Hestercombe House & Gardens, Taunton, Somerset
Hestercombe House and Gardens are like 'the lost gardens of Somerset', saved from disrepair and restored to their former glory over a painstaking 20 year period. The gardens cover 50 acres and are a delight to explore, with plenty of wonderful surprises. Take your time to amble along the lakeside paths and you’ll see classical temples, cascading waterfalls, a Mausoleum and a Witch House. Stroll through the yew tunnel in the Victorian Shrubbery, sit beside the Pear Pond for a moment of sheer mindfulness, wander across the Orangery Lawns to the formal terraces, utterly exquisite with a sunken parterre and a rose garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll. Framed by rills and a pergola the formal gardens link seamlessly with the surrounding countryside and the views across the Vale of Taunton are incredible.
Soak up the tranquillity and enjoy the birdsong in the woodlands, go as far as the fully restored 17th century watermill; don't miss a single bit of it because it's all so terribly enchanting. Round off your visit with a browse around the gift shop and a bite to eat in The Stables Cafe or The Bampfylde Restaurant.
There’s a picnic area and a playground for younger children, and something that might appeal are the exciting events throughout the year – fungal forays, spooky Halloween trails, stargazing nights, and a wonderfully magical Christmas market.