges and topiary were added in the late 19th century in a bid to reinstate some sense of a formal parterre or garden, after so much was so boldly swept away in the previous century. Maintenance of the gardens and park falls to the small team of foresters and gardeners who together look after more than 2000 acres of land.
Visit www.burghley.co.uk for more details about Burghley House.
10.00am – 10.30am Arrive and refreshments.
10.30am – 1.00pm Introduction and tour of the public and private gardens with Joe Whitehead, Head Gardener.
1.00pm – 2.00pm Lunch, use cafe and pay at the till, or bring a picnic lunch.
2.00pm – 4.00pm Continue tour.
4.00pm – Refreshments, tea, depart.
Address and directions
Burghley House, Stamford, Lincolnshire PE9 3JY
Burghley is 1 mile from Stamford and 20 minutes north of Peterborough on the A1.
Postcode: PE9 3JY
Telephone: 01780 752451
Cost for the day: £12.50