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Things to do in the garden at Nuffield Place

Lawn stretching up to the house with a flower border in the middle and to the right with blue skies and a few clouds above
The house and garden at Nuffield Place, Oxfordshire | © National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

Nestled in the Oxfordshire countryside, Nuffield Place was once home to one of the richest men of the 20th century. Lord Nuffield was the founder of Morris Motor Cars and one of Britain’s greatest philanthropists of the time. Inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, the garden at Nuffield Place has a unique feel. From the croquet lawn to the rockery, there are many special elements to explore.

Summer in the garden

The garden at Nuffield Place is a riot of colour during the summer months. Stroll along herbaceous borders spilling over with cardoons, alliums and nepeta, breathe in the heady scent of blousy roses climbing along the pergola or listen to the bees beavering about the lavender in the oval bed.

With plenty of shady spots to retreat into on hot days and spacious lawns to sprawl across, the garden is the idyllic spot for a relaxed summer picnic or an afternoon whiled away with a good book.

A garden to enjoy

The four-acre garden, much like the house, isn’t extravagant. It was created for the personal enjoyment of the Nuffields, who both loved to spend time outdoors pottering about. It was a favourite spot of Lady Nuffield, who took on the role of ‘gardener-in-chief’ working alongside three full-time gardeners.

The North Garden

Wander around the paths criss-crossing through a combination of lawn and mixed beds, which are still in their original, irregular shapes with brick edges.

The shrub borders in this area of the garden were laid out in their current state in the 1960s and are slowly being renovated to restore the views over to the meadow.

Garden revival

The garden team are using old photos from the Morris family archives to help them restore the garden to how it would have looked in the mid-1950s.

Pay a visit to the Rock Garden, one of Lady Nuffield’s most loved areas, to see the variety of alpines and rock plants now that the garden team have cleared the invasive weeds and replanted the area.

The pergola over the paved Rose Walk was in a poor state but has now been lovingly rebuilt and the roses replanted – take a look as you explore.

The rock garden at Nuffield Place in spring. Pink blossom visible in the background with mossy rocks in the foreground.
The Rock garden at Nuffield Place | © National Trust Images/James Dobson

The lawns

There are three lawns at Nuffield Place. The Red Oak Lawn is so called because of the large American Red Oak that’s planted there. Running across this lawn is also the reinstated Purple Plum avenue, bearing lovely blossom in spring and deep purple leaves until late autumn.

Lying to the west of the house is a more informal grassed area known as the pond lawn. There's only a small part of Lord Nuffield’s water garden left to see here – a feature that used to flow across the lawn. Fundraising is currently under way to restore this to its former glory.

A blue Morris Minor car parked outside the front of Nuffield Place

Book your visit

For morning guided house experiences, we recommend that all visitors, including members, book in advance to guarantee a place. Bookings can be made up to 8am on the day.

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