Hinton Ampner, Alresford
A gorgeous Georgian Manor and country house estate near Alresford with fantastic gardens, tended by The National Trust
An elegant National Trust country manor in the South Downs, close to Alresford, Hinton Ampner is famed for its beautiful garden, with plenty of family-friendly things to do.
After a catastrophic fire in 1960, the beautiful country mansion was rebuilt by owner Ralph Dutton in the light, airy Georgian style he loved. Inside, sunny rooms are filled with ceramics and art. Outside, Dutton designed a series of tranquil garden rooms, each with their own distinctive planting and always beautifully tended.
Stroll, play, relax and picnic on the extensive lawns and beautiful park with ancient oaks. In the gardens, weekend visitors can expect year-round highlights, from the geometric topiary to the vibrant spring bulb displays.
Exotic-coloured dahlias and borders of fragrant roses lead onto terraces with panoramic views across the South Downs. Always one of Muddy’s highlights, look out too for beautiful pink water lilies growing in early summer in the sunken garden’s shimmering fish pond. And inside the pretty walled kitchen garden, full of fruit, veg and flowers, spot Hinton Ampner’s scarecrow gardener and his little dog taking a welcome tea break.
A little further afield, you’ll find magnificent beech woodland, which is carpeted with bluebells in Spring. Walks of different lengths take you across the estate and into woods, along quiet country lanes, and re-tracing the steps of soldiers involved in the famous Civil War Battle of Cheriton.
In Autumn, the parkland at the back of the house is filled with yellow and gold foliage from ancient oaks and beeches and the deep red of the Norway maple, beautiful for Insta-snapping and leaf-kicking.
Reliably good, Hinton Ampner’s former stable block cafe is one of the oldest buildings on the estate. Seasonal specials are made on site using locally-sourced ingredients – some of which are plucked directly from inside the walled garden.
Word to the wise – enjoy your trail/lunch/walk but be sure to leave time for a look around the great gift shop. Inside are some superb bath and beauty products, delicious jams, honeys, preserves and a range of craft beers, mostly made by local businesses based in and around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Hinton Ampner, near Alresford, Hampshire, SO24 0LA
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