Date(s) - 13/09/2023
10:30 am - 4:00 pm
The Dower House
Meet 10.30am at The Dower House, DE73 8JH
Today we are visiting the garden of the Dower House in the morning and the park and gardens of Melbourne Hall in the afternoon. Melbourne church has been described by Simon Jenkins as one of the finest Norman churches in the country. It is well worth a visit if you have time.
This visit is by own transport and if you would like a lift or could offer a lift, please contact Elizabeth and also indicate on the booking form.
There is no parking at The Dower House or the Hall. There is, however, free parking in Church Square and the surrounding streets.
Once in Church Square, the entrance to the courtyard is at the West end of the Norman Church. By the blue sign giving church service times walk up the lane between the War Memorial and the side of the church. The gates of the Dower House are then 40 yards ahead.
The Dower House, built in 1829, is owned by William and Griselda Kerr and has a beautiful view of Melbourne Pool from the balustraded terrace. The garden drops steeply by paths and steps to lawn with herbaceous borders and bank
of some 60 shrubs. Numerous paths lead to different areas of the garden, providing varied planting opportunities including a bog garden, glade, shrubbery, grasses, herb and vegetable garden, rose tunnel, orchard and small woodland. The garden has been highly recommended by Friends of the Trust.
The garden is on two levels connected by steps and steep paths. Wheelchair access is limited to the top level. A ramp entrance avoids steps into the garden.
A condition of the visit states that it is essential to wear suitable footwear that has a good grip so that you do not slip on the slopes and steps in the garden.
A tour of the garden and tea/coffee and cake are included.
Melbourne Hall is a Grade II* Georgian style country house, the home of Lord and Lady Ralph Kerr. The Grade l listed garden with its broad sweeps of lawn, avenues and unexpected vistas is one of the most treasured historical gardens in the country and is the best surviving early 18th century English garden in the manner of le Notre. It was laid out by Rt. Hon Thomas Coke, Vice Chamberlain to Queen Anne, with help from the garden landscape designers George London and Henry Wise in the formal style. It is noted for its long tunnel of Yew, its wrought iron arbour created by Robert Bakewell and its statuary by Jan van Nost, notably the Four seasons monument, a gift from Queen Anne
There have been few radical alterations to the gardens since the early 18th century. However, in the earlier part of the 20th century, Lord Walter Kerr and his wife Lady Amabel carried out extensive restoration.
On arrival at Melbourne Hall we will be given an introductory talk and a light lunch has been arranged in the Hall café by the gate.
10.30am Meet in the courtyard of the Dower House
1.00pm Lunch in Melbourne Hall cafe
2.00pm Introductory talk about Melbourne Hall Gardens followed by free flow visit.
Cost: Friends £30.00 Guests £31.00
(Includes entrances, coffee/tea at the Dower House and light lunch at the Hall café)
Please return, booking form by Monday, 4th September 2023, to Fliss Hector 23 Kingsmead Road, Leicester, LE2 3YE