If you’re looking to escape the city in South East England, then Hampshire is the ideal place to do it – with quaint villages, two beautiful national parks and rolling countryside hills, there’s no better place to find green. Mottisfont, an enchanting house and gallery in beautiful riverside gardens, perfectly characterises Hampshire’s charm and needs to be added to your stack!
Home to ancient trees, carpets of stunning flowers and walled gardens, Mottisfont is almost like a fairy-tale. The house at Mottisfont was originally founded 800 years ago, and has undergone numerous transformations. It was purchased by the Russell family in 1934, who modernised and redocorated the house in the remarkable neo-classical style that can still be seen today.
The Russell’s brought a number of famous artists to their home, which you’ll be able to admire in the house. See the extraordinary drawing-room painted by Rex Whistler, his final piece before passing, a deceptive mural that reflect the houses medieval origins – look closely to see what details you can find cunningly painted by Whistler! You’ll also find a fantastic collection of 20th-century art and a range of major exhibitions in the top-floor gallery. And, for the first time ever, the works of Joan Eardley will be on display, with beautiful pieces depicting remote land and seascapes of rural Scotland.
Head outside and you’ll find yourself in a green oasis! The formal gardens are carpeted with bulbs that explode with colour during the spring and autumn months, and the old-fashioned smell of rose flowers begin to fill the air in June. The winding paths meander through towering trees, where you can lose yourself for hours.
At the estate, there are also 1600 acres of wild oasis to explore, where you can enjoy tranquil walks among some of England’s most glorious countryside. The Mottisfont Estate walk will take you on a 6 mile walk through majestic ancient woodlands and alongside the historical river Test, where you’ll catch sight of a variety of birdlife among the trees. Discover the wildlife oasis of Stockbridge Down, where over 40 species of butterfly thrive in a calming, 1 mile walk that will reward you with panoramic views from the lake. Or, explore Stockbridge Marsh, a site of special scientific interest with rich wetland habitats.
Cap off your visit by stopping at the Old Kitchen cafe, serving up a delicious range of hot and cold meals, snacks and beverages. You can find a range of locally produced food and crafts at their shop, where your purchase will go back into the Trust’s care of the site.