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Visiting Wimpole Garden

A frosty morning in the Walled Garden, with bare trees and the brick walls with a dusting of frost
Winter in the Walled Garden at Wimpole Estate | © National Trust Images/ Paul Harris

Come and explore the gardens at Wimpole where iconic garden and landscape designers including Charles Bridgeman, Robert Greening, Lancelot ‘Capability' Brown and Humphry Repton have all left their mark.

Winter at Wimpole

Enjoy haunting views and frosty scenes across the parkland to the Gothic Folly and Chinese Bridge once the leaves have fallen from the trees. Blow away the cobwebs and take a longer winter walk around the estate, spotting yellow aconites and delicate snowdrops underneath the trees.

The Victorian stumpery at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire. Inverted oak stumps serve as architecture for fern planting in the pleasure grounds of Wimpole Hall.
The Victorian stumpery at Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire. Inverted oak stumps serve as architecture for fern planting in the Pleasure Ground | © National Trust Images/Mike Hodgson

The Walled Garden

The organic four-and-a-half-acre walled garden at Wimpole was constructed of red handmade bricks in the 1790s by Philip Yorke, 3rd Earl of Hardwicke, with no expense spared. Even the walls were heated to keep peaches warm during the spring frosts.

When the National Trust took over its care in 1976, the 19th-century glasshouse had disappeared, and the garden was grassed over. Restoration began in the early 1990s, with pathways created, espalier fruit frames installed, 6000 box plants added, and the 18th-century Soane-designed ‘pinery-vinery’ reinstated in 1999.

Today the garden is a horticultural gem, with herbaceous borders, prairie planting and cutting borders for our floral displays. The rotational quads and no-dig areas produce masses of crops for use in the restaurant including potatoes, lettuce, carrots, beans, onions, garlic, cauliflower and more.

The Pleasure Ground

First planted by Robert Greening in the 1750s to connect the Hall to his walled garden, the Pleasure Ground was substantially altered by garden designer William Emes, when he rebuilt the walled garden in the 1790s.

It was described in 1850 as having ‘picturesque, winding walks, leading a long way, admirably planted with groups and masses of the finest evergreens and deciduous trees'. There are also important views to and from the park, with the grounds occupying a pivotal position as the link between the hall and the park.

The walnut tree collection

On your visit you will discover most of the National Collection of Walnuts planted throughout the Pleasure Ground. Take a moment to explore the interesting forms and lead shapes of the rarer trees.

The collection stands at nearly 130 species, including nine distinct species of walnuts and a further 46 examples of different cultivars. Most of the cultivars are of the so-called English walnut (Juglans regia) and many of the trees have reached maturity and are reasonably productive.

The north front of Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire and the Parterre, with the sun casting shadows
The north front of Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire and the Parterre. | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

The Parterre

This area of garden was lost for a century and restored in 1996 in a Union Jack pattern of triangular beds edged with box hedging and planted with seasonal bedding and evergreens.

Look out for the best view of the Parterre, which is from the Chancellor's dressing room on the first floor of the hall. This was designed to be accessed via the Saloon steps on the north side of the house.

An award-winning design team was appointed in 2023 and is set to give Wimpole's parterre a sustainable and climate-resilient future with a transformative redesign.

Find out more about our parterre redesign project.

The Dutch Garden

The Dutch Garden immediately behind the house was restored in 1985, based on a geometric pattern, with dense planting of hardy fuchsia, anemone and clipped box hedging.

Referring to old photographs, it originally had water features with topiary and possibly statues, but today you will find spiralised box hedges and edging create the structure and symmetry.

Greener gardening

For a greener way of gardening we generate tons of homemade compost, use battery powered machinery wherever possible and harvest rainwater. We also use manure from our farm, peat-free compost and consciously plant for year-round pollinator attraction.

The south front of Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire with sheep in the foreground

Discover more at Wimpole Estate

Find out when Wimpole Estate is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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