Friday, 25 August 2017

The Royal Windsor Great Park and Savill Garden

Exploring The Savill Garden in Windsor Great Park

South of the Royal residence of Windsor Castle is the vast Windsor Great Park. Under the guide of Harvey (deputy keeper of the garden) and his team, I explored some of the 4,800 acres of English parkland including the beautiful Savill Garden.

The wavy Savill Building built out of local wood and opened in 2006
Sunshine yellow border plants in Savill Garden
Yellow Kniphofia in the Savill Garden
Casson Bridge in The Savill Garden

The Savill Garden is 34 acres of undulating landscape that's been lovingly enhanced with a diverse mix of plant life for the past 80 years. The park's ranger is the Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal's have expressed much interest and passion for this spectacular space, overseeing recent changes like the tranquil Jubilee and Rose Garden that Her Majesty the Queen opened in 2010.

Beautiful orange dahlias in The Savill Garden

I was curious to see how the garden is able to sustain itself through the changing seasons, and Harvey shared the teams clever use of space ensures there's a feast for the eyes what ever time of year you visit.

Dahlia orange pathfinder flower

For example, in cold December entry has been free and the dogwood and snowy birch contrast brilliantly alongside the thriving winter beds. In springtime the valley is cloaked in vibrant colours of magnolias and rhododendrons, followed by the emergence of dazzling dahlias, hydrangeas and sweet smelling roses in the summer.

The Queen Elizabeth Temperate House
Flowers in the Queen Elizabeth Temperate House in Savill Garden
Tropical flowers and water feature in the Savill Garden temperate house

After a rainy night, the humid air was laced with nature's perfume which ever direction you went. The tropical-like Temperate House reminded me of parks in Tenerife and Madeira, and the rose garden's soaring walkway (the title image) arches over like a ship's bow.

Peach coloured roses in The Savill Garden
Wandering through the summer woods at The Savill Garden
Wood fired pizza and salad on the menu at The Savill Kitchen

The castle's parkland is a perfect setting for a British picnic, but The Savill Kitchen menu is worth consideration; wood-fired pizza, salads and sandwiches sit alongside one of my favourite English traditions; Afternoon Tea

A floral Afternoon Tea at The Savill Kitchen in Windsor Great Park
Inside the stylish and modern Savill Garden Kitchen
Afternoon on the kitchen terrace at The Savill Garden
Beautiful purple and blue flower borders

If you've visited Windsor Castle you may have caught a glimpse of the famous Long Walk that stretches over three miles to the deer park where the animals roam freely amongst the oak trees. Some of the trees here date back 1300 years (if only they could talk!) and witnessed the castle's creation during William the Conquer's reign around 1066.

The Five Arches Bridge in Windsor Great Park
Windsor Great Park deers
The Long Walk to Windsor Castle from the top
The lakes and lily ponds at Windsor Great Park

The land here was frequently used for hunting and there's a famous ghost story about Herne the Hunter who apparently still haunts the parks today. The huge Virginia Water lake (man made in the 1700s by the Duke of Cumberland) was popular with Queen Victoria who enjoyed picnics on the waterside. These days the area is frequented by dog walkers and runners as it's free to access year round.

Striking black and yellow flowers framing the Jubilee Garden in Windsor Great Park

See my post on Princess Beatrice garden in Carisbrooke Castle, daughter of Queen Victoria.

Windsor Castle gates viewed from the long walk

Windsor Great Park and The Savill Garden are two ingredients for a wonderfully British day out, particularly if you've already explored the castle or love history and horticulture. Even though I visited on a grey and damp day, the late summer gardens were very much alive with colour.
If you have visited Windsor Great Park during the other seasons, please let me know what you made of it.

The Savill Garden | 10-6pm/4.30pm (summer/winter)
£10.50 park entry also includes free parking
Take a look at my weekend guide to Oxford and Windsor or explore my travel section for further inspiration. 

Disclosure: My experience at Windsor Great Park was complimentary for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own. 
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© Explore With Ed | A Cardiff based Food, Travel and Cruise Blog

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