The Gardens

Amongst the finest in Europe the Gardens have been created over the last 270 years by successive generations of the same family. With two distinct areas which include 8 acres of formal gardens, and 7 acres of Woodland Garden and children's play area there is always something for everyone to enjoy.

The Pleached Lime Avenue

The entrance to Arley is down an avenue of pleached lime trees leading to the clock tower. Planted in the mid 1800's the lime trees receive an annual clipping which can take up to 2 weeks to complete. However once done, maintenance is quite low impact for such an impressive entranceway.

Flag Garden

The Flag Garden was named because of the stone flags which form its paths. It was made in 1900 by Antoinette Egerton-Warburton as an enclosed sanctum for her own use. The central beds are planted up with floribunda roses and dwarf lavender.

The Furlong Walk

The Furlong Walk is a terrace which forms the main axis of the garden and separates it from the park. It is so called because at 220 yards it is exactly a furlong in length. The Furlong Walk offers one of the most impressive views back towards Arley Hall.

Double Herbaceous Border

The Herbaceous Border is the best-known feature of the gardens and is thought to be the first planted in England. It is shown on the 1846 Arley estate plan. When it was first planted the twin flower beds stretched in an unbroken line between the yew-hedge finials at either end. However, after some 30 years the beds were each divided into 4 sections separated by yew buttresses.

The Walled Garden

Until 1939 it was one of the kitchen garden enclosures, typical of those attached to large country houses. In 1960 it was changed; the pond was brought back and 4 Dawyck Beech were planted around it. The heraldic stone pedestals arrived in 1968 and came from the roof of the house when the front porchway was removed. The fountain in the centre of the pond was placed there in 2006, a gift from the Friends of Arley in memory of Elizabeth, Lady Ashbrook (1911-2002)

The Kitchen Garden

The current Kitchen Garden was redesigned by the present Lady Ashbrook in 1993. The centre area leading to the delicate wirework Arbour is of decorative nature and is surrounded by vegetable beds which include brassicas, alliums, potatoes, and legumes. The garden also includes a potager and fruit cage and supplies the Kitchen Garden Cafe with fresh produce.

The Vinery

The Vinery was built in 1872-1873 and the fig trees within were probably planted shortly afterwards. The end section is always used to produce tomatoes which are used in The Gardeners Kitchen Cafe. The remaining 3 sections are decorative. Highlights to look out for are Passion Flowers throughout the summer, Ornamental Ginger Lily in August and the tender Rhododendrons in early spring.

The Herb & Scented garden

For nearly a hundred years the Herb Garden had been a children's garden containing four large beds, each cultivated with enthusiasm by succeeding members of the family. Behind the high yew hedge lies the Scented Garden, created in 1977. This piece of ground had always previously been uncultivated but now it is planted with aromatic flowers and shrubs which provide scents throughout the year.

The Tea Cottage

This was originally used for garden tea parties. It now contains plaques removed from the octagonal tower of the original Arley Hall. Today it is surrounded by shrub roses. It is a beautiful quaint cottage which has been known to become the temporary home of the Easter Bunny during spring treasure hunts.

The Rose Garden

The Tea Cottage is surrounded by a collection of shrub roses originally planted in 1961 when a former topiary garden was removed.

The Fish Garden

The Fish Garden was once a sunken bowling green. After the first world war the area was converted into a grass tennis court and the remainder became the Fish Garden, the name dating from the time when the pond contained goldfish. Sadly, in recent years it has been impossible to prevent visiting herons from devouring the fish and latterly they have not been replaced.

The Ilex Avenue

At the end of the Herbaceous Border stand 14 holm oaks (Quercus Ilex). The unusual shapes and sizes of these clipped trees are partly due to chance. They were originally pyramidal but during the First World War they were left unclipped for several years and then reshaped as giant cylinders. These impressive trees are clipped annually in July by 2 gardeners and can take approx. 10 days to finish.

The Rootery

The Rootery is a rock garden which is in complete contrast to the rest of the garden. Here winding paths, roughly hewn steps, a fern-fringed pool and a domed cave combine in a romantic concept of an alpine dell. It is so named because of the use of tree stumps and their roots in the design of the garden. It is a garden many of our visitors miss or stumble upon by accident but very quickly becomes a favourite. It is especially spectacular in spring with the magnificent display of Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

The Rough

The Rough Garden is kept as a semi-wild site for trees, shrubs and naturilised bulbs. At the far end is a group of attractive trees which includes Erythronium Californicum "White Beauty" which flourishes beside the path back to the Herbaceous Border. The Rough Garden can be accessed by the Rootery, at the back of the Fish Garden or down a little path at the end of the Herbaceous Border near the Alcove.

The Grove & Woodland Walk

The Grove, a well established arboretum and a Woodland Walk of about 7 acres.
This is an informal part of the garden in a woodland setting and has been a passion for Lord Ashbrook for 50 years. It contains spring bulbs, a very large collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and a wide range of other flowering shrubs and exotic trees, including varieties of oak, birch, magnolia, prunus, sorbus, malus, kalmia and hydrangea. Particularly colourful in spring.


If it is outdoor fun and games you are searching for then head for our PlayZone. The Playzone is suitable for children up to the age of 10. Children will enjoy zooming along the zip wire and building castles in the sandpit. They can also enjoy flying on the swings and down the slides! For those who want to let their imaginations run wild there is a willow dome that can become the perfect den in the woods.

The Cruck Barn

The Cruck Barn is thought to have been built at the same time as the 1469 house. Each pair of crucks was formed from a single oak trunk split down the middle. Each cruck was jointed and assembled on the ground and then raised into position and tied in with horizontal members.