I had wanted to visit Highgrove for some time. The Prince of Wales' private country home in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, is open for garden tours during certain times a year.
Tickets can be booked online. Unless you have a car, getting to Highgrove is not easy. I took a train from Paddington to Kemble (the station in Tetbury was closed in the 1960s), which is the closest station. I had some time to kill so I went for a walk to find the source of the Thames. It turned out to be further than I thought so I turned around and got a cab to Highgrove, about 15 minutes away.
|a little humor en route to Kemble|
|I did have my Ipad with me but had to turn it off when I got to Highgrove|
|Kemble train station|
|Looking for the source of the Thames - but the Monument that honors the source was a bit too far for me.|
|Walked through someone's farm - public access|
|Ba Ba Black Sheep....|
My name was checked off on the list at the gate. I was hungry so I went straight to the Orchard Restaurant, where I ordered the Grilled cheddar cheese and Highgrove Spice Fruit Chutney on tossed white bloomer served with dressed salad leaves and garden vegetables and a pot of Earl Grey tea .. and a glass of water.
While I waited for my order, I popped into the shop and bought a guidebook, a few postcards, Christman ornament, a jar of jam and jar of honey.
I was on the last tour of the day, which means we were not rushed. Plenty to see. When we were close to the house, we were told it was okay to "peek not peer."
The tour took two hours. The gardens at Highgrove are diverse and stunning: Orchard Room and Orchard, Shand Gate (in honor of the Duchess of Cornwall's late brother, Mark), Cottage Garden, Mediterranean Garden and Rose Pergola, Oak Pavilion, Thyme Walk, Terrace garden, Sundial garden, Highgrove Facade, Wildflower Meadow, Azalea Walk, Kitchen Garden, Arboretum and Sanctuary, Winterbourne Garden, Stumpery, Lily Pool Garden, Laurel Tunnel and Buttress Garden, Carpet Garden and the Chicken House.
Huge emphasis on organic sustainability.
Cameras are not allowed. I had to leave my camera back the hotel. This is for security reasons.
As we approached the end of the tour, I noticed a man with a camera. Hmm. Turns out, he is the official photographer and, yes, I did have my photo taken in front of the house .. and yes, I ordered two prints, which will be sent to me.
The restaurant remained open after the final tour. I ordered a scone to go (packed very nicely) as one of the staff members called a cab for me. The total roundtrip cost for a taxi was just over £50.00. We made it to the Kemble station with seconds to spare as the train to London was entering the station. I ate my scone on the way back to London. Yummy.
Profits from the restaurant, the shop and the tours go to the Prince of Wales' Charitable Foundations.
It was a very expensive day, but I am so glad I visited Highgrove.