We visited Greys Court for the first time in May last year, and I was absolutely wowed by the wisteria. So much so that I made a diary note to visit to see it again this year! So last week Max and I headed over towards Henley, and I told him all about the wonderful purple flower we were hunting for.
I really love the gardens at Greys Court – they’re not huge, but they’re a series of walled rooms, and that moment when you open the door to the next room definitely has something of The Secret Garden about it.
One part of the gardens we’ve not discovered before was this little sundial ‘maze’. With no actual maze planted, Max loved pretending the little paths were train tracks, and we spent ages here with Max just running around shouting “choo choo!”
One of Max’s favourite things lately is dandelion clocks (or “Daddy Lion Cock”, as he prefers to call them). At first I got presented with them proudly as a gift – I still get presented, but the main fun for Max now appears to be waving it aggressively until all the bits have disappeared in the wind.
But the main attraction of the garden in May has to be the wisteria. At 125 years old, I think you’d be pushed to find a better example of it. There is a wisteria tunnel, which leads into a wisteria ‘room’ – a cool, shady hexagonal walled room, with the most stunning roof of wisteria. The smell is amazing and the sound of bees buzzing fills the air. Unfortunately, despite all the talk of our hunt for the purple flowers, Max was more excited to find the castle he’d spotted on the way in, and we weren’t able to linger for too long.
The other new area we discover on this trip was the children’s play area – it’s a bit tucked away, close to the cafe, and is set in woodland. It looks pretty new, and has some great wooden play equipment for children a bit older than Max, but also had lots of big sticks all set up for den building – Max’s favourite! We spent a little while there with me mainly watching him (at 36 weeks pregnant I’m taking every opportunity I can to sit and have a bit of a rest!)
Greys Court, Rotherfield Greys, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 4PG
Opening times: Check website as these vary
Prices: Adult, £11.25, Child, £5.85