Warwickshire

Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire

Upton House sits on the edge of an Ice Age valley with commanding views over the Warwickshire and Oxfordshire borders. A honey-coloured country house with dramatic terraced gardens, Upton also features a world-renowned art collection. 

Remodelled in the 1930s by Walter Samuel Bearsted 2nd Viscount, Upton House became a place for rest, retreat, and escape from the pressures of work and the anxieties about tensions of possible war. Today, it welcomes thousands of visitors each year to relax and step away from busy lives and concerns. Whether catching up with family and friends over homemade tea and cake, wandering along the Woodland Walk, or sitting in the Quiet Orchard reconnecting with nature, Upton continues to delight and offer a place of new discovery and beauty for all to enjoy.

Art and nature flows throughout the very design of Upton, as well as within the house’s collections and gardens. The chief architect Percy Morley Horder (1870 – 1944) redesigned the original 17th Century house, building and extending to create a space that worked for the family and to showcase the art and French and English 18th Century porcelain collections. Lord Bearsted chose paintings that spoke to him about humanity and people’s relationships with the world around them. There is something fascinating, beautiful, and absorbing that speaks individually through each piece. Highlights include works by artists such as Bosch, Bruegel and El Greco. 

The gardens are largely the work of Kitty Lloyd-Jones, a pioneering female garden designer in the 1930s. She developed a close friendship with Lady Bearsted, and they worked together redesigning the gardens which continue to inspire Upton’s grounds team today. With distinctive topography, steep terraces parallel to the house, and combe-like water gardens lying to the side, Kitty had a reputation as a meticulous planner of herbaceous borders; these tumble down from the edge of the South Lawn in successive terraces to the Mirror Pool below. In the middle of July these borders truly come to life, with their bold reflective planting groups, shocking pinks and bright yellow flowers forever repeating themselves along the length of the borders, adding a touch of seasonal colour and structure. 

Lord Bearsted was one of the major philanthropists of his age, and he was keen to have his collection shared as a gift to the nation. In whatever way you decide to explore Upton, there is always a warm friendly welcome from the staff and volunteers. If you’d like to see a particular collection within the house, get in touch with the team at Upton for more information. You can also keep up-to-date with the latest events and information through their website as collections evolve and the gardens undergo their seasonal transformations. 

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Upton House and Gardens, Edge Hill, Banbury OX15 6HT | 01295 670 266 | www.nationaltrust.org.uk/upton-house-and-gardens

Image Credits: Chris Lacey; Jessica Bentley; James Dobson

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