The garden at Uppark
There's plenty to discover in the garden at Uppark all year round. Today the gardens are presented in the picturesque Repton style; including a scented garden, amphitheatre and panoramic views across the South Downs.
Humphry Repton's work at Uppark
The garden you see today is from prominent garden designer Humphry Repton, created in around 1810 for Uppark’s then owner Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh.
Areas of the garden, such as the wide glade, are more heavily influenced by Capability Brown rather than Repton. Although not all of Repton’s plans were implemented, he is thought to be responsible for the Dairy and the Borghese vase on top of the mound at the top of the north drive as well as relocating the main approach to the house to its present-day location.
Summer in the garden at Uppark
In early summer, thousands of native wildflowers appear among the waving grasses of Uppark’s meadow. Set on chalk grassland, the meadow supports a huge variety of wildflowers, from the pretty lilac-blue field scabious to ox-eye daisies and yellow rattle. Many different varieties of butterflies flit among the flowers in the meadow, from large white to meadow brown and small copper.
The herbaceous borders in the amphitheatre garden and the dairy come alive with the sound of bees busily foraging among attractively planted purple, orange and white shrubs and flowers. In the tea garden, by the entrance to the café, canna lilies reign supreme, their orange and red flowers towering over hydrangeas and hostas.
To the east of the house, wildflower mix ‘medieval tapestry’ delights with a mix of purple, orange, pink, blue and yellow.
The scented garden is at its height in summer, packed full of scent and colour. The air is perfumed with the smell of sweet peas, phlox, lavender, rosemary and old roses, a delight for the senses.
The amphitheatre garden
The amphitheatre garden, planted with attractive herbaceous shrubs and flower borders, was designed to lead guests to the front of the house and the views of the South Downs.
Maps from the 1870s show an extensive path network weaving between the trees. This was covered over in the 20th century and is now in the process of being restored to provide greater access to the garden. The amphitheatre garden is a lovely place to sit on one of the benches and admire the beauty of the garden.
The scented garden
This secluded and intimate area of the garden, enclosed by yew hedging on one side and a flint wall on the other, is planted sympathetically with some bulbs and annuals, and provides flashes of colour and scents throughout the year.
The grass south terraces run along the entire principal front of the house and were the site of formal gardens when the house was first built. In the summer, it is the perfect spot to have a picnic, and to enjoy the views out towards the Solent.
To the south of the house sits the meadow. At its peak in the summer, when it is filled with a variety of wildflowers and butterflies, pathways are cut into the grasses so you can wander right into its heart. Managed in a traditional manner, it is grazed by sheep in the spring and cut for hay in the summer.
Traditionally referred to as ‘The Gothick Seat,’ this important element of the garden at Uppark to the south-east side of the house was most certainly designed by Humphry Repton’s antiquarian architect son, John Adey Repton (c.1811-14). The original colour of the seat is unknown, but this may have been the ‘summer seat’ for the family and their friends to relax on and admire the far-reaching views.
Coade stone urn
To the left of the gates to the driveway lies a distinctive grassy mound dating from at least the 18th century. It overlooks an open glade surrounded by shrubs and trees, on top of which sits a white Coade-stone Borghese vase. ‘The urn on the mount’, as described by Repton, is partially hidden by box and yew to allow for a delightful surprise when the sun catches the white stone.
Pioneered by the artist and businesswoman Eleanor Coade, the ‘stone’ material is made from a mix of clay, terracotta, silicates and glass and fired for four days, making it hard yet fine enough to carve with the elaborate Greco-Roman relief scene.
Silent Space is a charity that encourages gardens open to the public to reserve an area where visitors can take time to reflect quietly and to enjoy the beauty of the garden and the sounds of nature without distractions.
Uppark’s Garden is small but perfectly formed, overlooking the beautiful South Downs and out to the sea – it’s hard to not feel at peace when you’re here. Further to that, we also have a dedicated space of quiet which can be found in our Scented Garden. A small, hidden part of our garden filled with the beautiful smells and sounds of nature. The area is marked on our visitor maps or do ask a member of the team for directions.
For more information on Silent Space, visit the website
Take a stroll through the surrounding grounds at Uppark. Discover far-reaching views, wooded walks and the different wildlife that calls this place home.
Discover what family-friendly activities are on offer at Uppark in West Sussex, from servants' quarters and tunnels, to woods for den-building and a wild flower meadow for picnics.
Take a look inside this classic historical house, filled with exquisite furnishings from all over the world, and discover what life was like below stairs for serving staff.
Uppark is a two pawprint rated place. Take a look at what you need to know if you are bringing your four-legged friend with you on a visit, including walking tips, facilities and information on Pooch Passports.
Explore over 400 years of history, from the early estate to the last owners. Discover when grand decorations and furnishings were added, and substantial renovations took place.
From 18th-century water gardens and Arts and Crafts landscapes to intimate woodland gardens, there are so many places to discover.