It’s Little Wonder
That the Duke of Bedford, who two centuries ago owned a third of Devon, chose this spot for his hunting and fishing lodge. Overlooking the River Tamar and beyond into Cornwall, Endsleigh, now owned by Olga Polizzi, is set in 108 acres of gardens, woodlands, follies and grottos created by Humphry Repton.
Designed 200 years ago this was one of Humphry Repton’s last commissions and brings together a multitude of landscaping elements for which Repton was renowned.
Immediately around the house there are formal gardens running down to the River Tamar. There is a picturesque dell with little bridges crossing streams, huge Gunnera leaves and wonderful picnic spots. Beyond the formal gardens is the arboretum which contains unusual trees from around the world, still standing in the spots marked out with bamboo canes by the Duchess. Some of the trees are national champions.
This summer has reminded me of the long, hot, languid and quite possibly imagined summers of my childhood. The holidays lasted forever and there was nothing to do but concentrate on the finer things in life, like lying in the long grass next to the river, listening to the buzzing of insects, hurling ears of corn at my friends, damming streams to make swimming pools, climbing trees and building dens in the woods. Whilst I haven’t done much den building this year and there has been so much watering to do I haven’t had a chance to lie by the river, I have relived my childhood by building a few dams to redirect water to where it is most needed.
If ever a hotel were built in paradise it would be like Endsleigh – a fairytale cottage set in an Arcadian landscape with delicious food and blissful rooms. I love it and envy that sublime landscape – the perfect opportunity to step back in time to a graceful age.
Tour of the gardens
with Head gardener Ben Ruscombe-King
The Chelsea Flower Show
The gardens are open everyday
Admittance to the garden is £5 or free to guests joining us for lunch, afternoon tea or one of our eclectic selection of events. There is something happening almost everyday.
Sunday 12 May
Sunday 7 July