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Friday, 24 May 2013

Wimpole Hall

Last Sunday we took a friend to Stansted airport to catch a plane. Having been laid low by flu the previous week we decided to make a day of it and visit Wimpole Hall which is owned by the National Trust and is the largest house in Cambridgeshire.

Some buildings just sit perfectly within the landscape around them. Wimpole Hall, is one of these rare places.

It was built around 1640 which was during the time of Charles I (1625-1649) and the land around it was sculpted and modified by various designers over the years including the landscape gardener, Capability Brown (1716-1783). There is absolutely no traffic noise to be heard, just the sounds of birdsong, of a gentle breeze rustling the leaves in the trees, and children's laughter as they run along the paths.The Hall was last owned by Elsie Bambridge who gifted it to The National Trust in 1976. She was Rudyard Kipling's daughter and spent the last thirty years of her life living in this huge house, after the death of her husband, and devoting herself to restoring its treasures. Some of the rooms inside are lovely and homely, whereas others are more stately and I don't know if it is haunted but someone definitely 'stepped on my grave' at the bottom of the main staircase. But the most seductive aspect of this house, for me, was the outside space.

The razzmatazz of tulips was stunning.

The flowers on the tree paeony were just about to open into voluptuousness.

And the grass was strewn with daisies. I do love daisies!

At intervals it was blessed with cowslips. Perfection!

But behind these gates was a totally unexpected treat.
Apple trees billowing with pink-tinged blossom.
Walking through these we came to the deepest herbaceous borders.
And then it was through another gate into the walled garden.
Where a gentleman with a pipe was busy sowing seeds.
And the sun was beating down hotly (hard to imagine as I write this only a few days later) on the plants in the glasshouse.

This plant name summed up the whole experience.

If you are anywhere near Cambridge and fancy somewhere special to visit I really recommend Wimpole. There is something for everyone, even a farm with donkeys and sheep, turkeys and shire horses.

In the meantime, thank you for reading and I hope you have some brilliant days this week too.


  1. I've never heard of this place so very interested to read your post Alex! It looks lovely, so I think a visit is on the cards.....

  2. I'm sure you'd enjoy it, Bridget, and that herbaceous border will be fantastic in a few weeks' time.

  3. That's the garden that Mick is a volunteer gardner in! Glad you like Wimpole. The cafe does wonderful food too.

  4. Ooh I do envy him! What a wonderful place to volunteer. We sampled the cafe. Michael had the roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and a lovely chef made me a fresh, grilled halloumi and roasted vegetable salad - both were delicious.

  5. That place looks amazing. We weren't far away yesterday as we visited Pippa and Mick and he did mention the volunteer gardening. I love that walled garden and you don't often see men smoking pipes whilst sowing seed these days do you!

  6. There's something special about a walled garden isn't there? It's probably that sense of secrecy and surprise as you go through the gate for all to be revealed. The chap with the pipe was a lot younger than I ever remember my grandfather being, but brought back happy memories because he smoked a pipe too, much to my grandmother's annoyance!