Phew, well I am back in Dallas after the most amazing trip in the UK. It was simply perfect and could not have been anymore fun! I still have loads and loads of photos and tidbits to share and today wanted to share my visit to a proper country estate with you.
On Thursday afternoon Melissa and I hopped in the car (she drove and do not let her tell you she is a bad driver in the UK....she is amazing!) and headed to Englefiled Estate in Berkshire.
"If you help towards Englefield gardens either with flowers or invention, you shalt be welcome thither."
Sir Edward Norris, 1601
From April through October the gardens at Englefield are open to the public. You drop your entry fee into a lock box and walk yourself through these stunning and lush gardens.
It has been a very wet summer in England which made everything very green...and a bit muddy too. For that reason we opted to walk the main parts of the garden and then explore the rest of the estate rather than venture back into the upper garden.
Englefield dates back to 1500's. Well, the Battle of Englefield is actually said to have taken place in the 800's, but the home and gardens date back to the 1500's. As anyone that has visited an old home, church or monument knows, it is simply fascinating to be surrounded by such history. However, even more fascinating is that this home and its' gardens have stood the test of time and have been cared for through the centuries.
Several additions were made to the gardens in the late 1800's. The staircases were said to be added. Then, the fountain was added in the 1990's. However, everything was done with such care and historical research that you would never know how new these things are!
The English certainly know how to garden! While I have been to many beautiful homes around the world the gardens in England are far superior to anything I have seen elsewhere. A garden like Englefield is actually very common in England whereas something similar in the US would be considered one-of-kind.
Again, look how full and lush the garden is. It was like this everywhere we looked!
Another things the Brits do well is my beloved boxwood. Look at those well pruned and trimmed balls!
After our jaunt through the garden we admired the beautiful home. Simply stunning!
Englefield has been in the same family for over 400 years and the Queen herself has even been entertained here!
Another fun fact about Englefiled, and I admit one that drew me to the home, is that a number of movies have been filmed on the estate. It is such a perfect setting, the interior of the home is said to be brilliant and you are just an hour from London that it proves very attractive to directors.
The most notable being The King's Speech, but X-Men: First Class, Match Point and several British TV shows also found homes for scenes at Englefield.
Englefield is still a working estate that covers almost 20,000 acres! Englefield has a village with a school, tea room, garden center and rental homes as well as a church:
St. Mark's Church is just down from the house and a midway point to the village of Englefield.
I believe the church to be dated back to the 1200's (possibly the late 1100's...I am blanking) and is a wonderful representation of architecture of that period.
English arches ushered us into the church and there was no shortage of these indoors either.
Melissa and I both were in awe of St. Mark's beauty and agreed that you could have your own Royal Wedding here as there was even a spot for a boy's choir.
Again, this place was so rich with history as well as architectural details...look at this carving:
After our stop inside St. Mark's we popped into the Englefield Garden Center and then headed back to Melissa's, well after a quick stop at the post darling pub in Aldermaston. They had the BEST chips ever!
We simply had the most splendid visit to Englefield and were thrilled we got to explore a proper country estate after finding out Highclere was closed. I hope you enjoyed the masses of photos as much as I enjoyed taking them while exploring!