Cocktails on the Terrace and Rabbits on the Lawn at Tylney Hall Hotel, Hampshire

When a friend says to you “I have a plus one invitation for a weekend at a Spa Hotel, to review their gardens, would you like to come”? I don’t suppose many of you have to think twice before saying “Yes please”? I didn’t hesitate either.

Where did we go? Tylney Hall Hotel, Nr Hook in Hampshire.

The majority of photos I took this morning before Breakfast, the birds were singing their hearts out and there were rabbits everywhere.

We have been so lucky with the weather – it has been glorious, perfect for wandering around woodlands full of rhododendrons and azaleas and listening to the tranquil streams running through the Water Garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll in 1906.

Tylney Hall is a Grade II listed house, rebuilt in 1898. From 1948 it was school until 1984 and Elite Hotels opened Tylney Hall as a hotel in 1986. The Hotel’s impressive gardens are looked after by a team of 6 gardeners, with Paul Tattersdill as Head Gardener, and are open for the National Garden Scheme 1 April, 27 May and again on 14 October.

We arrived on Saturday to join our party for a splendid lunch, with wine of course:-

Tartare of Salmon and Soured Cream served with Carpaccio of Cucumber

Pineapple and Tylney Mint Sorbet

Rack of New Season Spring Lamb served with Fresh Seasonal Vegetables and Tarragon Broth

Strawberry and Basil Shortbread served with Sweetened Mascarpone

This was followed by a guided tour by Paul who has been looking after the garden for 25 years. We started with the Italian Garden which is approached from the Terrace by impressive stone stairs and balustrades heavily laden with heady Wisteria.

As we walked through the garden we saw a number of hotel rooms which have been renovated from the estate buildings. I love the idea of staying within the grounds of a hotel, especially on Summer evenings (and early mornings) when you can amble around the gardens at your leisure.

There are rooms in the old terraced cottages, with a very pretty pergola running up the middle of the garden in front of them. The roses were just coming out, and I was informed that they are New Dawn, Albertine and two other pinker roses (although I have been very remiss and can’t remember what they are called).

Next to these cottages is the original kitchen garden, these days it has fruit bushes. The greenhouses are still in use and at the moment the gardeners are busy planting up hanging baskets for the Hotel. This part of the garden also has borders of wonderful Irises.

The other rooms, outside the main hotel building, are in the old Orangery. These are two storey suites with a lounge downstairs and views over the water garden. Definitely somewhere I would like to choose for that very special romantic break. (If only!!)

As we walked back to the Hotel, late Saturday afternoon, we passed the outdoor pool busy with residents sunning themselves and cooling off in the water. I went back again this morning about 8:00 a.m. to take some photos minus people. It has such pretty surroundings, approached by steps which, similar to the Italian Gardens, have Wisteria around them.

Our Saturday evening started with cocktails on the Terrace as we watched the rabbits on the lawn. Then, still on the Terrace, we drank Pouilly Fume, and plate after plate of delicious buffet food arrived including duck and pork rillette, spicy chicken kebabs and a selection of continental meats to mention but a few. It was a very civilised end to a most relaxing day.

The great thing about the garden at Tylney Hall is that you don’t have to wait for another NGS open day, or stay there to visit the garden. How does afternoon tea on the Terrace sound to you? The teas at Tylney Hall look something very special – sandwiches, scones with cream and jam and cakes all on a tiered plate and champagne if you feel so inclined. You can then walk it off around the grounds at your leisure.

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