Wimpole Hall and the Walled Kitchen Garden

In my wild dreams I own a wonderful walled kitchen garden and have so much space I can grow Pumpkins, Squashes and Gourds and should they take off like Triffids it will not inconvenience us.

Pumpkins, squash and gourds, in the John   Greenhouse

Pumpkins, squash and gourds, in Sir John Soane’s Greenhouse Wimpole Hall

My Walled Kitchen Garden would include all sorts of fruits, vegetables and beautiful flowers, there would be a wonderful greenhouse and places to sit, wildlife would be abundant and pollinators visit freely. Like minded folk would come to visit and share happy meals, cooked with the produce I grew for my family. There would be an orchard of Apple trees to hide in. We are still looking for that property and the small matter of a lottery win, in the meantime I visit walled gardens and dream.

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Wimpole Hall Walled Garden

Last weekend we visited the National Trust owned Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire and by happy co-incidence it was their annual 1940’s weekend.

Womens Land Army at Wimpole Hall

Womens Land Army at Wimpole Hall

Lots of displays from The Home Guard and Allies. 1940’s music, vintage vehicles and plenty of folk dressed up. Meanwhile in the Kitchen garden, The Womens Land Army were just quietly getting on with it.

Flower borders in the Walled Garden

Flower borders inside the Walled Garden

The flower borders were brimming with colour and although some are cut for the house were plentiful. The simple traditional design, a central axis, leaving four enormous beds, each one the size of a tennis court for fruits, vegetables and companion planting, around the walled borders espaliered fruit trees. On one wall the marvellous Greenhouse where currently a part of it houses the Pumpkin display.

On the outside of the Walled Garden, long full borders lead onto the Apple Orchard.

Outside walls of the Kitchen Garden

Outside of the Walled Garden

The Wimpole estate is fortunate to include a farm – Home farm, where sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and horses are all cared for and as a consequence a rich supply of manure is available to the Kitchen Garden. We had visited the farm several times before when the children were small so headed off to the house itself and a walk past the formal parterre garden.

Wimpole Hall and the formal Parterre Garden

Wimpole Hall and the formal Parterre Garden

Beyond the formal garden is 3,000 acres of parkland and farmland, its a wonderful place to walk and dream.

Wimpole was given to the National Trust following the death of Elsie Bambridge the daughter of Rudyard Kipling in 1976. Kipling’s own home Batemans in Sussex was also given to the National Trust, Elsie and her husband George leased Wimpole from 1932 and finally bought the estate in 1936 after Kipling died and with her inheritance restored the property and grounds.

Produce from the walled garden is used in the Restaurant, it was packed during our visit, so we headed to the Stable yard cafe, pleased to say they served a very good gluten free chocolate cake and a decent coffee.

29 thoughts on “Wimpole Hall and the Walled Kitchen Garden

  1. It looks a wonderful place to visit. And lucky to arrive on their 40’s weekend! We had the same luck when we visited Powis. It does add to the atmosphere, don’t you think? I think I particularly like the cut flower borders – absolutely stunning! That’s one for the visit list! Oh, and fingers crossed for your lottery win!

    • LOL, I haven’t been to Powis and would really love to go, what time of year did you go, is there a time you would recommend. I read Cathys Rambling in the Garden blog recently on Powis and it looks fantastic.

  2. Thank you for showing the lovely photos of Wimpole Hall. It is beautiful isn’ it? I haven’ t been for years but I don’ t remember it looking as good as this.
    That is my dream too, a walled garden with a Victorian greenhouse and maybe an orangery. And of course, an arboretum.

    • An orangery and arboretum that sounds very desirable! It was a surprise to find the borders looking so good and quite different to previous visits, but they were mainly spent in the farm area when the children were younger.

    • We really enjoyed our trip, the house itself is wonderful the grounds and gardens beautifully maintained. We had a decent tea there too, made all the better by the very jolly 1940’s band playing.

  3. Wimpole Hall certainly offers lots of beauty and inspiration. What is growing inside the left triangle of the Parterre Garden? I would never be able to maintain such a formal planting but I admire it.

    • The Parterre Garden was immaculate, inside the Box triangle was green and white variegated Euonymous possibly ‘Emerald Gaiety’, planted en masse and also trimmed to a solid triangle shape. It was an unusual choice but effective. I couldn’t aspire to this style either but hats off to the gardeners who maintain it so beautifully.

    • Nostalgic 1940’s weekends are really popular over here, some are charity fundraisers, others are opportunities to dress up and dance and meet up with other enthusiasts, I like the 1940’s memorabilia even though its before my time!

  4. Those borders look wonderful, and even the formal parterre has stunning colour – was the blue in the round bed lavender? Walled gardens must be every gardener’s dream… I’d also want a gardener full-time to help me! 😉 Thanks for sharing – the garden is really inspiring!

    • Hi Cathy, the blue was a Salvia, but I am unsure as to which type. Yes, it would be too much to look after on your own, they have a really large team of volunteers working alongside the full time gardeners there. In the meantime I would like access to the manure, the borders were vibrant and full of colour.

  5. Oh goodie, this looks just like my sort of garden…and also like the one I’m never going to have as I’m lacking in employees! Everything so neat and tidy, hmmm…lovely…and thanks for sharing this trip 🙂

  6. I’m not sure why I’ve never visited this garden. I share your dream of a walled vegetable garden. I would also love the space to grow ornamental pumpkins. Thank you so much for showing this lovely place I will add it to my list of places to visit.

      • So true. I miss that sense of continuity with the past – and the lovely colourful gardens. NZ natives tend not to be particuarly colourful, and after a while green gets to be a bit boring.

      • I was intrigued by your comment as I had thought New Zealand planting was just like here and have just learnt that 80% of NZ plants are only found there, some look spectacular. But I understand its not like home.

      • We do have incredible native flora — very little fauna! And of course, being a British ex-colony, we also have a lot of plants that were introduced – often with disastrous results (gorse being a prime example). What I miss is the human element. British gardens always seem to have such a personal, human stamp on them. Please keep posting the lovely photos; I’m getting so much vicarious enjoyment 🙂

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