|Cherkley Court & Gardens|
The thumbnails below are linked to larger pictures
Cherkley Court is an exciting new 16 acrelandscaped garden attraction, recently opened to the public following an extensive five year renovation of the entire estate by the Beaverbrook foundation.
The gardens surround Cherkley Court mansion which was purchased by William Maxwell Aitken, the 1st Lord Beaverbrook in 1910, the year after he entered Parliament. The house was the scene for many top level meetings between leading notables of the 1930s and 40s including Churchill, Asquith, Rudyard Kipling and Harold Macmillan. Following a fire in 1893 the original house was substantially rebuilt and restored in the French chateau style, perhaps as one of the last monuments to the opulence of late Victorian architecture.
I was very impressed with the gardens which are set in 400 acres of park and woodlands. They have been designed by Simon Johnson who specialises in country house projects. The garden impresses with its grand formality of terraces descending southwards from the house with Pavilions and grand views over yew woods to the Mole Valley. But this is softened by the intimacy of secluded places, splashing water, soft planting and even wild flower meadows. Being a new garden it is sure to impress even more as the planting matures.
This carefully planned mix of both formality and intimacy cannot fail to please most visitors.
The principal areas of the garden can be identified as: the Italian Gardens, Main Terrace and Lower Walk (including the Pavilions, Canal and grotto), Flower Gardens, East and West Woodland Gardens, Potager and Vegetable Garden, there is also The Orangery for refreshments and light lunches.
Cherkley Court has now been sold for development and is no longer open to the public as a garden. It is also no longer owned by the Beaverbrook foundation.