Adventures, days out, England, gardens, surrey, travel, Windsor

Savill Garden – Windsor Great Park

I first discovered Savill Gardens about 3 years ago when William was a baby and I was looking for nice places to take him for a walk and picnic.  I had been going to Windsor Great Park and Virginia Water since I was at University in the 90’s, but having always loved my routine walk I ventured no further.

Savill Gardens is a little hidden gem within Windsor Great Park that is a must visit.  Whether you have just a spare couple of hours for a wander, or a whole day to lose yourself in, the gardens have something to offer everyone, whether a seasoned garden expert or someone who just loves to while away the hours. There are plenty of quiet corners to have a picnic, read a book, or just close your eyes, take a deep breath and have some me time.

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Savill Gardens is accessed from Wick Lane, Englefield Green (TW20 0UU) and is only a couple of miles from Egham and a few miles from Windsor town centre.  There is a large car park with plenty of parking, as well as accessible parking bays.  From here you can visit both Savill Gardens and Windsor Great Park. It is right beside the visitor centre and with the gardens open all year, it makes a great place to visit throughout the seasons.  Every season has something unique and special to share, and no matter what the weather it is a lovely place to go and relax and enjoy some fresh air.

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The gardens were created in the 1930’s by Sir Eric Savill and is a combination of designed landscapes and exotic woodland settings.  There are 35 acres which comprise of several interconnecting gardens such as the Hidden Gardens, Spring Wood, Summer Wood and the Winter Beds, as well as a rose garden, glasshouse and lake.

Every season brings a fresh splash of colour and exciting displays of flowers, trees and shrubs that adorn the gardens and borders.  Plants from all over the world have been lovingly brought back by plant hunters.  Rhododendrons and azaleas planted by Sir Eric himself have grown now to form brilliant swathes of colour which are unmissable.

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The whole garden is easily accessible and even through some of the woodland paths are a little harder with a pram, now William is older he loves diving in and out of the overgrown paths and hiding from monsters.

There is something very special about the gardens for me.  One of my favourite things is the variety,  I love wandering through the woodland areas in autumn with their incredible displays of reds, yellows and oranges from the Japanese maples and acers.

Beautiful red leaves In summer the herbaceous borders are truly spectacular with a fine array of shrubs – explosions of pinks, purples, yellows and oranges and certainly, I think, one of the best herbaceous borders around.  Its a great inspiration for the flower borders at home, especially if you’re like me, and haven’t quite mastered the art of correct height planting!

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The lake is always alive throughout the year with ducks, coots and moorhens and you can buy food for them in the visitor centre.  There is a lovely wooden walk way over the lake with a little hut to perch in on a sunny and shade for a while.  Its also a popular little place for picnics!

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There is a beautiful rose garden which was designed by Andrew Wilson and opened in 2010.  They are arranged in a swirl pattern and a central, raised walkway allows you to stand above the garden and view the roses at their finest.

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The visitor centre has a new refurbished restaurant and cafe.  Their breakfasts are a favourite of mine – especially the smashed avocado and bacon.  At lunch there is a good range of sandwiches, salads and wood fired pizzas. There is also a plentiful supply of freshly made cakes.  The gift shop is well stocked with gifts, cards, food and there is a small plant areas too which has many little gems.

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In winter the gardens are open from 10-4.30pm and in summer from 10-6pm.  Entry is currently free in December and January, which is even more of a reason to go and visit.  Car park charges still apply.

Parking is a little expensive but if you purchase entry to the gardens at other times of the year, then the parking is free and you just need to show your ticket at the information desk to claim your free parking.

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Membership is also an option and if you end up visiting the great park and the gardens frequently it does work out well.  Membership includes access to the gardens for you and a guest, a discount in the shop and plant centre and free parking and you can also upgrade to include free parking in all of the Windsor Great Park, car parks.

At the moment, there is the Winter Magic event running – with local school children singing on selected days, a magical carousel for small children and big children, special Christmas lunches and teas which need to be booked in advance, face painting and a special Gingerbread trail through the gardens.

In fact throughout the year there are a number of special events to mark the holidays and the seasons.

Parking is a little expensive but if you purchase entry to the gardens then the parking is free and you just need to show your ticket at the information desk to claim your free parking.

Membership is also an option and if you end up visiting the great park and the gardens frequently it does work out well.  Membership includes access to the gardens for you and a guest, a discount in the shop and plant centre and free parking and you can also upgrade to include free parking in all of the Windsor Great Park, car parks.

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If you have a whole day to spare or plan on coming again, then from the car park I recommend taking a walk to the Obelisk Lawns and Pond, there is a mobile cafe here and a lovely children’s play area for the under 7’s and the lawns are popular for picnics in summer.

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There is a lovely 30 minutes walk around the shoreline of the Obelisk Pond or if you fancy more of a walk, you can follow the path down the hill, with the pond on your right and head towards Virginia Water.

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