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“Stunning formal gardens and interesting modern art exhibition at the time of our visit”

Hestercombe Gardens
Ranked #3 of 41 things to do in Taunton
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Hestercombe is a unique combination of three centuries of garden design: Coplestone Warre Bampfylde's Georgian landscape garden, the Victorian terrace and shrubbery and the stunning Edwardian garden design by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. All have undergone acclaimed restoration work and today provide important examples of gardens in contrasting styles that continue to grow and develop. The award-winning visitor facilities include the warm and welcoming Stables Restaurant & Coffee Shop with a bright, airy, stylish Courtyard.Copyright © Hestercombe Gardens
Bridgwater, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
55 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Stunning formal gardens and interesting modern art exhibition at the time of our visit”
Reviewed 4 July 2014

I took my mum to Hestercombe yesterday for our first visit we had both hoped to go for sometime however having been advised against paying for full price entry because of the size of the gardens had held back however having obtained free tickets we decided to go. Anyhow the weather was perfect and the formal gardens looked stunning (even with the odd flower starting to go over) the views towards Taunton and the Blackdown hills also lovely. Beyond the formal gardens the valley was pretty in a landscaped natural way (no apparent garden flower or shrub planting here which I found unusual) and the waterfall seemed idyllically pretty.

We had lunch in the cafe which was good quality and the price of the sandwiches and panini's was ok but the mains were a little pricey similiar to what you would pay for lunch in a independent restaurant. I am however glad we ate in the cafe as had we of brought a picnic we would not of been able to eat in the gardens as I don't think they allow picnics for some reason inside not sure why though, im guessing litter?! But there is a picnic area near the entrance if needed.

Also they have just aquired the house and were hosting their first exhibitions funded by the Arts Council. The work on display was modern with some pieces by well known artists including Tracy Emin. Personally I found this of interest despite most being relatively small in size as felt it was nice to see contemporary work of this nature in the area and I hope the gallery in time becomes a success.

To sum up I would visit again but not sure if I would want to pay the full entrance price. But with discounts available for online ticket purchase and with a Gardeners world discount card this can be overcome fairly easily.

Please note I am a adult visitor with my mum not a teenager, but there was no suitable category for this type of visit.

Visited July 2014
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Thank choosy24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Date | Rating
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English first
Combe Martin, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Too expensive”
Reviewed 22 June 2014

The gardens are stunning , and the views from the gardens are beautiful but the high entrance price and the expensive cafe slightly soured our visit . We are pensioners but we still had to pay nearly £10 each to get in and there was no late entry price ( we arrived at 3.30 and it closes at 6 ! ) had we not driven such a long way we would not have gone in. In spite of the high entry price you only receive a leaflet with basic information with a site map, very little information about the history of the house itself or the gardens. You have to buy the guide book if you want to know more .

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Megfabian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Essex,England
Level Contributor
70 reviews
26 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Nursing Heretic Thoughts!”
Reviewed 17 June 2014

We have visited Hestercombe at most times of the season. It rarely looks any different. OK, it's a garden museum showing how wonderful the partnership was . The true magnificence of this place is the hard landscaping in the formal garden which provides a superb theatre for exciting planting . So it is right that the Jekyll/ Lutyens partnership should be celebrated.
It is often said that a garden is never completed, that they evolve and develop over time. Who is to say that Gertrude's planting ideas were the best and that the choice of plants could not be bettered? I am beginning to wonder why Gertrude's planting is held in such high regard.
When we visited this week and looked down on the Great Plat we saw the big peonies in full bloom we looked forward to getting up close to savour their scent. It was a fine warm afternoon and the Great Plat was sheltered and trapped the warmth. But the peonies had no perfume whatsoever! What a disappointment! Surely there were perfumed peonies around when she was making her plans ? Some of the roses on the pergola also had no scent - what a waste! And those dreary
Bergenias as an edging! All leaf and hardly any colour. Perhaps they are to blame for sheltering the pests that are damaging the cannas and delphiniums in the centre of the beds? Most colour was provided by mimulus in the rill but was this planted originally or is it an interloper?
Perhaps it is time to review the planting to provide round the year interest that modern day visitors will appreciate ( and satisfy their legitimate expectation for value for money) and to use some more rewarding plants? There. I've said it.
The Landscape garden is as appealing as ever and provides a pleasant walk with interesting design features.
The average rating comes from the overall experience of us as visitors - entrance fees as expensive as Wisley , catering prices on the hefty side, and often a disappointing lack of interest in the garden and some maintenance issues with bindweed and overgrown shrubs.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Londoner3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Zomergem, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Level Contributor
106 reviews
41 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“A must for garden lovers”
Reviewed 16 June 2014

We were lucky to have a warm sunny day so walking through the gardens both formal and natural was a magical experience, beautiful views of Somerset countryside from the top, and the gardens ... just are wow!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank Marc G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
devon
Level Contributor
66 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“Absolutely stunning, best of its kind”
Reviewed 12 June 2014

This is the best formal garden I have ever visited designed by Lutyens. There is so much here, so much to see, it's hard to be disappointed. And as a bonus the house has just been opened up to the public too. There's not much there yet, except a contemporary art exhibitiowhich is not yo my taste, but the house retains many original and restored features. An absolute must! Plant prices are reasonable too

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank lillibetdevon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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