Saturday, 29 August 2009


So I'm sure all of you are familiar with the need occasionally to go and get a member of your family and take them on a nice outing. My grandma has been suffering a bit lately from feeling worried about everything (a trait she helpfully passed onto me in the DNA, I don't think she did it on purpose though). So I decided what we needed was a nice little jaunt in the countryside. 

We picked a National Trust property, Buscot Park, about an hour from where she lives, partly because when I was seven she made me a life member for Christmas and we still both regard it as a point of principle to carry on trying to get ultimate value for money from this £75 purchase. Another £15.25 saved! Kerching!

Buscot is really gorgeous and starts with a walled garden that was rich in lovely Asters and other autumnal stuff, great big rosehips and lots of wasps (see VP for details). But the real treat is to come. 

The house is a little jewel on the hilltop with what I think must be the best collection of art I've ever seen in a private house - Rubens, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Reynolds; however my grandma and I both fell in particular love with the central room of the house, which is decorated with big paintings of the "Legend of Briar Rose" by Burne Jones. Somehow, the strange, slightly weird atmosphere of the Pre-Raphaelites totally suited this house, isolated in the countryside, and the storyline of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty) with its idea of sleeping, surrounded by high hedges, also went perfectly with the setting. Really amazing. 

But after that you still aren't finished: now, you walk down to the lake (There's little lake and big lake, just to be clear) through a Harold Peto water garden which is just stunning. It's a tribute to Italian water gardens, and for a moment we felt far away from England. 

Or would have done if there weren't lots of little kids in football tops trying to jump over the water channel. Which we both actually found quite entertaining (especially my grandma, but then she does go to sunday worship at a place I call "The church of tiny tearaways" and she likes that too, which would drive me mad). 

Anyway I really recommend Buscot, it's one of those places you don't hear about much but it's got a really powerful magic. And very nice chocolate cake. 

Ps the bit of this garden I want to take home?

Yes, the swimming pool, in a cool, enclosed courtyard. Ahhhhhhhhhh


Ryan said...

Great post!

I'm so glad that you're getting your money's worth and treating your gran! Such an honourable woman you are!

The gardens looked beautiful and the house must have been amazing with all that fantastic art?! I especially like the rill.

Keep up the good work!


VP said...

Did you do the Waft a wasp away dance too?

Harold Peto's one of my faves - there's a fantastic garden of his not far from here (Iford).

I think we need to start a garden bloggers guide to cake. New Shoot has started us off very well with her cream tea/scone notes, but I fear you and I would have to fight for the cholcolate cake slot ;)

VP said...

PS Is this another gem that's not too crowded?

Rothschild Orchid said...

Buscot is magical, so glad you had a lovely day. VP is right, you really must go to Iford the cake is fantastic! (

Martyn Cox said...

I had a fix of Burne-Jones yesterday at the William Morris Gallery in dear old Walthamstow. There were some fabulous stained glass windows - I recomend a visit next time you're in the Stow.

Vivienne said...

Thanks for this. I was near Buscot in July - went swimming in the Thames near Kelmscott. By the time we'd clicked on Buscot Park we'd run out of time, which was a shame - we missed all that good cake!