Explore the gardens at Rufford Old Hall
The gardens at Rufford Old Hall showcase lots of variety, from giant squirrel-shaped topiary and resident bees, to picnic spots in the Orchard Paddock and peaceful moments by the canal.
Head to the rear of the black and white Tudor House, where you’ll find a peaceful calm to admire the beautiful trees, shrubs and plants on the South Lawn. You’ll find towering pine trees, statues of Venus and the Dancing Faun and don’t forget the Rose Garden, where there’s always something magnificent to admire.
Beech Walk Paddock
Lined by a wall of towering beech trees on one side and the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on the other, this is a wonderful place to take a seat and enjoy some quiet time. Previously this would have been the former approach from Rufford Village to the Hall.
The Squirrel Border
Take a seat on one of the benches in the Squirrel Border and admire the beautiful surroundings. Marvel at the mischievous duo of giant squirrel-shaped topiary, which back in the 1900s used to be in the shape of pheasants. The Garden Team work hard to ensure this expertly manicured topiary always look in tip top condition for visitors to admire and enjoy all year round.
The first recording of an Orchard at Rufford is from 1779, when the Hall was leased to a gardener called Thomas Lowe for 21 years at an annual rent of £22 and 16 shillings.
Today, Rufford's Orchard contains several varieties of blossoming apple and pear trees, including Keswick Codlin, Duke of Devonshire, Lemon Pippin and Bramley’s Seedling to name but a few.
North Woods and North Paddock
Enjoy far-reaching views over the West Lancashire plain with a stroll through Rufford’s North Woods and along the canal-side path before reaching the wide-open North Paddock. The North Woods come alive with bursts of plant activity throughout the year and an array of wildlife can be found along the banks of the canal. After a walk around the grounds, why not enjoy a tasty treat or something savoury in the cosy Victorian tea-room.
The Garden Team at Rufford Old Hall carefully manage the hives to ensure a healthy colony, which in turn creates pollinators for the garden and ensures a good crop of honey and apples.
Bees are essential to a healthy environment and at Rufford Old Hall there are three hives with new queens, from Rufford’s own stock of bees.
The queen bee is central to the hive and without her the colony would not survive. You don’t often see the queen, despite her large size, which isn’t surprising as she lives in a hive with up to 65,000 bees in summer.
To help the beekeeper keep track of the queen she’s marked with a colour denoting the year she was born. Queens don't live for more than five years, so only five colours are needed.
The native lime trees in the garden and shrubs such as Viburnum opulus (Guelder rose) are popular sources of nectar for the bees.
A surprising nectar and pollen source that isn’t native to this country is the Parthenocissus, or Virginia creeper, on the wall in the courtyard. Its dramatic autumn colour is not to be missed.
Bees are also attracted to a late-summer flowering shrub on the Squirrel Border, Hydrangea paniculata 'Tardiva', with its creamy white conical flowers.
Discover weapons and suits of armour, the Philip Ashcroft collection of 1930s Lancashire life, a 500-year-old screen, botanical watercolours from the 1800s and much more at Rufford Old Hall.
From careful cleaning to large-scale conservation projects, our work at Rufford Old Hall is helping to preserve this unusual Tudor residence for years to come.
Everyone who volunteers to help us care for this special place becomes an integral part of the house’s history – discover how you could play your part.
There’s so much for families to do – you can borrow a balance bike, explore the surrounding gardens and woodland, discover the dedicated area for nature play and set your imagination free inside the house.
Discover everything you need to know about booking a group visit to this Tudor residence steeped in history and home to splendid gardens.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.