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Visiting the garden at Upton

Bumblebee nectaring on pink cherry blossom at Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Enjoy the cherry blossom by the mirror pool at Upton House | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

As you enter the historic garden, the view over the surrounding countryside 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 late April, 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.

Enjoy the blossom in the gardens at Upton

Enjoy blossom season at Upton and join in with the National Trust’s #BlossomWatch. This is a spectacular, but transient season and there are many areas you can spot blossom in the gardens.

In the Wild Garden, you’ll find the cherry trees in full blossom from April. The spectacular Prunus Serrula -Tibetan cherry tree - has a remarkable striped bark that looks best at this time of year.

Other flowering cherries are dotted elsewhere across the property – at Visitor Reception, as you enter, on the slope outside the Pavilion café, and along the far side of the Mirror Pool too. On a clear, sunny day, the blossoming cherry casts a pink reflection across the stretch of water, as you look up towards the terraces.

From late April and into May the apple trees start blossoming in the Orchard. This is a sight not to be missed. Take a moment to sit in the Portico and appreciate the floral spring scene in all its beauty.

Mirror Pool

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.

Man & two children looking out over the Mirror Pool in spring
Enjoy the Mirror Pool and early signs of spring | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Quiet Orchard

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.

Turn off your phone and immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings. Throughout April and May, the trees start blossoming, a sight not to be missed.

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.

Green woodpecker perched on a twig at Avebury, Wiltshire
Look out for the green woodpeckers | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw

Woodland birdlife

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.

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Woodland walk

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.

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