The Old Vicarage

The Old Vicarage

by The National Gardens Scheme

This spectacular garden set amongst beautiful scenery, opens its gates for a one off treat for the NGS in October.

Set amongst the surrounding landscape of Washington village is The Old Vicarage. Built in 1832, the stunning regency house is surrounded by varied and fascinating gardens that open for The National Garden Scheme this October. The gardens cover an area of around 3½ acres, filled with interesting features that the current owners, who have lived there since 1992, began creating and restoring.

One of the first things visitors will see is a stunning contemporary water sculpture in the front garden, looking onto the formally laid out lawns with topiary and mixed borders. In the front garden sits a pinnacle point of any visitor’s experience, the conservatory, where teas and cake are served during open days. A cosy spot to shelter should it rain, the conservatory provides a delightful view of the garden. The water sculpture, in addition to all of the iron work in the garden, blends into the landscape perfectly, and was completed by a local blacksmith.

Visitors can’t miss the stunning views from the rear garden looking towards the North Downs, enhanced by mature and various specimen trees. Pockets of interest around the garden include a Japanese Zen garden, with a landscape of moss, stone, bamboo, shrubs, grass, and a pond, with the nearby sound of a waterfall representing the spirit of the garden.

A further large water garden and creatively planted herbaceous borders provide continued interest for visitors through the seasons. A working kitchen garden has glasshouses, fruit cages, an orchard and vegetables, all of which are beautifully maintained.

Parts of the garden have been planted with younger visitors in mind, including a woodland area with a stream, treehouse and nature viewing platform that sits among Populus trees. There are lots of fun features to discover, including a ‘valley of the gnomes’ and topiary of characters, some of which look onto the tennis court. In the spring there is an abundance of bulbs throughout, including snowdrops, daffodils, tulips, fritillaria, camassia and bluebells. 2,000 tulips were also planted this year for the spring, and for visitors later in the year there is new architectural stumpery. If the autumn weather holds there are well placed seating areas throughout the garden for visitors to enjoy and contemplate the beautiful scenery.

Since 2010, when The Old Vicarage started opening for the National Garden Scheme, the owners have raised an impressive amount of over £22,000 up to the start of 2017. The garden opens for The National Garden Scheme on 15 October (10.30am – 3pm).

Admission is £5.00 with children free. Homemade teas are available. For more information visit

Photos: Judi Lion Photography