An 18th-century beauty of a town house located in Cathedral Close, Salisbury. Grade I listed and in the care of the National Trust since the 1970’s, Mompesson House is also keeper of one of Salisbury’s hidden gems.
At the rear of the house, accessed through the beautiful entrance hall, there is a walled garden and tea rooms. Salisburys very own secret garden.
Mompesson House Gardens
Having passed through the house, you emerge into the walled garden. Surrounded by handsome red brick, pretty corners and blooming borders, you could easily forget that you’re only a stones throw from Salisbury city centre.
The planting is inspired by tradition, so lots of roses and alliums. Poppies, in all the shades from traditional red to vibrant yellow. Greenery too, ferns and potted plants. Oh, and that beautiful ivy dressing the walls and creeping round the windows.
A moment of appreciation for the windows. The frames, actually. White and wooden, surrounded by red brick. Historic windows offering a glimpse into a time capsule of a house or out over beautiful gardens. Just lovely.
My favourite part of the garden, the Pergola. A pretty walkway with benches, perfect for pausing to take in the view of the gardens and the back the house. The front was built to impress but the rear view isn’t too shabby either.
The pergola has plenty of green at ground level and climbing plants working their way up the supporting columns. The star of the show, the wisteria. Notoriously slow to flourish, it is gradually growing up and over the pergola. Good things take time.
In the middle of it all, the semi formal lawn. While it’s obviously lovingly tended, there is no sternly worded ‘Keep Off The Grass’ signage here. Quite the opposite. There are traditional lawn games- croquet and quoits- and you’re invited to play.
I discovered that both games are harder than they look, seeming to require a mix of skill and luck. Great fun though.
A Garden Repurposed
Mompesson House Gardens have been designed by the National Trust to honour the history of the house. Blending design and tradition has involved repurposing some original features. An entrance cartouche here, a charming garden grotto there…
Well, we thought the grotto very sweet. At first glance, it looks like old interior panelling repurposed to create a quiet corner. Then I spotted the sign. The charming grotto was once the privy and it emptied into a ditch. That’s a bit less lovely, isn’t it?
Mompesson House Garden Tea Rooms
If all of the garden wandering, red brick admiring and lawn games leave you in need of a little something, head to the tea rooms. Originally the brew house, the building was converted into a summer house in the 1950s. Under the care of the National Trust, historic architectural features were preserved and a tea rooms created.
It’s exactly what a National Trust tea rooms should be. Housed in a historic building, with pretty paintings and vintage style crockery. A dresser loaded with cakes, scones and miniature jars of jam. Bunting, pretty table covers and views across the garden. Couldn’t ask for more, really?
There is one more lovely thing though; a visit to the gardens is a budget friendly treat. Let them know on the door you’d like a garden only ticket and the entrance fee is just one pound.
Find all the details for visiting Mompesson House and Gardens here.
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