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Explore the garden at Claremont Landscape Garden

A view of the Belvedere tower surrounded by colourful orange and yellow foliage in autumn at Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey
The Belvedere at Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey | © National Trust Images/Chris Davies

Discover hidden surprises within this 49-acre historic landscape garden. With its serpentine lake, grass amphitheatre, Belvedere Tower and recently restored North Terrace, there's plenty to see.

Autumn in the garden

An autumnal treat hides around every corner with 300-year-old sweet chestnut trees shedding their conker bounty, sweeping avenues lighting up in shades of yellow and piles of crunchy leaves gathering, ready to be shuffled through.

The best time to see the autumn colours at Claremont is usually from mid-September. With the autumnal display coming out in full during October and well into November, there's something new to see every week during this fast-changing season.

Lake and amphitheatre

Two of the most striking highlights, and those that Claremont is best known for, sit at the heart of this landscape garden.

Claremont’s amphitheatre is believed to be the largest of its kind left in Europe. This grass-covered feature is three acres in size and surrounds one half of the lake. It provides excellent views out across the garden and lake from the top.

Sited below the amphitheatre is the serpentine, man-made lake. It's the perfect spot for rest, relaxation, or a family picnic. Row boats are available to hire during the Spring and Summer month. Please ask at the Kiosk when you arrive.

Access to the amphitheatre

Please note that the Grade I listed amphitheatre is closed to the public to protect from wear and tear.

Claremont Garden lake against the backdrop of its impressive amphitheatre lawn. with trees in autumn colour
Claremont Garden lake against the backdrop of its impressive amphitheatre lawn in Autumn | © James Duffy

A garden for all weathers

Don’t let wet weather hold you back. The wide, level path around the lake means that all trails and walks are manageable in wet weather. Come welly-ready and waterproofed to make the most of a rainy visit.

Historic highlights

Claremont was a playground for wealthy and influential owners over centuries of changing fashions, and you'll still find plenty of features from the garden's many different faces today:

Camellia Terrace: Once the site of Princess Charlotte and Prince Leopold's large, heated glasshouse, the nationally important collection of camellias blooms in a beautiful display between January and May.

Grotto: When formal gardens went out of style in the mid-1700s, the cascade was replaced with these three caves, designed to appear natural and precarious.

Animal statues: Before the island was added, an obelisk and three statues stood at the centre of the lake. Today the obelisk is gone, but the statues of a boar, a peacock and a bear can be found on the path up to the Camellia Terrace.

Ha-ha: Instead of spoiling the view with a fence, landscapers in the 18th century had a novel way of stopping livestock getting into the pleasure grounds: a hidden wall in a ditch known as a ha-ha. Claremont has both a brick-faced ha-ha built by ‘Capability’ Brown and a more naturalistic ha-ha created by William Kent.

Island: In the middle of the lake opposite the amphitheatre is a small, man-made island. The garden team have restored the view of the Belisle pavilion in the centre of the island, from where the Duke of Newcastle enjoyed writing letters.

White benches

The white-painted seats you see today are specially commissioned replicas based on those seen in paintings of the garden from the 1740s by an unknown artist referred to as ‘The master of tumbling chairs' and they provide an artistic and practical contrast to Claremont’s green scenery.

View from top of the grass Amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden, Surrey. The Amphitheatre was created around 1722 by Charles Bridgeman.
View from top of the grass Amphitheatre at Claremont Landscape Garden | © National Trust Images/Andrew Butler

Garden wildlife

Claremont's lake is home to many resident and visiting water birds, including ducks, geese and occasionally swans. If you're lucky you might just glimpse a kingfisher diving into the water. Pick up a bag or two of bird seed from the kiosk and you'll be guaranteed a warm welcome from the waterfowl.

Elsewhere in the garden, look out for rabbits, squirrels and the flash of green ring-tailed parakeets among the trees. Roe deer can also be seen in the woods.

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