The Garden Landscape Guide

Houghton Lodge Gardens

An eighteenth century Cottage Ornee in parkland beside the River Test. There is a flint grotto and a modern Hydroponicum in which plants are grown without soil.

Head Gardener's Comment

A haven of peace above the tranquil beauty of the River Test. The gardens at Houghton Lodge are listed Grade II*, and surround an enchanting and unique example of an 18th Century Cottage Orné. Chalk Cob walls enclose a traditional Kitchen Garden with espaliers, herbs and heated greenhouses, a hydroponicum and an orchid collection. The Gardens are both formal and informal with fine trees, a woodland walk, stunning herbaceous border and topiary peacock garden. There is a topiary puffing dragon! Houghton Lodge is a popular TV/Film location including the film “Wilde” and BBC “David Copperfield”. A further 14 acres adjoining the garden provide an experience of the natural world with meadow walks through the peaceful and unspoiled surroundings of the River Test where you will meet Tom, Dick and Harry, our new Alpacas.


Houghton Lodge has an importance quite disproportionate to its size, a building of architectural and historic importance. Built sometime before 1799 and probably intended as a fishing lodge, it is one of the earliest examples of a Cottage Orné or Rural Retreat. Whoever designed it appreciated regional buildings, especially the rounded thatched forms and plastered walls of Hampshire valley villages. Built on a hill overlooking the River Test, a more magical position would be hard to find. Both the House and the Garden are in the rare category of Grade II* listed status, one of only 12 properties in the whole of Hampshire.

Plants of note

Drifts of daffodills and snowdrops in the spring. Many cyclamen under the trees in the spring and autumn. The rare Scilla Bythinica interwovwen amongst the daffodills. freshly planted tulips. Hydroponic displays including strawberries. Peonies, tender agapanthus, sternbergia Lutea, tender plants like plumbago in the conservatory, and an orchid collection. Oleander and hybiscus. Espalier apples and pears and old fashioned apple varieties. Gingko. Muscat of Alexandia Grape vine.

Houghton Lodge, Stockbridge, Hampshire, England, SO20 6LQ

Gardens open 1st March-31st October 10am-5pm daily.

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  • over 8 years by Adam Hodge 3 / 5

    Wonderful views of the Test river and surrounding countryside, viewed from lovely lawns sweeping to the edge of the river. Something very peaceful, calming and romantic in this area of the garden.
    The walled garden has a central walk through a series of arches festooned with Rose American Pillar and there are some quite interesting plantings along the walls.
    Why they promote the hydroculture stuff beats me..never seen such a tired collection of plants in ages !

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Daffodils, Houghton Lodge Garden Photograph © Houghton Lodge
Walled Garden, Houghton Lodge Photograph © Houghton Lodge
Knot Garden, Houghton Lodge Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
River Test, Houghton Lodge Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Roses in the Walled Garden, Houghton Lodge Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Topiary Dragon, Houghton Lodge Garden Photograph © Oxford Botanica/Adam Hodge
Houg Photograph © Houghton Lodge