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Explore the garden at Goddards

Spring flowers including tulips in the forefront with a formal lawn, pond and trees beyond
See the seasons evolve each time you visit | © National Trust / Tom Longridge

Discover what you’ll see in the five acres of grounds when you visit the garden at Goddards. Once home to the Terry family, this private haven on the outskirts of York city centre features several garden rooms filled with scented borders, mature trees, ponds and wilder areas.

A garden of surprises

From the second you walk under the gatehouse, and leave the busy suburbs of York behind, you feel like you've entered into a secret garden, hidden in plain sight. The garden is divided up into 'garden rooms' as was the Arts and Crafts garden style. What you see today, is the same design created by George Dillistone in the late 1920s.

Caring for the glasshouse

Please note there will be scaffolding around the glasshouse and some paths closed as we repair, replace and re-paint this historic part of the garden.

The garden rooms

As you wander around the five-acre garden, uncover the unique atmosphere in each space. The ‘rooms’ performs a separate function, with hedges and shrubs providing the structure. Each room changes over the year as the planting and produce grow and return. Here's a little of what you might expect as you explore the garden

Blue Camassias in grass under fruit trees with a glasshouse in the distance
Don't miss the changing underplanting in the orchard as spring progresses | © National Trust / Joanne Parker


Dillistone wasn’t confident in the Yorkshire weather for growing fruit and an orchard was never part of the plan. However, once the family purchased land from next door, they expanded their kitchen garden and started to grow fruit. Today’s orchard was added in the spirit of what the area was used for, but again with modern considerations. Varieties grown reflect popular varieties of the day including Noel’s favourite apple, James Grieve, said to be the inspiration for the chocolate apple, the precursor to everyone’s favourite stocking filler.

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Glorious gardens. Utterly beautiful peaceful space with so many hidden spots and paths leading to new spaces to discover. It’s not huge but it is immaculate and a real hidden gem in the road out of York near the racecourse.

A quote by Tripadvisor review May 2022

Statuary returning home

New to see, but very much an original part of the garden is a series of statuary, including a pair of griffins, a pair of pelicans and a set of urns. They were originally acquired by Noel and Kathleen Terry and family and placed in their garden at Goddards; probably in the 1930s.

The statues were removed from the garden on the sale of the house to the National Trust in 1984 and relocated to the gardens of other family members. In time, kindly donated by the Terry family to their original home after nearly 40 years. After a programme of conservation, they are slowly getting returned to the garden. Thanks to archive imagery and this sketch from Betty Terry as a child, the team are able to place the pieces with relative confidence.

Watercolour sketch of a garden with statues and trees
This childhood memory has helped with today's garden planning | © The Terry family

Look out for wildlife

Despite its relatively urban location, Goddards is a haven for wildlife. Set back from the busy streets, this pocket of green space has many different habitats to support nature throughout the year. With the neighbouring Knavesmire and to some extent York racecourse, there are plenty of places for wildlife to thrive.

Why is the house closed?

Goddards was bought by the charity from the Terry family to use as the Yorkshire regional office. Although selected rooms in the house were open for a short time, since the pandemic the indoor spaces have remained closed, except for use as a National Trust office. The gardens are open on selected days for visitors to explore.

View of a floral garden through a bricked arch

Discover more at Goddards garden

Find out when Goddards is open, how to get here, the things to see and do and more.

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