Things to See and Do

Gardens at Witley Court

Discover the glorious grounds of Witley Court – one of the country's most romantic ruins. A spectacular lake, a vast fountain of Perseus and Andromeda, and colourful French parterre are just some of the highlights of what was one of the grandest estates in England. 

We've rounded up some of our favourite green spaces, so you can make the most of every season.

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Parterre Gardens

Wander through the intricately designed parterres, vibrant flower beds, ornate terraces and pavilions which make up the magnificently landscaped parterre gardens at Witley Court. 

Parterre Gardens are the development of a medieval knot garden where the pattern of the garden forms an ornamental display. Immaculately designed, the parterre gardens at Witley Court have been restored and are filled with colourful bedding plants and box hedge clipped into topiary shapes and brightly coloured gravels.  

A must-see for flower lovers, these gardens are at their peak in spring and summer when the Victorian bedding plants start flowering. Expect to see violas and primrose in April, while enjoying the beautiful scent of spring bulbs. In the summer enjoy the sight of salvias, dahlias and begonias spilling over the hedges. 


The Wilderness Gardens

Explore the winding paths of Witley's Wilderness Gardens and wonder at the many different species of trees and shrubs from all over the world. In May and June, the rhododendron collection is particularly impressive, especially against the backdrop of the cascade waterfall.

Hidden between the trees and lake, look out for the decorative Victorian boathouse. While here, keep an eye out for wildlife, if you're lucky you may even catch a glimpse of a great crested grebe fishing for his supper.

During the summer months, head to the wildflower meadows, covered in a blanket of ox-eye daisies, wildflowers and orchids. 

Plus, don't miss the Wilderness Play Area, great for kids and grandkids to enjoy the outdoors! 

Our top gardens tip

"I love seeing all the new growth and shoots in spring. It's one of my favourite seasons as it marks the beginning of a new year in the garden. The gardens team spends this time sowing seeds and the gardens are emerging from hibernation with a beautiful scent of spring bulbs. 

The Wilderness is a special place in the garden for me. It’s lovely to see families playing outdoors, and I particularly enjoy the walk up to the butterfly hide, as I try and spot orchids in the summer and fungi in the autumn."

 Jasmine (Head Gardener)


Seasonal Highlights


The gardens come to life with the first signs of spring. Spot the snowdrops coming into flower in January and the Hamamelis filling the air with its lovely scent, soon to be followed by the daffodils in the Wilderness. The beautiful furry buds of the magnolia tree burst into life showing their bright pink flowers. Head down the ornamental walks for the dazzling display of rhododendrons.


Enjoy the beautiful East Parterre, full of Victorian colour. The tightly clipped box hedges with bedding plants create vibrant geometric designs. Head over to the Wilderness Garden and spot the bee orchids, and – as you wander through the oxe eye daisy – count the number of butterflies floating on the breeze.


Enjoy red-leaved sweet chestnuts, golden field maples and beautiful oak trees dotted throughout Witley's grounds. As you walk through the Wilderness, try spotting the fungi underneath the trees including the red and white fly agaric.


Discover the Winter Garden and enjoy the heady smell of winter honeysuckle. Take a moment to enjoy the carpet of helleboure, with flowers basking in the winter sun. Stroll around the Wilderness and hear the frosty grass crunch underfoot, before admiring the beautiful catkins on the hazel trees.

History of the Gardens

Witley Court was once owned by some of England’s wealthiest families. It was a place of great opulence, hosting royalty and glamorous balls.

The mansion reached its heyday in the Victorian period when it was sold to William Ward, one of the richest men in the country. As well as remodelling, Ward commissioned W A Nesfield (the leading garden designer of his day) to transform Witley into one of Britain’s great garden estates.

Witley fell victim to a devastating fire in 1937, reducing the mansion to a romantic ruin. Yet today, the gardens have been recreated and fountain restored, so visitors can stroll through spectacular grounds and imagine the lavish parties of the past.

More to explore

  • History and Stories

    Discover the history behind Witley Court's dramatic ruins and travel back to a world of lavish house parties.

  • Things to See and Do

    Explore all there is to see and do at Witley Court, including the Wilderness Play Area and woodland walks.

  • What's On

    Enjoy relaxing days spent enjoying jazz, go on fun adventure quests and get spooky at Halloween.