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Things to do in the garden at Calke Abbey

Close up of pink nectarine blossom in full bloom against a wall
Nectarine blossom in the Peach House | © National Trust/Susan Guy

Discover a vibrant and productive walled garden, look inside the faded glasshouses and explore Calke's fascinating collection of garden buildings.

Spring in the gardens

Wander through the gardens this spring and take in seasonal delights around every corner. As you explore, listen out for the gentle hum of bees and insects as they return to the gardens in search of nectar.


These cheerful blooms are one of the first to arrive in spring, bursting open their golden trumpets in celebration. Flowering until early May, walk up to the Pleasure Grounds or venture further into the peaceful orchard and watch as they sway in the breeze.


The arrival of blossom is one of the most delightful moments in spring, and there’s plenty of places to find these pretty flowers at Calke. For early blossom, head to the Peach House in the Walled Kitchen Garden in March to see peaches and nectarines bloom.

Revisit in May to see a spectacular show of blossom in the orchard – home to approximately 50 varieties of rare and local apples. Relax on a deck chair in the Physic Garden and take in the sights and scents of apple blossom all around you.

Pink and white apple blossom framing a bench in the orchard
Apple blossom in the orchard | © National Trust/Susan Guy

Auricula theatre

Look out for a host of spring bulbs on the auricula theatre, including a special display of crocuses in March, to celebrate Sir Vauncey Harpur Crewe planting them for his mother.

The real showstopper then arrives in late April and early May when the theatre is adorned with its namesake.

Gardener's buildings and Bothy

To get a real sense of Calke's historic working garden, don't forget to peek inside the Gardener's Bothy, where you'll find a vast collection of garden tools, pots and broken cloches – it's a gardener's heaven.

Calke's garden was once an industrial hub, and the remnants of the historic heating systems can still be seen today in the back sheds and Stove House. You may find that some sheds are closed off during winter – this is so that we can protect areas of the garden from heavy footfall during the wetter months.

Did you know there’s a series of tunnels beneath Calke's garden? One of the tunnels leads to the house from the back sheds under the Pleasure Grounds. It was built so that the gardeners could go about their work without being seen from the house. The tunnel is open for you to explore – but it's quite low, so mind your head!

Download the property map to guide you around the gardens.

A room filled with hanging gardening tools, flower pots and other gardening equipment.
The Gardeners' Bothy at Calke Abbey | © James Dobson

Dogs welcome

Well-behaved dogs are welcome in the garden, so you can explore more of Calke without leaving your four-legged friends out.

Please keep your dog on a short lead, and don’t forget to scoop that poop – it helps us keep Calke’s garden clean for all visitors to enjoy.

A view of the west side of the house and  a glimpse of the Pleasure Grounds through trees on a sunny day at Calke Abbey

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