It’s very rare that I get to enjoy time without my son in tow, and just as rare for me to be out and about without my DSLR camera. But last weekend I was staying with my best friend in Derbyshire and I’d made a conscious decision not to pack my big camera. I did come to slightly regret that decision when we spent some time exploring Melbourne Hall Gardens.
Melbourne Hall is found in the town of Melbourne in Derbyshire. My friend lives fairly close by and it’s somewhere we’ve walked past countless times over the years. The Hall itself is only open for a few afternoons in August, while the gardens are open in the afternoon on specific days of the week from April through to the end of September.
I’ve got a garden discount card from Gardeners World magazine that someone had suggested would be a good way for our family to enjoy cheap days out this year. When I was flicking through the booklet which lists all the properties working with the scheme I realised that my friend and I could spend an afternoon exploring Melbourne Hall Gardens with the BOGOF offer, so we’d only pay £6 in total. Bargain.
Neither of us knew what to expect, or even how big the gardens would be. Melbourne Pool is behind the property, which we often walk around when completing one of our walks and we’ve seen the sculptured yew tree hedges but we were looking forward to seeing what lay beyond.
The garden dates back to the 18th century and we soon discovered that it has lots of different sections to enjoy.
Once home to Lord Melbourne (if you’ve watched the ITV series Victoria, you will know who he was), you can imagine Victorian ladies walking along the terrace looking out at the garden.
There’s a formal lawn, showing a walk down to a pond with the Birdcage ahead. We thought that we were looking at the garden in its entirety but we were soon to discover how wrong we were.
My friend and I couldn’t agree on this pathway leading between the house and the pond. To my mind, it should all have been centred to the middle of the house when the garden was designed. My friend didn’t agree, what do you think?
As we wandered down the pathway we realised that the garden extended on either side of the lawn, exploring Melbourne Hall Gardens would see us seeking shade as we headed off to see what lay beyond the lawn.
I was lamenting not bringing my big camera, especially when we reached the Yew Tunnel, which really did look stunning.
At one point you can see across out from the property to Melbourne Pool and fields beyond. We’ve completed many a walk through the fields near to Melbourne and walked around the pool with my son on previous visits. It was lovely to get such a clear view of it all.
There’s a little stream running through the garden and smaller ponds with fountains on both sides.
It was such a tranquil place to wander around and we felt as if we had the garden to ourselves even though there were other visitors there at the time.
Our only criticism is that the benches at the back of both smaller ponds were filthy so you just couldn’t sit on them, to relax in the shade, and enjoy the view. A pity with a view like this to admire.
The Birdcage was built in the early 1700s and is a stunning centrepiece for the garden. Just beautiful isn’t it.
We were so pleased we finally got to spend time exploring Melbourne Hall Gardens and we’ll certainly be back. There’s also a little farm area for children to enjoy which hopefully we’ll get to show my son in the summer holidays. Have you been?