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 year as the garden slumbered through the winter, the garden team decamped to the further reaches of the estate, opening up paths and rides in the as yet unexplored areas. We became heroic adventurers scrambling our way through the Himalayan foothills, fighting our way through impenetrable jungle, discovering rare exotic plants, eventually emerging to breathtaking views across a Caledonian valley. What became apparent was that the garden was once a miniature tour of the new worlds opening up to the owners. Whilst our work is by no means complete, there are now many more walks for the more adventurous visitors and much to explore.
Spring is well and truly underway here at Endsleigh and is fast approaching its brilliant best. Stay for two nights (Sunday-Thursday) from £700 including Champagne on arrival, a candle lit dinner each evening, Afternoon tea in the library one day and tickets to The Garden House.
This year we learned that we used to have a three story glass-house, heightened for the growth of a specimen of Araucaria Excelsa.
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.