Before visiting Sezincote you need to be aware that cards (debit and credit) are NOT accepted as means of payment for entry. Unhelpfully, the web site does not make this clear. Given the cost of entry (£10 each for house + garden, no concessions) and the high number of people visiting this is not good. Few people carry cheque books now, and if there are two of you wanting to enter and buy a guide book (no map of the grounds is handed out on entry) and a cup of tea then you will need to part with more than £30 in cash for your visit. This was a poor start to the day. At the very least, the web site should say "no cards accepted".
The next thing to be aware of is that the grounds are quite steep, and an older person or someone who struggles with hills is going to find the site quite hard going. The paths are largely gravel, so pushing a wheel chair is also going to be tiring. Disabled people can be dropped at the main gate to avoid the walk down the steepish hill from the car park, and in exceptional circumstances it is possible to drive from the main gate up to the house to drop someone off.
If you can get past the above obstacles, the visit is likely to be an enjoyable one. Access to the site is either from the A424 or the A44. If on the A44 and coming from Moreton-in-Marsh, be aware that the entrance gate is directly opposite the entrance to Batsford Arboretum, but hidden until you are right on it. (Again, the rather poor web site could explain this - and a street sign would also help.) The grounds are beautifully laid out, with a great variety of trees and interesting vistas - the plus side of the grounds being set in undulating terrain. Even without the house, the grounds are worth visiting. The house itself is small enough to have retained the personal lived-in feeling so often missing from the larger 'museum' houses. Entry to the house is by guided tour only, with guided tours running every half-hour and lasting about 40 minutes. You will be assigned a time for your tour when entering the main gate. If you are lucky, you will have the same guide that we had (maybe they are all that good?), who was extremely knowledgeable and had the most interesting way of delivering her talk to the 25-odd people on the tour. Definitely one of the best guides we have found anywhere.
Afternoon tea in the Orangerie was reasonably priced, though with not much variety or taste in the way of beverages and not particularly generous helpings of nevertheless inviting homemade cake. Finding a clean, cleared-away table was a problem.
We came away feeling very glad that we had made the visit, and being local we will certainly come to the gardens again. At £5 for the gardens only, this was worth paying. It all just needs a bit more sensitivity to the way visitors are going to react to some of the negative points.
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