Belton's spring gardens

Cleome spider flower amoung sweatpeas in the herbaceous border at Belton House

Belton was designed to impress, and the gardens reflect the refined tastes of generations of the Brownlow family from the early eighteenth century right up to the twentieth century.

The Pleasure Grounds 

In early Spring the Pleasure Grounds become carpeted in swathes of daffodils, pale yellow primroses and delicate blue scilla. Later in May, interlaced with native wildflowers, the naturalised grounds gradually give way to bluebells. At this time of year, we ask visitors to keep to the paths and help protect the wildflower display.

Join the garden team on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 April 2020 between 11am and 4pm to have a go at bulb planting and be a part of growing Belton’s annual spring flower display.

Visitors in the garden in spring at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Visitors in the garden in spring at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Visitors in the garden in spring at Belton House, Lincolnshire

The Italian Garden

Inspired by the 1st Earl’s Grand Tour of Italy, Sir Jeffry Wyatville was commissioned to design this sunken garden in the early nineteenth century. Successive Brownlow generations enhanced and enriched its plantings and sculpture. Boasting a fountain centrepiece, topiary, and borders full of vibrant colour, the Italian Garden is a delight to discover amid bright spring bedding displays.

We’re returning much of the garden’s lost planting scheme as part of a 10 year restoration project. Belton’s Head Gardener has worked from old photographs to recreate the deep herbaceous borders running through the centre of the garden. They will bring added colour and interest over the coming months.

In its heyday, elaborate cast ironwork, decorative trellises, a 30 foot high fountain and more detailed and extensive planting schemes were a feature of this historic garden. All of which we hope to reintroduce as part of the Italian garden restoration.

The Orangery at Belton House
The Orangery at Belton House, Lincolnshire
The Orangery at Belton House

The Orangery

Overlooking the Italian Garden, this protective environment is home to a collection of lush foliage and exotic blooms. Designed by Jeffry Wyatville in 1810 and built in 1820, Belton’s orangery was built around a cast iron sub-frame, making it the first garden building of its type in England.

Wyatville’s design was shown at the Royal Academy. To mark its 200th anniversary, we’ve returned the colour of the woodwork from white to green, in keeping with its original colour. The windows now look less prominent, accentuating the slim stone piers on either side.

Escape to paradise inside Belton’s Orangery
Inside the Orangery at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Escape to paradise inside Belton’s Orangery

Behind the Orangery are herbaceous borders and four medlar trees enclosed by the old brick garden walls.

The Dutch Garden

The 3rd Earl commissioned the Dutch Garden in the late nineteenth century. The colourful parterres, divided by topiary-lined gravel paths, were inspired by a Dutch design. 

Heading north through the garden, visitors can discover Cibber’s eighteenth-century sundial. Caius Gabriel Cibber, a renowned sculptor of the period who also worked on St Pauls Cathedral and Hampton Court Palace for Sir Christopher Wren.

Belton’s sundial was made famous by author Helen Creswell, in her book ‘Moondial’
Belton's sundial was created by Caius Cibber
Belton’s sundial was made famous by author Helen Creswell, in her book ‘Moondial’

Carved from limestone, the pedestal of the sundial shows Cronus, god of time, and Eros, god of love. The feature inspired Helen Cresswell to write ‘Moondial’, over 30 years ago.

Fun for the family

Enjoy a stroll along  Statue Walk and discover Belton's box plant maze. The original maze was removed in 1942. We don’t know why it was dug up, but it may have had some connection to the war effort. We replanted it as a Millennium project, following an original plan from the 1890s.

Play hide and seek in the maze at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Children in the maze at Belton House, Lincolnshire
Play hide and seek in the maze at Belton House, Lincolnshire

For little ones, Percy the Park Keeper will also be arriving at Belton this spring as part of a yearlong programme of seasonal trails, based on the books from bestselling children’s author and illustrator, Nick Butterworth.