Last month I visited Highgrove, the private residence of TRH The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. I would love to say that I was there on the personal invitation of Prince Charles but my nose would grow if I did! I do have a personal connection to Prince Charles but I will save that story for when we meet! I was at Highgrove to experience a tour of their fascinating gardens. Highgrove has been the private residence of HRH The Prince of Wales for 40 years. Over that time Prince Charles, a keen gardener, has converted 15 acres of what was just meadows, copse and a neglected kitchen garden into a series of beautiful gardens including a cottage garden, wildflower meadow, a walled kitchen garden, topiaries and a stumpery. If you haven't heard of a stumpery before, do not worry as neither had I! Stumperies were popular during the Victorian times and are based on a design where ferns are grown in upturned tree stumps and tree roots. It certainly creates an intriguing look. As an advocator of organic farming, Prince Charles has made sure that all of the gardens are organic and during the tour the guide at Highgrove gave some useful tips on how to protect flowers and plants against pests without using pesticides and chemicals.
Scattered throughout the gardens are gifts that Prince Charles has received over the years. The tour takes you right up to the house which was built at the end of the 1700s. For security reasons you of course cannot go inside and it is highly unlikely that you will see or meet Their Royal Highnesses on the tour. You will however see the treehouse that Prince Charles built for William and Harry and you will have the chance to purchase produce from their estate. Highgrove is located approximately 45 minutes from Bath so if you are interested in gardens and royalty then this will make a fascinating tour from Bath. Garden tours are operated at different times throughout the year. During these days of COVID-19 tours have been scaled back so do check their website before making plans (www.highgrovegardens.com). The garden tour is led by one of their expert guides and takes between 90 minutes and 2 hours. If you would like to make a day out of your visit then there are a number of attractions nearby which you could also visit e.g. the gardens and Stately Home of Dyrham Park (where, unlike Highgrove, you can go inside the house), the beautiful Westonbirt Arboretum (one of the most important arboretums in the country) and Cotswolds villages and market towns. If you would like me to create a customised tour for you which includes a Highgrove Garden Tour please get in touch.