Galloping Gardener Walks © - Splendid Somerset - Lytes Cary, Montacute and Tintinhull

The impressive entrance to Lytes Cary, with its immaculate topiary
It really doesn't get much better than this, if you're interested in ancient houses and gardens! Today's picks are within a stone's throw of each other in Somerset and open for business in the next few weeks. First port of call is Lytes Cary (above) - a glorious six-acre Arts and Crafts garden, restored in Gertrude Jekyll style by the National Trust in the 1960s. 
Particularly lovely in high summer, with an abundance of blooms and outstanding topiary; there is also a large orchard (ideal for picnics!) and a good restaurant on site. Worth remembering though is that this property is closed on Thursdays. 
One of the two "pudding" houses at Montacute
Move on to Montacute House - one of the finest surviving Elizabethan houses in Britain - with its formal gardens. The pavilion (above) is one of two in the grounds, known as "pudding" houses, because, in days gone by, dinner guests would retire here after their main course to eat dessert! A stunning house and lovely gardens - much larger and grander than the other two properties featured today and definitely worth a visit if you're in the area.
Another impressive entrance at nearby Tintinhull, former home of Penelope Hobhouse, UK garden designer
Tintinhull, just over a mile away from Montacute, has two acres of gardens, attributed in part to Harold Peto of Iford Manor fame. The gardens here owe a lot to well-known British garden designer, Penelope Hobhouse, who lived here from 1980 to 1993 and put her own inimitable stamp on both the choice of plants and the layout of this lovely garden.
Three truly wonderful properties to visit in a day, but just to remind you again, the only days you can visit all three are Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each one has different closing days and if you try and visit on Monday, Tuesday or Thursday, you'll be disappointed. All three properties come under the umbrella of the National Trust, so members get in free.


  1. Wow! The topiary in the first photo is amazing. It looks like something from Dr Who. I also seriously desire a walled garden, so the photo of Tintinhull is a winner too. Thank you for showing all of these gardens in your blog. It is unlikely that I will ever visit them, so it is nice to do it vicariously at least.

  2. I love, love, love your blog!!

    My husband and I have aspirations of someday being able to jump the pond and do exactly what you are doing... seeing all the best gardens in an area. I read Penelope's book on Tintinhull and would love to visit. Thanks for the great info about the other gardens in the area.

    Thank you!!

  3. I feel exactly as Hazel. When I visit these places, I doubt my wife and children will agree to seeing all these gardens instead of the more famous sites. Thanks for taking us along. -- Bom

  4. What a lovely garden and what a beautiful house! I will certainly put this garden on my 'to visit' list! Thank you for the tip.

  5. I like the topiarised entry as well, how amazing. Such an art. Thank you Charlotte for sharing such a beautiful garden. The National Trust is doing a great job.

  6. Another 3 that I have visited when staying in Somerset. In fact it is hard now to find a garden I have not visited.

    Your photos are stunning.


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