When searching for pretty gardens to go and visit, Sezincote had come up many times but due to it’s slightly awkward opening hours (it’s only open Thursdays and bank holiday Mondays, and once a year for the National Open Gardens scheme) I had never managed to make it there. I’d driven past the sign a few times whilst heading to other places like Batsford Arboretum and had been intrigued by the long driveway. And I’d seen pictures online and vaguely knew that it was a ‘palace’ but still I was not in the slightest bit prepared for the spectacle we found.
It was a Sunday in July and it was the most beautiful day, one of those magic days. Clear blue skies, fluffy white clouds and just this feeling of serenity and peace in the air. I always love the drive into the Cotswolds, something about it feels like you’re going on holiday, even if just for the day. We arrived at Sezincote in the early afternoon and followed the signs down a very long, meandering driveway to the field for car-parking. From the moment we pulled up I was excited. It felt that we had driven into some secret, hidden land.
We made our way to the entrance where some very friendly and cheery people were ready to welcome us. Although there were a good number of people there it didn’t feel too crowded.
As we walked down the main path suddenly up ahead in front of us the house came into view and boy was it a sight to behold. Now, I’m not usually one for big, ol’ houses, I usually just go to places like this to ogle over the grounds and gardens but boy did this make me stop a beat to take in the scene before me. Sezincote you see, is an Indian Palace. I mean I knew this, it’s part of the reason I wanted to visit, but until you see it I don’t think you quite grasp this. I really felt like I was in some kind of other world. How was there an Indian Palace in the middle of the Cotswolds?
The house itself is huge but not in the slightest bit intimidating looking. It’s sandy gold colour and turquoise turrets create the most wonderful sense of grander. It’s the perfect coupling of traditional cotswold stone and the flamboyant extravagance of Indian architecture. Then as you come up to the front of the house you are greeted by a most magnificent scene. Pinnacles of hedging expertly trimmed to create these conical lances. They stand like soldiers on immaculately manicured lawns (complete with stripes) and are bordered by a huge arching glass house. And then there are the elephants. Yes, you read that correctly, elephants. Ok, so not actual real live elephants but beautiful statues.
After picking our taking in the house from every angle and of course, saying hello to the elephants, we headed off on a little amble around the grounds. We made our way up to the part of the grounds directly in front of the house, up a small hill where we found a mass of wildflower meadows and stunning views. We sat for a little while under a silver birch, watching all of the tourists ooo and ahhh over the prettiness of the scenes around them.
Then we made our way down to the lower levels. Within the confines of Sezincote there are quite a few water features to behold. There is a stream and various ponds, pools and wells. All of these create so much character and feature to go and explore. The grounds are by no means small but they give so much to look at that it’s easy to while away a few hours. Dotted around as with so many of these big estates, were little buildings and statues.
After having a good explore we made our way back to the house and decided it was time for a cream tea. How could we not? On our way back to the house we happened upon some grand old cedar trees from which someone had very brilliantly hung some swings. And well, it would have been rude not to wouldn’t it? 😉
We made our way down through the extensive glass house which was filled with citrus fruit trees and money plants galore to the spot where cakes were to be found. We ordered our refreshments and then headed back outside to find a spot on the now very busy lawns to sit down and enjoy them. It was such a lovely moment. We were full of awe and enthusiasm talking about everything we had just seen but more than that, it was how the whole place felt. Magical. Almost like a fairytale, something secret, something that shouldn’t even be there but it was. We ate our sugary treats and watched the folks around us enjoying themselves as much as us and boy we did not want to leave.
I really can’t convey in a single blog post just how spectacular Sezincote is. Go to see it! Go and discover it all for yourself.