Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Days out in Oxfordshire - Greys Court

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am living on the borders of Berkshire and Oxfordshire. There are so many pretty towns and villages to explore on days off, and lots of grand country houses in and around the area. This weekend, I went for a look around Greys Court.

Situated in Rotherfield Greys, near Henley on Thames with amazing views over the surrounding Chiltern hills, the 16th Century grand house was a family home until very recently when it was gifted to the National Trust. 

Still complete with the original furniture, the decor has been sympathetically refreshed where necessary. The personal possessions, like tapestry cushions, embroidery and patchwork quilts, make the rooms feel really homely and lived-in and the kitchen was a masterclass in how to mix period (tudor/elizabethan architectural features and stone masonry) and modern pieces (like the fab teal 1950's wall tiles).  

Our visit coincided with a NAFAS exhibition. So as we explored the grounds and gardens, built around medieval ruins and a 12th century tower, I snapped a few piccies of the outdoor displays. Was really impressed with how well they had fared considering we'd had some pretty strong wind and rain in the previous 3 days.

The gardens are a real delight and include an all white garden, several rose gardens, and walled gardens hanging with wysteria vines. Borders are planted with peonies and foxgloves, pathways lined with lavender, and clematis hangs heavy from archways. Turn a corner and you'll find a wild meadow area and an orchard. I felt like a big kid exploring, excited to see where each doorway would lead.

The planting and variety of styles at Grey's Court has something for everyone (who likes plants and history anyway) and provides ideas and inspiration aplenty. 

The green fingered leave with plans for planting and those who are more romantically inclined might leave dreaming of secret gardens and moonlight clinches! 

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