The Pleasure Grounds
The Pleasure Grounds at Tatton Park are the areas of the garden designed for recreation and enjoyment. The development of these lovely spaces spans over 200 years; each project dedicated to a specific member of the Egerton family at the time, and created purely for their pleasure.
One of the earliest features of Tatton Park's Garden is the Maze, which features on a very early plan dating from 1700 and is based on the same format as the maze at Hampton Court. Although it is deciduous, it was originally planted with Hornbeam. Over the years, more Beech has been added. This is one of only two hedged mazes found in gardens owned by the National Trust.
The first formal garden at Tatton was the area known as Charlotte's Garden. It was designed by Lewis Wyatt in 1814 and named after Lady Charlotte Egerton, wife of William Egerton. The design complements the Library furnishings in Tatton's Mansion at the time, also designed by Wyatt.
Charlotte's Garden is an interesting example of the 'Gardenesque' trend in the 1800s. The design consisted of an intricate flower garden containing many small beds which accommodated single plants of botanical interest at the time. This area has been partially restored.
Tatton Park's Yew Topiary is located between Charlotte's Garden and The Tower Garden. This sculptural feature was originally introduced into gardens by the Romans and revived in the 1800s, and Tatton Park's Topiary was certainly much bigger in Victorian times than at present. It still retains, however, the style of a typical Victorian garden - the central feature being a peacock.
The Italian Garden
The Italian Garden at the front of Tatton Park's Mansion was designed by Joseph Paxton in 1890 and reflected the opulence of the period, and the fashion for young gentlemen of the affluent families to take the 'Grand Tour’ of Europe. The Egertons travelled extensively and this influenced their tastes and style seen in both the Mansion and Garden.
The Italian Garden is the most formal area at Tatton Park Gardens, and has received considerable restoration in 1986 and 2010.
Key features include:
- terracotta steps and balustrade
- a centrepiece statue of Neptune, thought to have been imported from Venice
- box hedges which echo the shape of the gravel insets
- seasonal bedding-out of the parterre for Winter/Spring and Summer/Autumn
- magnificent views of the Parkland from the top terrace
The Rose Garden was laid out in 1913 for Lady Egerton, wife of Alan de Tatton and is both feminine and intimate. Being her favourite corner of the Gardens, apparently gardeners had to complete their work here by 10am to allow Lady Egerton to sit undisturbed in this secluded space. Charming features include the plunge pool, tea house and, pergola. And of course, a variety of roses, still planted today in a traditional Edwardian style. The Rose Garden has been extensively restored this year together with the planting of 600 new roses, including varieties such as Rosa Scepter'd Isle ('Ausland').
The Tower Garden
In contrast to the Rose Garden, the Tower Garden has a more masculine feel and is dominated by a tower which would once have been used to watch for sheep stealing on Tatton's parkland. This curious but tranquil area links the Topiary and Rose Garden, before you step out onto Broad Walk.
In springtime, Rhododendron and Azalea set The Tower Garden, and other areas of the Pleasure Grounds, ablaze with amazing colours.
On the west side of the Garden, and not to be missed, is the Arboretum containing many rare tree varieties including those brought back from China, North America and Japan. The Egerton family started this tree collection around 1795 with between five and ten species. Today, this wonderful feature contains almost 300 species.
The Arboretum provides interest and a beautiful backdrop to a stroll in every season:
- look out for bluebells in Spring
- enjoy the scent of pine in Summer
- Acers and Parrotias provide colour in Autumn
- admire the natural architecture of tree skeletons in Winter
The Choragic Monument
Follow Broad Walk to the perimeter of the Garden and you'll find The Choragic Monument. It is a copy of the Temple of Lysicrates in Athens (literally meaning “chorus” as the original Greek monument was built to honour the Greek chorus.) Tatton Park's Choragic Monument was commissioned by Wilbraham Egerton c1840. It has six fluted columns and being set on a high plinth, affords some of the best views across the Parkland.
The African Hut
The African Hut was built during the second world war, when Maurice Egerton was unable to travel to his beloved estate in Njoro, Kenya. He would sit here and remember his days in Africa. Found about half way along Broad Walk, it's a perfect spot for you to shelter, sit and enjoy the surroundings of Tatton Park's Gardens.