Only five miles from The Secret Valley, at Cheddon Fitzpaine near Taunton, the drive took us through beautiful countryside dotted with a mix of pretty thatched cottages, working farms and beautiful old country estates.
Hestercombe Gardens is a collection of three gardens - Formal, Landscape and Victorian designed in part by Gertrude Jekyll and Sir Edwin Lutyens. There are footpaths that lead you through the entire estate so you can see all three sections of gardens and spot the various "seats" or follies dotted throughout the landscape garden.
The path naturally took us past ponds and water features, round into the formal sections of the estate.
There were so many paths to take, so many views to stand and admire, that it was almost a shame to tear ourselves away to find a drink! The old Stables have been converted into a really spacious cafe restaurant where we took a little time to enjoy a milkshake each and of course share a slice of cake! The food & drink is very reasonably priced and it was lovely to see plenty of gluten free options available too.
There is also a restaurant within Hestercombe House that serves lunches and afternoon teas, as this overlooks the formal gardens it would be perfect for a special occasion! The House itself has only recently been reopened to the public. There is an Art Gallery on the first floor and a book shop on the ground floor. Unfortunately our time was short so we had to leave without going in ourselves.
Entry to Hestercombe Gardens was £10.50 per adult and £4.00 for 5-15 year olds. Under 5's are free. These prices include a charitable 10% donation towards the upkeep of the estate. It's open all year round from 10am.
We both came away from Hestercombe thinking that we had only scratched the surface and we would love to come back to Somerset to visit the gardens at different times of the year.
We paid for our entry to Hestercombe Gardens and were not asked to write a review.