The beautiful Lytes Cary Manor house and gardens in Somerset is owned by the National Trust and has parts dating back to the 14th century. It’s open to visit from Spring through to the end of Autumn and is an enchanting place to while away a few hours… Exploring the garden’s hidden corners, the history of the house, indulging at the tea room, or in my case seeing if I could buy plants from the shop and sneak them into our car without the Mr. noticing! (No, I didn’t manage. Apparently we have enough plants…)
The house was gradually added to and extended over the years with the chapel, completed in 1343, being the oldest part. The gardens are laid out in an Arts and Crafts style with a series of “rooms” separated by hedges and pretty little doorways. Idyllic weekend vibes (if you like pretty gardens, abundant flowers, tea and cakes, old architecture, and channeling your inner retiree) and it’s just over a couple of hours from London!
One moment you’re in a garden bursting with summer flowers, then after walking through a hidden doorway…
…you end up in a manicured quarter with barely a leaf out of place.
As decorative as the doorways are, they also serve the purpose of keeping the little bunnies out so they don’t eat all the vegetables! It’s like a real life Mr. McGregor’s garden with Peter Rabbit and his fluffy friends trying to break in. I’m #TeamRabbit FYI.
Turning another corner, the view changes dramatically again as you enter a different “room” of the garden.
This is The Apostle Garden, complete with yew tree topiary nipples and medieval facade.
The name Lytes Cary Manor comes from the Lytes family who lived here for over four centuries, and the River Cary that flows nearby. In 1907 Sir Walter Jenner, the son of Queen Victoria’s doctor, bought the house to renovate before leaving it to the National Trust upon his death in 1948.
After bouncing through topiary baubles and finding more doorways that plants had crept their way over, we somehow found ourselves back where we started. But if you fancy ambling a bit further, there’s also an estate walk which takes you along the River Cary.