Visiting the garden at Upton
As you enter the historic garden, the view over the Upton estate unfolds in front of you. Walk to the end of the lawn and all is revealed, as the rows of terraced planting tumble down to the kitchen garden and Mirror Pool.
The Winter Walk
Because of our location on the edge of an Ice Age valley, and the steepness of the historic grass paths, the grass wears away and the clay soil becomes compacted and waterlogged. This has serious implications for our much-loved garden and visitor safety.
That's why, from 30 October until the end of March, visits to the garden are via the Winter Walk, which includes the hard footpath alongside the Mirror Pool and the track through the woodland.
The joy of the Winter Walk lies in the open views into the heart of the garden and over the surrounding countryside.
Winter in the garden
From mid-February to May there are an abundance of different Narcissi coming into flower as you follow the garden walk down the Yew Terraces and around into the wild garden, not forgetting the short walk through the Orchard if you are running out of time.
There is a wonderful display of later flowering spring plants and bulbs from anemone, primulas and various species of Narcissi flowering on the Hazel bank before they show off their catkins and come into leaf.
As we move into April and May the House Terraces will be starting to come into bloom, with rows of Primula, Eysimum and Myosotis interplanted with a wonderful display of Tulips.
The Mirror Pool has been an iconic site at Upton since its installation in the 1920s and, apart from its brief covering during the war, it has sat glistening silently for thousands to enjoy.
In 2017, the team undertook important conservation work to restore it to its former glory.
The pool is fed from a natural spring in the corner of the garden, so with rainwater and the spring, the pool filled up within six months of the work being completed.
Plant life has started to re-grow gradually and you can see a selection of waterlilies and reeds surrounding the pool, which has encouraged birds and insects to return.
The orchard is a peaceful place with a great variety of birdlife; you can see, hear and enjoy the sounds of nature without any distractions. It is our silent space where you can take some time out and connect with nature.
The team is often asked why we leave the fruit on the trees and the ground in the orchard. Over the colder months of winter, the fruit sustains birds, animals and insects while food is in short supply.
South Lawn and Yew Tree Terrace
As you walk across the south terrace, take a moment to savour the views to the parkland beyond the South Lawn.
The avenues of sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa) can be seen in the distance, and the Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), planted in the 17th century, cling to the bank on the west side of the wall.
Wildlife in the garden
The woods and lakes that form part of Upton’s natural landscape are a haven for wildlife. As well as the more common species that you might see in your own garden, many unusual and scarce species visit the gardens including great spotted woodpeckers and occasionally a red kite.
The surrounding woodland is rich in bird life. The trees and undergrowth make a perfect habitat for nesting and foraging for food. Listen and look out for green and great spotted woodpeckers drumming as well as the noisy rooks. You might also hear a medley of birdsong from blackbirds, robins and threatened species such as the blackcap, song thrush and spotted flycatcher.
The woodland is a haven for wildlife and a great place for the little ones to run wild and have some fun. Step into the woodland near visitor reception and you’ll discover logs to climb on, walk along and jump over, as well as tunnels that lead you round and rooms under the holly trees.
As you follow the path you'll discover more about our wildlife, before ending up at the Pavilion Café for a well-deserved treat.
Discover more about the history of Upton House and how following its acquisition by Lord and Lady Bearsted in 1927, they set about improving the estate and hiring garden designer Kitty Lloyd-Jones to improve the garden.
Stop by the Pavilion Café on your visit to Upton House and grab a bite to eat, a hot or cold drink and a slice of cake. Buy a souvenir of your visit in the shop, or pop into the second-hand bookshop for a new read.
Find out what's on for families at Upton House and Gardens, spot wildlife on the Woodland Walk or simply let off steam in acres of space outdoors. If you're planning ahead for Christmas, find out more about about all we have coming up to celebrate.
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.