Amongst the finest in Britain and Europe the gardens have been created over the last 250 years by successive generations of the same family and thus offer an unusual blend of long history and traditional design with inspired modern ideas and additions. The result is a garden rich in atmosphere, interest and vitality – a wonderful example of the idea that the best gardens are living, changing works of art.
The garden’s best known feature is its Herbaceous Border which was probably the first border of its kind planted in England, this along with the unique Quercus Ilex Columns, Pleached Lime Avenue of trees and the furlong walk make this simply the most amazing and interesting garden.
Within its eight acres of formal gardens, which can take you several hours to meander around, there are many different areas, each with its own distinctive character, on the NE side of the house, beyond the Chapel is The Grove, a well established arboretum and a Woodland Walk of about 6 or 7 acre. The Grove has a pathway approx 1/3rd of a mile long and it will take you approx 30 minutes to walk around depending on your pace and interest in the planting, while the Woodland Walk is approx 1/5th of a mile long and will take you approx 15 minutes to walk, once again depending on your pace.
At Arley you will see a huge range of different plants of all kinds, making it a treasure trove both for the keen plantsman and for the less specialised visitor. Both The Grove and Woodland walk are not suitable for wheelchair access during wet periods, however The Gardens has good wheelchair access, no matter what the weather, please be aware though that the pathways throughout the Gardens are all either grass and gravel .
These magnificent gardens are maintained by a fantastic team of gardeners led by Head Gardener Gordon Baillie. We are extremely lucky to have a number of excellent volunteer gardeners; however the award winning team consists of: Dave Groom, Doug Rustage, James Youd and Mark Ormerod-Jordan.
We were particularly proud that Arley was selected as one of the Gardens of Distinction for Cheshire’s Year of the Gardens scheme in 2008. This was an exciting new initative intended to celebrate the heritage of gardens and the green environment in the county of Cheshire. TV and celebrity gardener Chris Beardshaw said “Lord Ashbrook and his family have been committed to this garden for generations and it has made Arley truly unique.”
Chris Beardshaw has recently said “Arley is one of the best examples of a garden that’s been designed and maintained by the same family anywhere in Britain and the jewel in their crown are the herbaceous borders which are not only the earliest but also one of the finest examples of this horticultural art you are likely to see anywhere in the world” a fitting tribute from such an experienced horticulturalist to the Arley Gardens.
To view what Chris had to say about the Gardens in June this year click below:
Dogs are welcome on a lead at Arley except in the Hall (unless a guide dog) and in some marquees during special events.
A recent visitor to Arley said “The whole day at Arley was absolutely brilliant. I thought the food festival was excellent and well organised, however, we particularly enjoyed the Hall and Gardens too.
The Gardens are absolutely breath taking. I took the time to explore them with my husband, mother in law and 2 children and we all enjoyed them. We particularly enjoyed the kitchen garden as my husband has started to try and grow some vegetables of his own and really appreciated the time taken and thought in this garden. Personally, I enjoyed the herbaceous border, the colour, the variety, the topiary. I thought gardens like this only existed in my imagination from a childhood story book, Alice in Wonderland. How I would love to attend a tea party on the lawn! Truly beautiful, you must be so proud. It motivated me to go home and tend to my garden the very next day.
I wanted to email you to thank you for giving us the opportunity to explore Arley Hall and its gardens. It has given us a lasting memory.
Warm regards Gillian Sands”
For those visitors spellbound by the Gardens, Arley Hall Nursery gives you the opportunity to take some of the magic of Arley home with you. Viscount Ashbrook’s sister, Jane Foster, owns and manages the Nursery which works very closely with the Gardens, propagating many of its plants from those growing in the Gardens. The Nursery’s particular speciality is in herbaceous perennials and pelargoniums and a very wide selection of both is available here, almost all grown entirely on site.
The aim is to be able to supply any plant which a visitor has seen and particularly admired in the garden. Due to limited space it is not possible to grow large numbers of shrubs, so the Nursery concentrates on those which are more unusual and difficult to obtain or those that are particularly striking in the gardens. A border at the back of the enclosed Nursery, which is situated next to the main Car Park, displays many of the plants on sale.
The plants are displayed on raised beds with very clear bed labels which are convenient and easy to read. Jane Foster writes all the labels herself which she aims to make as helpful and informative as possible for the customers. There is a small staff, all knowledgeable and keen gardeners, who are able to answer visitors’ queries.