Things to see and do in the garden at Red House
The warm-red brick building of Red House is enclosed by its gardens, stocked with flowers and plants chosen to evoke the time when William Morris lived here, and to work in harmony with the appearance of the house.
The bowling green
The bowling green at Red House, part of the original Morris garden, has always been an area that encourages fun. The family’s daughters Jenny and May would play here with pets and visiting friends. It’s the perfect area for garden games and is reminiscent of the rural country amusement shared here.
Fragrant hedges and borders
Lined with a sea of plants against the west elevation of the house, the bowling green is also bordered by a fragrant rosemary hedge that exudes its herby fragrance whenever someone brushes past.
Herbaceous borders divide the bowling green from the rose arch, which marks the divide between the original Morris garden and the orchard, which was added later.
On the east side of the house sits the well courtyard. The focal point is the original well, designed by Philip Webb with a turreted and tiled roof to reflect the neo-medieval influences of the house’s architecture.
In the beds and borders that surround the well are seasonal roses, peonies, Phlomis and Inula in a series of different colours and shapes.
The orchard was added to the Red House garden in the early 20th century. Its fruit trees are the last remaining reminder of the ancient apple orchard that once surrounded Red House when the Morris family arrived in 1859. While none of our current trees were alive when the Morrises lived here, in this wilder side of the garden visitors can envision the halcyon days of times gone by.
The orchard is also home to the beehives, and their busily working colonies can be seen flying around the garden gathering pollen. While the bees are beautiful and interesting, please give the hives plenty of space and don’t stand directly in front of them, as it interrupts the bees’ flight paths.
Head Gardener Rob Smith and the team of garden volunteers are working to bring even more elements into the garden. We’re replanting around the air raid shelters, filling the beds with herbaceous perennials.
The old kitchen garden has been repurposed as a cut-flower garden, to grow seasonal flowers and plants to display in the bookshop, and hopefully in the house in the future.
The design of the garden at Red House was as important to William Morris as the house, and he believed they should work together in harmony. Through the years, some of the design has been lost but the garden has still blossomed.
Discover the Garden Snug project at Red House. Inspired by William Morris’s original plans for the garden, the Snug is now a tranquil and artistic space.
Explore the history of Red House, which was a family home for Arts and Crafts movement founder William Morris and his wife Jane, and also the hub of an artistic community.
Discover the unexpected inside Red House, the Arts and Crafts former home designed by William Morris. Expert guides will help you explore this fascinating place, but you must pre-book your visit.
Discover the work that goes on behind the scenes at Red House to keep this former Arts and Crafts home of William Morris looking its best.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.
Discover our gardeners’ top tips so you can make the most of your garden, plot or window box.