This Easter’s itinerary saw my finally (finally) visit Berkeley Castle, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit since watching a TV series about it some years ago. We wove our way across Oxfordshire, through Gloucestershire and up towards Liverpool.
|Bank Holiday Monday, 2 April|
|11am||Ardington House, Church St, Ardington, Oxon OX12 8QA
BH Monday only 11am to 3pm (last admission 2pm).
|We were greeted by the wedding planner, who was busy putting this house to the use that it now serves. It’s a sweet little thing, with two main ground floor reception rooms and bedrooms upstairs, off a large hall and stairs. Outside a swimming pool and tennis court offer guests some entertainment. We stopped by on our way through Oxfordshire towards Gloucestershire.|
|2pm||Kencot Gardens : National Garden Scheme – eight gardens and tea/cake in the village hall
GL7 3QT, King’s Lane
|Tuesday, 3 April|
Easter to 31 October: Sunday to Wednesday, (1030 for gardens) 11am to 5pm (last admisson 4pm).
Berkeley Castle, Gloucestershire, GL13 9BQ – Salter St
|1300||Dr Jenner’s House
Easter to 30 September, Sunday to Wednesday; 20 to 24 October. 11am to 5pm (last admission 4pm).
Church Ln, Berkeley GL13 9BN
|Dr Jenner was the doctor to the Berkeley family, and via a gate in the courtyard by the entrance to Berkeley Caste, one is soon at his former house.
Edward Jenner is famous for having pioneer the vaccination against smallpox, and the house today is a museum remembering his endeavours and providing a detailed account of the history of vaccination and the current approach towards vaccinating disease today. As it’s next door to Berkeley Castle, entry is free with HHA cards and it’s also a stone’s throw from the grave of the last English jester, it’s worth popping into for a half hour or more.
|Tues||Painswick Rococo Garden
GL6 6TH, Cotswold Way
|Painswock Rococo Garden is marketed as England’s only surviving rococo garden.
The garden was designed in the 1740s to delight guests at Painswick House, sitting in the field below the property. The continental rococo style has been restored since the 1984, based on a detailed picture by Thomas Robins dating from 1748. By the 1950s fashioned had changed and the area redesigned and then left to revert to woodland. Dotted around the sloping garden are a maze, a kitchen garden, a plunge pool (fed by a spring and kept always at a moderate temperature) and various follies, fit for partying and a bit of debauchery. At the entrance to the garden is a café and shop, perfect for a stop off after making your way back up from the bottom of the garden.
|Wednesday, 4 April|
|11-1||Eastnor Castle, Ledbury, Herefordshire, HR8 1RL
30 March to 5 April; 6, 7, 27 to 31 May; Sundays and Mondays in June; Sundays 1 to 15 July; Sunday to Thursday, 22 July to 30 August; Sundays in September.
House 11am to 4.30pm (last admission 4pm); grounds 11am to 5.30pm.
|1 hour away||Harvington Hall, Harvington Lane, Harvington, near Kidderminster, DY10 4LR
|The Hall is a moated Tudor Manor House dating from the 1580s and saved from ruin in the last century. It has been owned since 1923 by Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham, who I can guess may have bought it due to the number of Catholic priest hides inside the house, said to be the largest surviving collection in an English country house.
From 1696 until 1923 the house was owned by the Throckmortons of Coughton Court, another staunchly Catholic property, which if you recall is where a NT guide told me that the lady of the house thinks herself “more holy than the Pope”.
We particularly enjoyed our cup of tea in the ground floor room overlooking the moat.
|Thursday, 5 April|
|Morning||Liverpool city centre|
|1pm||Speke Hall (open 1230-1700)
The Walk/Bank’s Lane L24 1XD